Classic Kiwi Christmas carols

‘Te harinui’ (great joy) versus ‘Te haranui’ (big mistake)

The first NZ Christmas Service

The first NZ Christmas service (click for image credit)

Carl’s Christmas blog from last year, Don’t be a turkey, has been pulling people in recently due to a comment by Jennie: ‘why do we not hear the nz christmas carol/song te haranui over the christmas period?’. The song is ‘Te harinui’ meaning great joy, rather than ‘Te haranui’, which actually means big mistake, or great sin.

Anyway, I suspect a few of you are hunting for the words to ‘Te harinui’, which, along with other Kiwi carols, can be found at this great folk song site. ‘Te harinui’ was written by Willow Macky about the first New Zealand Christmas service, held by Samuel Marsden in 1814. The chorus refers to Marsden’s service, which included a verse from the bible referring to ‘great joy’ (te harinui).

‘A pūkeko in a ponga tree’

Another great Kiwi carol is the adaptation of ‘The twelve days of Christmas‘ by Sir Kīngi Īhaka into ‘A pūkeko in a ponga tree’. His words, along with Dick Frizzell’s illustrations, were published as a book.  These kiwi lyrics beat the heck out of turtle doves and leaping lords:

On the twelfth day of Christmas
My true love gave to me
Twelve piupius swinging
Eleven haka lessons
Ten juicy fish heads
Nine sacks of pipis
Eight plants of puha
Seven eels a swimming
Six pois a twirling
Five – big – fat – pigs!
Four huhu grubs
Three flax kits
Two kumara
And a pūkeko in a ponga tree!

Musical fence

Musical fence

‘Good King Wenceslas’ the Kiwi way

What about ‘Good King Wenceslas’ played on a No. 8 wire fence in true Kiwi style?

‘We three kings’

The line-up wouldn’t be complete without this classic from Fred Dagg:

We three Kings of Orient are
One on a tractor, One on a car,
One on a scooter, tooting his hooter,
Following yonder star.

Oh, star a wonder, star a bright
Star a bewdy, she’ll be right,
Star a glory, that’s the story,
Following yonder star

One comment added so far

  1. Comment made by Ross || December 24th, 2008

    Nice blog, Baz. Love those links! Who knew that Te Ara was based on a Christmas carol?

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