Dr Hirini Melbourne of Ngāi Tūhoe and Ngāti Kahungunu was a significant leader in the revival of Māori culture through his waiata and use of taonga pūoro.
The preservation and continuation of traditions is a recurring theme in Hirini’s music. The waiata, E Kui e Koro, invokes the advice of elders to hold on to tikanga Mäori, and also incorporates a whakatauki or proverb, ‘Mate käinga tahi, Ora Käinga rua,’ literally ‘when one home fails, have another to go to’.
While not well-known as an activist, Hirini Melbourne was a member of the protest group Nga Tamatoa, and his waiata are potent vehicles for many of the ideas and ideals he was passionate about.
Arguably the most well-known of Melbourne’s protest songs is Ngä Iwi E, composed in 1984 for the Festival of Pacific Arts, planned to be held in New Caledonia. The festival organisers sent music to participating countries, asking them to compose words in their own languages. Political instability in New Caledonia meant the festival was cancelled, but the song written by Hirini for the New Zealand contingent has had a remarkably enduring life. Ngä Iwi E calls for unity among peoples of the Pacific, something close to Melbourne’s own heart.
MELBOURNE Waitangi te Tiriti, from Toiapiapi - Titi Tangiao TT 001
MELBOURNE Ngā Tikanga, from Te Aitanga a Tāne - Replay Radio RR118
MELBOURNE Pōteretere ana au - Sound Archives/ Ngā Taonga Korero
MELBOURNE Pōteretere ana au, from Hinepukohurangi - Replay Radio RR 222
MELBOURNE Miro, from Ruatoki Children sing… - Replay Radio RR 515
MELBOURNE Tārere ana au, from Te Kuraroa - Kia Ata Mai CD 001
MELBOURNE Te Kōkako Kō, from Te Kuraroa - Kia Ata Mai CD 001
MELBOURNE Te Kōkako Kō, from Waikohu - Trust MMT 2034
MELBOURNE Aramoana, from Hinepukohurangi - Replay Radio RR 222
SAANA MURRAY Te Kōkota o Pārengarenga, from Toiapiapi - Titi Tangiao TT 001
MELBOURNE He mahi, from Hinepukohurangi - Replay Radio RR 222
MELBOURNE Waitangi te Tiriti, from Toiapiapi – Titi Tangiao TT001
MELBOURNE Kōrero Māori, from Ruatoki Children sing… - Replay Radio RR 515
MELBOURNE Pōuri ana te Rangi – Turnbull Archives
MELBOURNE Ngā iwi e, from Honky Tonk Angel - ToppTwins 3406