Music Monday: Pokarekare Ana

It’s Music Monday again, a meme started by The Tattooed Book Geek.  Posting Whakaaria Mai last week reminded me of Pokarekare Ana.

This song doesn’t remind of a particular person or place, but that doesn’t mean that it’s not powerful or emotive.

Pokarekare Ana is a New Zealand love song. Most children are taught it at an early age here, at primary school level if not before. For most New Zealanders, it is a sort of New Zealand anthem, a reminder of home. A patriotic song, I guess. But it is in fact a love song.

It is believed to have been written by New Zealand soldiers during WWI, but no one can prove the true origins. The first person known to have a copy didn’t claim to have written it, only to have polished it up. He said it came from soldiers north of Auckland who were preparing for war in Europe.

If you search Youtube, you’ll find some beautiful versions. I’ve heard Dame Kiri Te Kanawa sing it live – the first concert I ever went to, in the Auckland Domain. There are also a bunch of amateur versions on Youtube.

This one, sung by ordinary everyday New Zealanders, gives you a glimpse of how powerful this song can be. All it takes is one voice to start. There’s another version on Youtube where you can hear an entire stadium singing it quietly, which is pretty moving too. But this one is an impromptu song to celebrate the legalisation of same sex marriage in New Zealand in 2013.