NZ Poetry Day – Hine e Hine

Hine e Hine

By Princess Te Rangi Pai (Fanny Howie)

E tangi ana koe
Hine, E Hine
Kua ngenge ana koe
Hine, E Hine
Kati to pouri ra
Noho i te Aroha
Te ngakau o te Matua
Hine, E Hine

E hari to moe moea
Hine, E Hine
Marama ahua
Hine, E Hine
I roto i to moenga
Mehemea he Marama
Ka tae mai te Reinga
Hine, E Hine


English translation of first verse

You are weeping
Little girl, darling girl
you are weary
Little girl, darling girl

Be sad no longer
There is love for you
in the heart of the Father
Little girl, darling girl

…and an alternative translation

Plaintive all through the night –
Hine, E Hine!
Weeping till morning light –
Hine, E Hine!
From my care why try to leap
There is love for you
Mother’s arms their strength will keep
Hine, E Hine!

See where there comes the morn
Hine, E Hine!
Long rays of early dawn
Hine, E Hine!
Shining to Reinga far
Where thy noble grandsires are
Nestle Aroha!
Hine, E Hine!

Seeing as it’s Te Wiki o te Reo Māori (Māori Language Week) as well as National Poetry Day, I have chosen a waiata (song) for my poem today.  It’s generally described as a lullaby, although I have also seen it described as a father’s lament for the loss of his daughter.  It was written by Fanny Rose Porter (Poata) – married name Fannie Howie – who was best known by her stage name, Te Rangi Pai or Princess Te Rangi Pai.  It is thought to have been written around 1928. The waiata will be best known to New Zealanders as the “Goodnight Kiwi” song, from the days when the end of television for the evening was announced by a cartoon kiwi and cat curling up together in a TV transmitter tower. 

More about Princess Te Rangi here:

and here

 Happy Poetry Day!

and you can hear Hayley Westenra singing it here:

Tuesday Poem


  1. The “Goodnight Kiwi” definitely brings back (fond) memories and as with Jeff’s poem, I celebrate the choice of a waiata for National Poetry day and Maori Language Week.

    I think I prefer the second translation, it seems to have more depth.

  2. Helen L, the difference in the translations is quite marked, isn’t it. More effort seems to have gone into making the second one into a poem in its own right, but my partner (who knows more about te reo than I do) reckons the first one seemed more accurate.

    Helen R, Thanks for the Goodnight Kiwi link!

  3. Kia ora Janice! Terrific choice. Love the links to Hayley and the Goodnight Kiwi (makes me emotional, too, Helen R – brings back milk bottles, my Dad taking them out…) And great to meet up this evening. X

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