From the 1920s, Sir Āpirana Ngata began collecting and annotating these traditional songs.
Ngata, A. T. Ngā Mōteatea: He Maramara Rere nō ngā Waka Maha. The Songs: Scattered Pieces from Many Canoe Areas. Wellington: Polynesian Society, 1928, 1961, 1980, 1988.
As university students across New Zealand commence their first semester studies this week, we celebrate Āpirana Turupa Ngata (1874-1950, Ngāti Porou) whose many achievements include being the first Māori to complete a degree at a New Zealand university. Ngata graduated with a BA in political science in 1893 from Canterbury University, completing an LLB in 1896. Apirana Ngata was the leading Māori figure of his day, a land reformer, politician and scholar who made a vital contribution to the revival of the Māori people and culture in the early years of the twentieth century. From the 1920s, Sir Āpirana Ngata began collecting and annotating traditional Māori songs and chants from iwi of Aotearoa —a massive undertaking that, with the help of translators Pei Te Hurinui Jones and later Hirini Moko Mead, became the treasured four-volume Ngā Mōteatea; an important and abundant source of knowledge about tribal history and culture.
Originally published in 1928, this classic text is the largest and most comprehensive collection of Māori waiata and a unique contribution to New Zealand poetry. It is a rich resource for continuing research and scholarship in many fields, offers prime texts in the teaching of Māori language, literature and tribal history and serves as inspiration for contemporary composition and performance. In 2004 a completely redesigned and reset edition was published by Auckland University Press and the Polynesian Society. It preserves the integrity of Ngata’s work and includes two audio CDs of waiata drawn from the Archive of Māori and Pacific Music at the University of Auckland.
This publication is part of the series Te Takarangi: Celebrating Māori publications - a sample list of 150 non-fiction books produced by a partnership between Royal Society Te Apārangi and Ngā Pae o te Māramatanga.