Tēnei te Kura



Tēnei te Kura is an old Ngāti Apa ki te Rā Tō mōteatea that has been revitalised and is now widely used among our iwi. The lyrics were found in the manuscripts of S. Percy Smith, held by the Alexander Turnbull Library in Wellington. As there was no recording ever made, a new rangi, or tune, was created for it. Iwi member, the late Mahara Gilsenan of Pūaha Te Rangi hapū, rediscovered the lyrics, and kindly developed the rangi for the waiata.

It was originally composed by Mohi Te Ua when he was in Waikanae. While it is always hard to know exactly what a composer was thinking at the time, our cultural gurus believe that Mohi is lamenting for his whenua. The waiata names a number of Ngāti Apa ki te Rā Tō wāhi tapu. Think of it as Mohi flying over his homelands in his mind.

This waiata is appropriate for any occasion. As it is a mōteatea, or traditional chant or lament, there are no set actions and it is up to the kaihaka or performer to determine the appropriate actions. In the absence of a specific instruction or action, a simple wiriwiri would suffice.



Tēnei te Kura 

Te Kura nui  

Te Kura roa 

Te Kura whanui  

Nō te atea 

Nō te moana i kauria 

A Te Popoto ki Karamea 

Ka noho hei pito whenua 

Mai motu Tarakaipa 

Ki te Arahura 

Ki Piopiotahi 

Ka heke iho ko au  

Aue e i e … 


This is the token

The great token 

The long token

The great spread out token

From the universe

From the distant seas travelled

Of Te Popoto at Karamea

Who dwelt there as an umbilical cord

From Tarakaipa Island

To the Arahura

To Piopiotahi

And descending to me

Alas ...