Ngā Mōteatea: An Introduction/ He Kupu Arataki

Jane McRae & Hēni Jacob

‘Ta Apirana himself visualised a small book that would introduce the collection – a kind of pocket edition. Jane McRae and Heni Jacob have fulfilled his wish with this accessible volume’ – Mana Magazine


The songs of Māori tradition are a living art form and an abundant source of knowledge about tribal history and culture.

From the 1920s, Sir Āpirana Ngata began collecting and annotating these traditional songs – a massive undertaking that, with the help of translators Pei Te Hurinui Jones and later Hirini Moko Mead, became the treasured four-volume Ngā M ō teatea.

This book, published in association with the Polynesian Society, is an introduction to Ngata’s classic collection. Its first essay outlines the origins and publication history of the Ngā M ōteatea volumes; the second celebrates the power and meaning of Māori song, discussing the styles and roles of the songs in traditional life, the poetry, and the cultural content, tribal origins, composers and methods of composition. With dual text in English and Māori, illustrations, and ten songs reproduced from the volumes, Ngā Mōteatea: An Introduction is a perfect entry point for students, teachers, scholars or singers interested in learning about and passing on the rich and vibrant poetry of ngā mōteatea.




Jane McRae is an honorary research fellow in the Department of Māori Studies at The University of Auckland and a translator, researcher and editor of Māori language. She wrote the essay ‘Maori Literature: A Survey’ for The Oxford History of New Zealand Literature (1998), edited by Terry Sturm, and edited, with Jenifer Curnow and Ngapare Hopa, Rere Atu, Taku Manu! Discovering History, Language and Politics in the Maori-language Newspapers and He Pitopito Kōrero nō te Perehi Māori: Readings from the Maori-language Press (Auckland University Press, 2002 & 2006).

Hēni Jacob (Ngāti Raukawa, Ngāti Porou) worked at Te Taura Whiri i te Reo Māori (Māori Language Commission) under Kīngi Īhaka and Tīmoti Kāretu, before leaving to take up Māori-language writing, translation, editing and lexicographical work as a consultant. She was a senior writer and editor on He Pātaka Kupu (2008) and Te Matatiki (1996), the author of the second edition of Māori for The Office (1997) and co-author of He Kohinga Kīwaha (1999).


Related Titles

Ngā Mōteatea The Songs: An Introduction

Ngā Mōteatea The Songs: Part One

Ngā Mōteatea The Songs: Part Two

Ngā Mōteatea The Songs: Part Three

Ngā Mōteatea The Songs: Part Four




July 2011, 225 x 160 mm, 152 pages, Illustrations
Paperback with flaps, ISBN 978 1 86940 490 1, $34.99