Amokura refers to a red-tailed tropic bird, a rare visitor to Aotearoa/New Zealand, whose tail-feather is treasured by Māori. One such feather was incorporated into the design of a pūtōrino (flute) that Dr Melbourne played. This was one of the last songs Dr Melbourne wrote, and he never recorded it; as with all of his songs, only the words were written down. The song was written for his granddaughter, also called Amokura, who is perhaps the only person who ever heard it sung.
Dr Melbourne devoted his life to restoring the voices of traditional Māori instruments, which had lain, unplayed in museums in Aotearoa/New Zealand and around the world. His passion for these taonga pūoro or ‘singing treasures’ shines through in the words of this song, where he likens Amokura to all those things most special to him.
*No performance without prior consent of composer/Hirini Melbourne Whanau Trust
traditional whakataukī ‘hutia te rito o te harakeke’, combined with the text of a song by Dr Hirini Melbourne