Ngoi Pewhairangi

aka Te Kumeroa Ngoingoi Ngāwai


Ngoi Pēwhairangi was a cultural bridge builder, keeping alive old-school traditional performing arts and cultural knowledge that ultimately brought the Māori language into the pop and hip hop charts of the 1980s.

While her legacy is best known through collaborations with high-profile Māori artists Prince Tui Teka and Dalvanius Prime, Ngoi composed many widely respected waiata (songs) including ‘Kia Kaha Ngā Iwi’, ‘Ka Noho Au’, and ‘Whakarongo’.

Dalvanius with Ngoi Pewhairangi. Photograph by Gil Hanly
The famed Māori linguist and teacher Ngoi Pewhairangi. Ngoi wrote the lyrics to two No.1 singles, The Patea Māori Club's Poi E and and Prince Tui Teka's E Ipo. She died in 1985.
Poi E (Maui, 1984)
The Patea Māori Club's Poi-E was a smash in 1984, topping the chart with almost no airplay. Produced by Dalvanius with Dave Hurley (who also engineered it), it was the biggest selling single of the year.
Prince Tui Teka - E Ipo (1983)
Prince Tui Teka - E Ipo (1982)
‘Poi E’ wins the award for the best Polynesian recording, 1984. Dalvanius with lead singer Hui Kahu.
Tui Teka and wife Missy sing Tui’s hit 'E Ipo' after presenting Ngoi Pewhairangi with the gold disc for writing the te reo lyrics, 1982
Photo credit: TVNZ
Ngoi Pewhairangi with copies of 'Poi E'.
Photo credit: Pewhairangi whanau; thanks to Tania M. Ka'ai
In 2008 Huia published 'Ngoingoi Pēwhairangi: A Remarkable Life', a biography of Ngoi Pewhairangi (www.huia.co.nz). The author Tania Ka’ai (Ngāti Porou, Ngāi Tahu) is a professor in Māori innovation and development at Auckland University of Technology
Photo credit: Huia Publishers
Dalvanius (documentary, 2002) - NZ On Screen
Ngoi Pewhairangi at left, photographed at the opening of the Gisborne Chief Post Office, 20 June, 1975.
Photo credit: Gisborne Photo News
Patea Maori Club's tribute to Ngoi Pewhairangi - Ngoi Ngoi (1992)
Waka Huia Archive, 5 October 1997: Maori composers Tuini Ngawai and Ngoi Pewhairangi
Poi E: The Story of our Song (trailer, 2016)
Patea Maori Club - Poi E (1984)
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