Ana Hato Profile

Amanda Mills
18 Mar 2015

The true elder stateswoman of the New Zealand music industry, Ana Hato is noted in history books for the quality of her voice and her role in the first local commercial music recordings. Hato devoted herself to music; only a few recordings bear her voice, but her influence and legacy tower above more prolific names.

Ana Matawhaura Hato possessed a voice that was beautiful, pure and unique, a voice that kickstarted New Zealand’s recording history. Hato was born in Ngāpuna, Rotorua on December 30, 1907, to Hato Mae Ngamahirau (of Ngāti Whakaue), and Riripeti Te Opehōia Eparaima (of Tūhourangi). The young Ana (Whāura to her close family) grew up in Whakarewarewa pā, a tourist centre where she was exposed to other cultures. 

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Whisper of Heaven (1929)
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The first 78 issued by Parlophone from the 1927 recordings in Rotorua. This however seems to play at 80rpm rather than the standard 78.
Photo credit: Simon Grigg collection
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Oriwa Tahupotiki Haddon and Ana Hato in 1940
Photo credit: Photo by Farmer MacDonald. National Library of New Zealand http://natlib.govt.nz/records/22654998
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The Tuhourangi concert party, circa 1937. Ana Hato is seated at bottom right. Her mother, Riripeti Te Opehoia, stands middle row, third from the left. Her father Hato Mae Ngamahirau, is second from left, back row. Her husband, Pahau Raponi, is in the centre of the middle row. Hepine Waretini is seated next to Ana Hato, front row, second from the right.
Photo credit: Photo by Charles Troughton Clark. National Library of New Zealand PAColl-0316-1
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A programme for the Arawa Maori Entertainers, featuring Guide Rangi and Ana Hato (centre, bottom) at Peerless Hall, Rotorua in the early 1930s
Photo credit: National Library of New Zealand http://natlib.govt.nz/records/23210752
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Ana Hato on the front cover of a programme for the Tuhourangi Maori Entertainers in the early 1930s
Photo credit: National Library of New Zealand http://natlib.govt.nz/records/22882496
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The summer 1954 edition of Te Ao Hou reports Ana Hato's passing in December 1953
Photo credit: National Library of New Zealand http://natlib.govt.nz/records/200404
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Deane Waretini and Ana Hato on a 1930s advert for their Parlophone 78s. These 78s were in the EMI/HMV catalogues until the early 1950s.
Photo credit: National Library of New Zealand Eph-A-PHONO-1930-01-5
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Pokarekare (1927)
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A postcard of Ana Hato from the 1930s
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The 1950 UK release of the 1927 Rotorua recordings had Ana Hato on the label
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Ana Hato in the 1930s
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Ana Hato retums from a trip to Tahiti in September 1934 as reported in the Evening Post
Photo credit: National Library of New Zealand EP19340917.1.7
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E Pari-Ra was recorded by Ana Hato and Deane Waretini [senior] at the Sydney studios of EMI in 1930. This copy dates from the late 1930s.
Photo credit: Simon Grigg collection
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