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Use of bold imagery in E Pari Rā

Tama Huata talks about how Paraire Tomoana used Mātauranga Māori in the waiata E Pari Rā to express the love between mother and son, as illustrated by the ebb and flow of the tide.


We need to turn to the old teachings, to celestial lore, and the lore of earthly things, such as the sets of seven waves and the stories about the yearning of Tangaroa for the earth mother, Papatūānuku. Those old stories, stories from ancient times, are echoed in this song. When the wave breaks, it runs up on to the shore. That is when the thoughts of the son who has gone swirl around in the mother and the longing of one separated from the mother bursts forth. The model for this was Papatūānuku. In the case of E Pari Rā, the song is from the mother’s viewpoint. The arrival of the waves on shore align with the thoughts of the mother. The mother’s tears are blended with the water, the waves go back out, they are sent away, all of the love, the blessings of the mother, on this occasion the mother of Te Tomo, go with them.