Celebrating Māori New Year with song

Tenaya Brown is looking forward to celebrating Matariki with song. PHOTO: SIMON HENDERSON
Tenaya Brown is looking forward to celebrating Matariki with song. PHOTO: SIMON HENDERSON
A performance of waiata Māori has become a favourite annual milestone for a Dunedin singer.

Tenaya Brown (Te Aitanga a Hauiti) is performing for the third time at Tūhura Otago Museum on Puaka Matariki.

This has become a regular feature of Māori New Year celebrations in the city, and is a chance for whānau to enjoy family-friendly songs.

Miss Brown said she particularly enjoyed singing the Māori anthems, "which are waiata that represent different areas of Aotearoa New Zealand".

She had worked with the University of Otago Te Rōpū Māori Student Association to create "mashups and medleys" of the anthems.

"So a lot of my waiata will be based on the stuff that I’ve done with them."

She is completing a master’s degree in teaching and learning at Te Kura Ākau Taitoka College of Education and hopes to share her passion for Māori performing arts with her future pupils.

"I really want to get our kids’ voices out there, give them the skills they need from what I’ve learnt, and support them along the way."

While studying music at the University of Otago Ōtākou Whakaihu Waka, Miss Brown developed an interest in taonga pūoro (Māori musical instruments).

Having played woodwind instruments such as the flute in high school, she was particularly intrigued by the pūtōrino (bugle flute).

"This was one that I was really drawn to because it has the story of a mother and a daughter."

The flute has two ends that represent male and female voices.

Played as a cross-blown flute, Raukatauri (goddess of music) can be heard and when played as a trumpet, a male voice.

A third voice, played through the central opening is thought to be that of Raukatauri’s daughter who is said to represent the inarticulate sounds of the forest.

"So when you hear the sound of the pūtōrino, you can really tell the difference and hear the resonating sounds and the difference between the three."

Waiata with Tenaya Brown

Tūhura Otago Museum
Friday 28 June
Atrium Level 2 
1pm to 2pm