Waiata o te wiki - "Pokarekare Ana"


I wouldn't call it a national anthem … I think it's deeper than that. – Howard Morrison (nzonscreen.com)

It's a mesmerizing type of melody ... It's easily remembered, most of the pertinent words are easily remembered and I think even for the hardened kiwi who's singing it, it still conjures up some interior view that that person holds for this country that we're in.– Late broadcaster Henare Te Ua (nzonscreen.com)

Artist Name - rika.mp3

Usually, I would think this out (overthink) and say to myself, what is the waiata I going to put up in my blog on MLI, who wrote it and why, stick a few pictures that I had found, and press the publish button Shazam! Done!

What I thought was going to be a small blog piece about this waiata, turned out to be a real ākonga​ moment.

So, as I'm searching on the google I stopped and looked at this beautiful waiata that shone out saying pick me! pick me!

We, (us oldies anyway) have heard the angelic voice of opera singer Kiri Te Kanawa singing Pokarekare Ana on the beach in New Zealand at sunrise of New Year's Day 2000.

Millennium Concert with Kiri Te Kanawa | Television | NZ On Screen

We may have heard the background music of Pokarekare Ana in the Air New Zealand campaigns.

Air New Zealand Pokarekare Ana - YouTube

You may have been watching or at the league game to see the amazingly talented wahine Dame Hinewehi Mohi singing Pokarekare Ana...and it always helps, when there is a catchy song like 'Sailing Away' which became an anthem for New Zealand's 1986-7 America's Cup campaign.

Sailing Away - All of Us (High Quality) - YouTube

I personally have not heard it yet but even Hayley Westernra has created her own version of the song. All in all, we can say that we can identify with the song whether they know what the original waiata means or not, or where it originated from, it gives a New Zealander a sense of home. But who wrote Pokarekare Ana??

As I began what I thought was going to be a quick search to find out who composed this waiata. I type into google search "Who wrote Pokarekare Ana? 
Sir Apirana Ngata and Paraire Tomoana both composed this waiata?? 
Ummmm okay I said, but as I kept reading these composers had two different stories of who the waiata was written for. 
This was getting interesting, and I had to find out more.


The waiata first appeared 1917 around the time of World War 1. First performed in an army camp in Auckland. (folksong.org.nz)

Paraire Tomoana and Āpirana Ngata published the song in 1919, but neither of them claimed to have composed it. (wikipedia.org)

Sir Ngata and Tomoana were close friends that went back to their days in Te Aute College.

In April 2013, members and spectators in the New Zealand Parliament sang "Pōkarekare Ana" after the house passed the bill legalising same-sex marriage in New Zealand.[6]

In popular culture, "Pōkarekare Ana" was used as the theme song for the 2005 South Korean film Crying Fist.

An enduring classic of the New Zealand recording industry,'Pōkarekare ana' was first recorded in Tunohopu meeting house, Rotorua, in 1927. The following year the lead singers, Ana Hato and her cousin Deane Waretini, travelled to Sydney and re-recorded this and other songs with instrumental accompaniment. These recordings were reissued in 2012 by Kiwi Pacific Records. teara.govt.nz

It was originally ngā wai o Waiapu as written by the composers, and not ngā wai o Rotorua.

I found a documentary that explores the story behind one of Aotearoa's most beloved songs - Pokarekare Ana. 

It allows the two whānau of the composers to tell their stories, and the journey of this beautiful waiata.

Directed by Chas Toogood.

Pōkarekare Ana - A Māori Love Song | Television | NZ On Screen


Ngā mihi! 

Pōkarekare ana
ngā wai o Waiapu,
Whiti atu koe hine
marino ana e.

E hine e
hoki mai ra.
Ka mate ahau

I te aroha e. 

Tuhituhi taku reta
tuku atu taku rīngi,
Kia kite tō iwi
raru raru ana e.

Whatiwhati taku pene
ka pau aku pepa,
Ko taku aroha
mau tonu ana e.

E kore te aroha
e maroke i te rā,
Mākūkū tonu i
aku roimata e.

They are agitated
the waters of Waiapu,
If you cross over girl
they will be calm. 

Oh girl
return to me,
I could die
of love for you.

I've written my letter
I've sent my ring,
so that your people can see I'm troubled.

My pen is shattered,
I have no more paper
But my love
is still steadfast.

Never will my love
be dried by the sun,
It will be moistened
by my tears.

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He kākano āhau - Stan Walker
MLC Pānui - November 2022

Comments 1

Ajmcveigh on Thursday, 03 November 2022 09:35

What an awesome korero, I had no idea of the stories behind the waiata that was the first one I learnt when i was young....thanks Jasmine

What an awesome korero, I had no idea of the stories behind the waiata that was the first one I learnt when i was young....thanks Jasmine
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