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Pō Atarau (vocal version)

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TEACHING SUGGESTIONS

This waiata has a complex history, with many sources claiming it for their own. In Australia in 1913, a Clement Scott piano tune called “Swiss Cradle Song” was published. The tune was brought to New Zealand, and the Māori lyrics for “Pō Atarau” were added to it. The tune was then changed from 4/4 time to 3 / 4 time to become the tune as we know it now. It has been suggested that this waiata was in the well-known Te Aute College songbook by 1916. In 1920, the Prince of Wales visited New Zealand. To farewell him, Maewa Kaihau (of Waiuku, near Manukau) took “Pō Atarau”, changed some words, added two verses, and called it the “Haere Ra Waltz Song” or “Māori Farewell Song”. This soon became a favourite song of farewell, often sung to the troops departing to war.

In 1945, English wartime singer Gracie Fields learnt “Pō Atarau” while on a visit to New Zealand. Her version of it, known as “Now Is the Hour”, became a worldwide hit.

“Pō Atarau” was popular with Māori showbands travelling overseas. Older students could research the history of the showbands and become familiar with the music of The Quin Tikis, High Five Mambos, Māori Hi Fives, Māori Volcanics, and so on. Frankie Stevens and John Rowles were among the many singers who started their careers in such bands. An excellent website about the Māori showbands can be found at: maorishowbands.co.nz
“Pō Atarau” is a nostalgic waiata that can connect generations. This version is sung by a full choir of men, women, and children. They sing it here in a way that adds layers of harmony. Guitars, including a lap steel guitar, and percussive instruments, including high hats and snares, accompany the waiata.

“Pō Atarau” is an excellent waiata to sing along to because it is easy to remember and sing. It is good to sing at the end of term, at a prize-giving, or at the end of the school year.

Keep the tempo firm and don’t slow down.

[Translation]
On a moonlit night
I see in a dream
You going to a distant land.

Farewell
But return again
To your loved one weeping here.

For more teaching suggestions go to - Into Music artsonline.tki.org.nz/Teaching-and-Learning/Secondary-teaching-resources/Music-Sound-Arts/Units-and-sequences/Into-Music-1-Classroom-Music-in-Years-1-3

For help with teaching ukulele go to
issuu.com/qrispe/docs/kiwi_ukulele_teacher_resource

For further resources and support go to
- menza.co.nz/
- onza.nz/
- nzukulele.org.nz/

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