Strengthen your reo with waiata Māori

Everyone loves and appreciates different forms of music;  whether it’s through singing, playing your favourite instruments and singing along, or by simply listening and feeling the heart of the music. The amazing thing about music is that you can hear it in any language and yet still feel the passion and story behind it.

Waiata, like other forms of music is a way to communicate. It serves a purpose, such as storytelling, to support, to teach, to warn, to urge others, or to mourn. It is beautiful and passionate, and its purpose only make these feelings stronger.

There are three main types of traditional waiata. These are waiata tangi (laments), waiata aroha (love songs) and oriori (lullabies). However, these are only some of the many forms of waiata; and it now spans across various music genres and themes from Alien Weaponry’s album ‘Tū ‘ ( a heavy metal band that sings completely in Te Reo,) to Maisey Rika‘s song ‘Tangaroa Whakamautai,’ from her album Whitiora, which is haunting and beautiful.

What is your favourite waiata? What does waiata mean to you?

Waiata is another way to help learn new words or a language. It helps build your memory by repeating lyrics and having a meaningful or catchy tune; and is a great tool for teaching tamariki.

Te Tāhuhu o Te Mātauranga (Ministry of Education) has some awesome resources built on supporting te reo Māori by giving resources designed for learning and teaching in waiata. Hei waiata contains song sheets with the key, lyrics and tune, teaching suggestions and finally a free MP3 download of the waiata; and there is plenty to choose from!

Another way of getting to learn easy waiata is to listen to it; could be at home, in the shower, or in the car ride on the way to school. Anika Moa has two lovely albums with songs for children that are catchy, easy to sing to and are just plain fun!

You could also have a look at Māori Television’s “Waiata,” a showcase of original songs from Aotearoa’s contemporary artists.

Did you know we also have loads of resources of waiata right here in Christchurch City Libraries? There is various forms of enjoying waiata; could be as a CD, a lyric book, or a compilation of various formats e.g book and CD.

Check out some of these!

If you would like some more waiata inspiration give these a listen:

Find out more

Throughout Te Wiki o te Reo Māori we’ll be blogging about ways you can help strengthen the reo.

Kōrerorero mai – Join the conversation

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