Back

He waiata mā te hoia kāinga ngākau koingō

I Runga o ngā Puke (From the Top of the Hills) is a waiata Māori written by Paraire Tomoana. He composed it at the request of a cousin, Ngahiwi Petiha, who wrote to Paraire while recuperating from a gunshot wound in an English hospital. 

Paraire’s son, Taanga Tomoana, explains the story behind the lyrics and sings the waiata himself, in this radio interview in 1970.

Year:1915 (Recorded 1970)

Location:N.Z. General Hospital, Walton-on-Thames, England

Close

He waiata mā te hoia kāinga ngākau koingō

I Runga o ngā Puke (From the Top of the Hills) is a waiata Māori written by Paraire Tomoana. He composed it at the request of a cousin, Ngahiwi Petiha, who wrote to Paraire while recuperating from a gunshot wound in an English hospital. 

Paraire’s son, Taanga Tomoana, explains the story behind the lyrics and sings the waiata himself, in this radio interview in 1970.


Year: 1915 (Recorded 1970)

Length: 04:51

Source: Radio New Zealand Collection Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision

Catalogue Reference: 48948 [Interview about Paraire Hēnare Tomoana]


People: Taanga Tomoana, Paraire Hēnare Tomoana, Ngahiwi Petiha, Hōne Petiha

Location: N.Z. General Hospital, Walton-on-Thames, England


Image Title: Poverty Bay Herald, 5 Feb 1918, p.5

Image Source: http://paperspast.natlib.govt.nz/cgi-bin/paperspast?a=d&d=PBH19180205.2.32&e=-------10--1----0--


Paraire Hēnare Tomoana (Ngāi Te Whatu-i-apiti, Ngāti Kahungunu) composed many of the best-loved waiata Māori from World War I, including E Pari Rā and Te Ope Tūātahi.

According to his son Taanga Tomoana, I Runga o ngā Puke was written at the request of Ngahiwi Petiha, who belonged to the whānau of Paraire’s wife Kuini Raerena (Ngāti Porou), while he lay wounded in a hospital in England.

He wrote that he could see a hill from his hospital bed, and it reminded him of the hills near his home at Rangitukia on New Zealand’s East Coast. He said that in the wind coming from the hill he could hear the voices of his loved ones at home in far-off Aotearoa. 

Ngahiwi Petiha’s war record shows he joined the 2nd Māori Contingent with the rank of sergeant  in 1915. He received a gunshot wound to the thigh in France in July 1916 and was treated at several locations in England, including the New Zealand hospitals at Hornchurch and Codford. He recovered and returned to France, where he rejoined the Pioneer Battalion.  However, he was shot again in June 1917, this time injuring his right leg and losing an eye. This time his injuries were sufficiently severe that after treatment at another New Zealand hospital, in Walton-on-Thames, he was sent back to New Zealand on board the hospital ship Maheno in December 1917.

The following Māori lyrics to the song Petiha requested from Paraire Tomoana are nearly identical to those sung by Taanga Tomoana. They were printed in an article by interpreter and broadcaster Reverend Kīngi Ihaka in the Māori magazine Te Ao Hou in 1958. Rev. Ihaka also included a general English translation, which he attributed to Sir Apirana Ngata. (1)

I runga o ngā puke

Ka pā mai tō reo;

Hau maiangi

Hei kawe mai.

He reo aroha

E pātai ana mai.

"He aha tāu e

Pīrangi nei?"

 

Kia awhi kau atu

Ki tō tinana i ngaro

E ngaro nei rā i ēnei rā;

Ko tōu aroha, ko tōku aroha,

Ka mutu pea! Auē te tau!

 

Waiho mai e tama

ō kupu oati,

I runga o ngā puke

I tangi ai tāua.

E haere ana koe

Ki runga o te pakanga:

Ko tō reo aroha,

Karanga mai

From the hills resounding

Your voice is calling

I hear its echo,

My heart is sighing.

Borne on the breezes.

List to it asking,

"Why are you calling -

Calling for me?"

 

Just once again love

In sweet embrace love,

For you I’m longing

For you alone;

Your lips to mine, love,

Our hearts united,

Until the end love – until the end

 

'Twas on the mountain

Our love was plighted:

You vowed to hold me

In memory ever.

Now war has called you

Across the ocean.

My heart is breaking

Crying in vain

A shortened version of the waiata, with slightly different lyrics, was recorded by the Rotorua Māori Choir in 1930 for the Columbia Record Company.

(1) Rev. Kingi Ihaka, "Maori Action Songs", Te Ao Hou, 25 December 1958