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He Reo Tawhito
Season 2, Episode 3: A conversation with Dr Joe Te Rito

Mōteatea is a centuries-old tradition of chanted song-poetry; a great literary and musical art form that expresses the powerful portrayal of storytelling and is reflective of the emotional depths of a Māori world view. Its vast richness is yet to be fully understood. 

In these eleven episodes, over three series, hosted by Crystal Edwards, we hold conversations with some of the world’s leading experts on mōteatea and ask them: What exactly is mōteatea? How has it changed since colonisation? What issues does it face today?

He Reo Tawhito: Conversations about Mōteatea podcast

Season 2, Episode 3

Please note: This podcast is spoken completely in te reo Māori

Dr Hōhepa (Joe) Te Rito’s passion for te reo Māori began in 1971, when he became one of the original members of the Te Reo Māori Society at Victoria University of Wellington—a group that was active in collecting signatures for the Te Reo Māori Petition presented to Parliament in 1972. He has taught te reo Māori in various settings—including at the University of Auckland and EIT Hawke’s Bay, where he became Dean of Māori Studies and worked for 17 years—and is the founding and current Chairperson of Radio Kahungunu.

In this episode of He Reo Tawhito: Conversations about Mōteatea, Joe acknowledges the future proofing efforts of the likes of Tā Apirana Ngata, Pei Te Hurinui Jones, and Hirini Moko Mead, who foresaw the need to collect and publish the four-volume Ngā Mōteatea series. Joe also gives extended explanations about the great works involved with Ngā Mōteatea, and how these books have contributed to the art and literature of Māori today.

“Ngā Mōteatea: Hē pēnei te mātotoru, kī  katoa i tēnei mea te Mōteatea nā reira koirā tō tātou waimarietanga i te koroua nei i a Apirana Ngata” [The ‘Ngā Mōteatea’ books are this thick, full to the brim with mōteatea collections, so that’s one of the reasons we were fortunate to have this Koroua, Apirana Ngata.]

Joe mentions three classic mōteatea that he has studied personally, each with their own style and their own origins, and speaks about some of those involved in the movement of each mōteatea. Join our host Crystal Edwards to find out more about these classic mōteatea in this fascinating te reo Māori conversation with Dr Hōhepa (Joe) Te Rito.

Host: Crystal Edwards
Guest: Dr Joe Te Rito

Links & Resources
Pinepine Te Kura
Ka riro ra i te momo o te tangata
E tō e te rā
I Te Ata Tu Tōnu

Production team
Producers: Toni Huata & Roger Smith
Sound Engineer: Phil Brownlee
Research: Dr Te Ahukaramū Charles Royal
Production Assistance: Ngahuia Maniapoto, Kelly Mata, Nina Lesperance, Jonathan Engle, Alpana Chovhan
Marketing: Leoné Venter
Executive Producer: Diana Marsh

Special thanks to
Special thanks to Dr Joseph Te Rito and Ngāti Kahungunu for E tō e te rā,
Dame Hinewehi Mohi, Dr Joseph Te Rito and Ngāti Kahungunu for Pinepine te kura
Waipatu Māori Club for I te Ata Tū Tōnu
Dame Hinewehi Mohi, Dr Joseph Te Rito, Ngāti Kahungunu and Ngāti Porou for Ka riro rā e te momo o te tangata
Thanks to Adrian Wagner and Te Upoko o Te Ika
Cover Art: Kennedy Kioa Toi Faimanifo of Manatoa Productions

This podcast is supported by funding from Creative New Zealand.

© Copyright Centre for New Zealand Music Trust