Author(s): Mervyn McLean
These songs in many different styles embody the fundamental values of traditional Maori culture and form a vital part of marae ceremonial. Most common song types are represented: laments, love songs, war chants, songs of welcome, face-saving songs and witty occasional songs. They are remarkable for the sophistication of the music and the power and subtlety of the words. Both Orbell and McLean are widely known and respected and have published extensively. Margaret Orbell is the author of a number of books on Maori myths and poetry; Mervyn Mclean is the author of Maori Music (1996) and a study of Polynesian music, Weavers of Song (1999). Their Songs of a Kaumatua sung by Kino Hughes appeared in a similar format in 2002.
""A valuable resource for future generations."
Dr Mervyn McLean was formerly Associate Professor of Ethnomusicology at the University of Auckland (retired 1992). He was also the founding Head of the Archive of Maori and Pacific Music, formally established within the Department of Anthropology at the University of Auckland in 1970. Present holdings include more than 5,000 reel tapes 1,100 audio cassettes, 600 video cassettes and over 500 commercial discs. Among the Archive's noteworthy collections of music is the material personally recorded by Dr McLean's- some 1300 items of traditional Maori chant and 30 hours from the Cook Islands. Dr McLean has written prolifically on Maori and Pacific music and has published a number of critically acclaimed books, including Maori Music and Weavers of Song: Polynesian Music and Dance (selected as a Choice outstanding academic title in 2000). He was co-author with Margaret Orbell of the Traditional Songs of the Maori, which sold out several print runs and is still highly sought after, and with Raymond Firth of Tikopia Songs. Dr Margaret Orbell, until recently Associate Professor of Maori at the University of Canterbury, is now a full-time writer. She is a highly respected scholar of Maori culture and the author of many books and papers on Maori and Polynesian tradition, literature and belief including Maori Poetry (1978), He reta ki te maunga = Letters to the mountain: Maori letters to the editor, 1898-1905 (2002) and The Illustrated Encyclopaedia of Maori Myth and Legend (1995), which was a finalist in the 1996 Montana New Zealand Book Awards. Dr Orbell's interest in Maori traditional material was whetted more than 30 years ago by her experiences editing Te Ao Hou, the magazine of New Zealand's Department of Maori Affairs. Around the corner from her office was the Alexander Turnbull Library, home to a huge collection of Maori material - New Zealand's libraries contain the largest collections of indigenous writing in the world.