To Tatau Waka: In Search of Maori Music 1958–1979

Mervyn McLean

Author: Mervyn McLean
Format: Ebook only
Pages: 200
Published: June 2004
ISBN: 9781869403065

Available in Ebook

In the engrossing book Tō Tātua Waka, a leading ethnomusicologist, Mervyn McLean, tells the story of his fieldwork recording waiata and other traditional Māori songs over a span of more than twenty years (1958–79). These recordings have been of great importance in revitalising Māori music in many tribal areas and have preserved the songs and the voices of many great kaumātua. McLean travelled throughout New Zealand, often in primitive conditions, showing extraordinary dedication and painstaking care in his important task and meeting and working with most of the Māori leaders of the period. Tō Tātau Waka includes over 80 photographs, two maps, a glossary of song types, an index of names, and (in the hard-copy book) an audio CD containing 37 waiata from his collection, performed by kaumātua whose photographs appear in the book. Sensitive writing and attention to the challenges of anthropological fieldwork gives this work wide appeal. It will be of particular interest to Māori, to anthropologists and to all those with an interest in Māori and indigenous cultures or world music.

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Reviews

In Tō Tātau Waka, this frank and entertaining account of McLean's 21 years of collecting, we learn how he collected enough material to crack the system and provided the nation with recordings and transcriptions of words and music of 1,300 songs from 253 singers from North Island tribes. – Hilary Bracefield, British Review of New Zealand Studies