Morvin Simon

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Morvin Simon

Morvin Simon MNZM (cropped).jpg

Simon in 2013
BornMorvin Te Anatipa Simon
Kaiwhaiki, Manawatu-Wanganui, New Zealand
Died (aged 70)
Wellington, New Zealand
Spouse(s) Titikura Kipo Irimana Simon QSM

Morvin Te Anatipa Simon MNZM (1944 – 14 May 2014) was a New Zealand Māori composer, kapa haka leader, choirmaster and historian.

Māori people Indigenous Polynesian people of New Zealand

The Māori are the indigenous Polynesian people of New Zealand. Māori originated with settlers from eastern Polynesia, who arrived in New Zealand in several waves of canoe voyages some time between 1250 and 1300. Over several centuries in isolation, the Polynesian settlers developed a unique culture, with their own language, a rich mythology, and distinctive crafts and performing arts. Early Māori formed tribal groups based on eastern Polynesian social customs and organisation. Horticulture flourished using plants they introduced; later, a prominent warrior culture emerged.

Kapa haka Māori performing art

Kapa haka is the term for Māori performing arts and literally means to form a line (kapa) and dance (haka). Kapa haka is an avenue for Māori people to express and showcase their heritage and cultural Polynesian identity through song and dance.



Born at Kaiwhaiki marae on the Whanganui River, [1] Simon was of Te Āti Haunui-a-Pāpārangi, Ngāti Apa and Ngāti Tūwharetoa descent. [2] He was educated at Upokongaro School and Hato Paora College, and studied sociology and philosophy at Holy Name Seminary in Christchurch, and Māori language and oral literature at Victoria University of Wellington and Massey University. [3]


Kaiwhaiki is a settlement 18 kilometres (11 mi) upriver from Whanganui, New Zealand.

Whanganui River major river in the North Island of New Zealand

The Whanganui River is a major river in the North Island of New Zealand. It is the country's third-longest river, and has special status owing to its importance to the region's Māori people. In March 2017 it became the world's second natural resource to be given its own legal identity, with the rights, duties and liabilities of a legal person. The Whanganui Treaty settlement brought the longest-running litigation in New Zealand history to an end.

Simon succeeded his father as choirmaster at Kaiwhaiki, recording the series of albums The Valley of Voices, [1] volume 2 of which was a finalist for best Polynesian album at the 1983 New Zealand Music Awards. He composed hundreds of songs, including classics such as Te aroha (1983), and Moe, moe mai rā adapted from the Welsh lullaby Suo Gân , and others for special occasions including one in memory of Sir Archie Taiaroa. [4] [5] He was the leader of the kapa haka groups Te Matapihi and Te Taikura o te Awa Tupua. [4] [6]

The New Zealand Music Awards, conferred annually by Recorded Music NZ, honour outstanding artistic and technical achievements in the recording field. The awards are among the most significant that a group or artist can receive in New Zealand music, and have been presented annually since 1965. The awards show is presented by Recorded Music NZ, and as of 2017 Vodafone New Zealand is the principal sponsor. A range of award sponsors and media partners support the event each year.

Suo Gân is a traditional Welsh lullaby written by an anonymous composer.

Sir Archie John Te Atawhai Taiaroa was a New Zealand Māori leader who affiliated to the Ngāti Tūwharetoa, Te Āti Haunui-a-Pāpārangi, Ngāti Apa and Ngāti Maru iwi. He chaired both the Whanganui River Maori Trust Board and Te Ohu Kaimoana, the latter for five years. In the 2003 Queen's Birthday Honours Taiaroa was appointed a Distinguished Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit for services to Māori. Following the reintroduction of titular honours by the New Zealand government, he accepted re-designation as a Knight Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit in the Special Honours 2009. He died of a stroke in Hamilton on 21 September 2010.

An expert in the Māori language, Simon was appointed an adjunct professor by Te Wānanga o Aotearoa in 2004. [4] He wrote a series of books Taku Whare E about the marae in the Whanganui region, with the third and final book focusing on his home marae of Kaiwhaiki. [7] [8]

Te Wānanga o Aotearoa

Te Wānanga o Aotearoa is a wānanga in New Zealand. The organisation was established to improve the social and economic well-being of those who had previously had negative experiences with the secondary education system. As a Māori-led organisation grounded in Māori values, Te Wānanga o Aotearoa is committed to the revitalisation of Māori cultural knowledge. It is also focused on breaking inter-generational cycles of non-participation in tertiary education to reduce poverty and eliminate associated social issues. The organisation works towards ‘whānau transformation through education’.

