Hayley Westenra version
Pokarekare Ana is a traditional New Zealand love song written in Māori, probably communally composed about the time World War I began in 1914. It has been translated into English, and also enjoys some popularity in Australia.
East Coast Māori song-writer Paraire Tomoana, who polished up the song in 1917 and published the words in 1921, wrote that “it emanated from the North of Auckland” and was popularised by Māori soldiers who were training near Auckland before embarking for the war in Europe.
There have been numerous claims and counterclaims regarding authorship over the years. Although the matter has never been definitively settled, guardianship of the words and music are held by the family (descendants) of Paraire Tomoana.
The song is very popular in New Zealand, and has been adapted for multiple purposes, including in advertising and by sporting groups. Notable uses include:
- “Sailing Away“, which promoted New Zealand’s 1987 America’s Cup challenge, and featured an ensemble choir of famous New Zealanders recording as ‘All Of Us’
- It is best known worldwide through Air New Zealand‘s TV advertisements in 2000. This version was performed by Rose Hanify (later of NZ Band Supermodel). In particular, the song became a phenomenon in Australia during the 2000 Summer Olympics in Sydney, where the song again became another unofficial anthem, this time for the success of Oceania into the new millennium, specifically during the time of the Olympic Games, and beyond.
- In April 2013, members and spectators in the parliament of New Zealand sang “Pokarekare Ana” after the house passed the bill legalising same-sex marriage in New Zealand.
- In popular culture, “Pokarekare Ana” was used as the theme song for the 2005 South Korean film Crying Fist.
- A version of the song sung by Scottish comedian Billy Connolly is used as the theme to his 2004 Tour of New Zealand and features on both the DVD and CD.
- A homophonous translation into Hebrew was composed in 2007 by Ghil’ad Zuckermann. In this translation the approximate sounds of the Māori words are retained while Hebrew words with similar meanings are used. In this translation, however, “Waiapu” is replaced by “Rotorua” (oto rúakh, Hebrew for “that wind”).