“Waiata Mai Challenge" seeks to musically unite Aotearoa

updated By Mare Haimona-Riki

Waiata Mai is an initiative which aims to unite the country by collectively singing the nationally-recognised waiata, “Te Taonga o Tōku Ngākau”, composed by Kuia Te Manawakore (Matilda) Leach, with a subtle change in lyrics.

The kaupapa is being spearheaded by “Protect our Whakapapa,” - an online COVID-19 resource, specifically for whānau Maori. 

Aunty Mabel Wharekawa-Burt is the face of the kaupapa - of which she officially launched this morning.

Official launch and details of "Waiata Mai" by Aunty Mabel - Video/ Facebook

Organiser Che Wilson says this song was chosen because of its simplicity and relatability.

“It’s is simple and easily recognised by people of many ages and because it focuses on the importance of whakapapa.

“In addition, the nostalgia associated with this waiata is from a time when we were united in reviving our culture and for us to combat coronavirus, we have to unite again,” says Wilson. 

Change in Lyrics

This change has been endorsed by our Kuia and will replace the words, "Kaua e patu taku mokopuna’ with ‘Me tiaki koe taku mokopuna,” Wilson says. 

The Challenge

To support the launch, whānau from across the nation are challenged to submit a video of themselves singing the waiata with the changed words by Wednesday 29 April 2020.

These entries will be edited together and the release will be shared and celebrated at 8pm on Saturday 2 May 2020 from our Facebook page.