Marae Communal or sacred place in Polynesian societies

A marae, malaʻe, meʻae, and malae is a communal or sacred place that serves religious and social purposes in Polynesian societies. In all these languages, the term also means "cleared, free of weeds, trees, etc". Marae generally consist of an area of cleared land roughly rectangular, bordered with stones or wooden posts perhaps with paepae (terraces) which were traditionally used for ceremonial purposes; and in some cases, a central stone ahu or a'u. In the Rapa Nui culture of Easter Island, the term ahu has become a synonym for the whole marae complex.

In 2012, Simon was awarded an honorary Bachelor of Arts in Māori Performing Arts by Te Whare Wānanga o Awanuiārangi, in recognition of his contribution to kapa haka and cultural stewardship. [9] In the 2013 Queen's Birthday Honours, he was appointed a Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit, for services to Māori. [10] At the same time, his wife, Titikura Simon, was awarded the Queen's Service Medal, also for services to Māori. [10]

The 2013 Queen's Birthday Honours in New Zealand, celebrating the official birthday of Queen Elizabeth II, were appointments made by the Queen in her right as Queen of New Zealand, on the advice of the New Zealand government, to various orders and honours to reward and highlight good works by New Zealanders. They were announced on 3 June 2013.

New Zealand Order of Merit order

The New Zealand Order of Merit is an order of merit in New Zealand's honours system. It was established by royal warrant on 30 May 1996 by Elizabeth II, Queen of New Zealand, "for those persons who in any field of endeavour, have rendered meritorious service to the Crown and nation or who have become distinguished by their eminence, talents, contributions or other merits", to recognise outstanding service to the Crown and people of New Zealand in a civil or military capacity.

Queens Service Medal New Zealand award for public service

The Queen's Service Medal is a medal awarded by the government of New Zealand to recognise and reward volunteer service to the community and also public service in elected or appointed public office. It was established in 1975 and is related to the Queen's Service Order. The QSM replaced the Imperial Service Medal as an award of New Zealand.

Simon died in Wellington in 2014. [1] Māori Party co-leader Tariana Turia paid tribute to Simon, saying "his waiata could move from tempestuous rapids to smooth waters that caress your every trouble away." [11]

Wellington Capital city of New Zealand

Wellington is the capital city and second most populous urban area of New Zealand, with 418,500 residents. It is located at the south-western tip of the North Island, between Cook Strait and the Remutaka Range. Wellington is the major population centre of the southern North Island, and is the administrative centre of the Wellington Region, which also includes the Kapiti Coast and Wairarapa. Its latitude is 41°17′S, making it the world's southernmost capital of a sovereign state. Wellington features a temperate maritime climate, and is the world's windiest city by average wind speed.

Māori Party New Zealand political party promoting indigenous rights

The Māori Party is an indigenous rights-based political party in New Zealand, formed on 7 July 2004. Tariana Turia founded the party after resigning from the Labour Party, where she had been a minister in the Fifth Labour Government. She and Pita Sharples, a high-profile academic, became co-leaders. Since the 2008 election, the party supported a National Party-led government, and Turia and Sharples became ministers outside cabinet.

Tariana Turia New Zealand politician

Dame Tariana Turia is a New Zealand politician. She gained considerable prominence during the foreshore and seabed controversy, and eventually broke with her party as a result. She resigned from parliament, and successfully contested a by-election in her former electorate as a candidate of the newly formed Māori Party. She retired from Parliament in 2014.

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Haka traditional chanting dance of the Māori people of New Zealand

The haka is a ceremonial dance or challenge in Māori culture. It is a posture dance performed by a group, with vigorous movements and stamping of the feet with rhythmically shouted accompaniment. Although commonly associated with the traditional battle preparations of male warriors, haka have long been performed by both men and women, and several varieties of the dance fulfil social functions within Māori culture. Haka are performed to welcome distinguished guests, or to acknowledge great achievements, occasions or funerals.

Ngāti Toa Māori iwi (tribe) in Aotearoa New Zealand

Ngāti Toa, Ngāti Toarangatira or Ngāti Toa Rangatira, is a Māori iwi (tribe) in the lower North Island and upper South Island of New Zealand. Its rohe extends from Whanganui in the north, Palmerston North in the east, and Kaikoura and Hokitika in the south. Ngāti Toa remains a small iwi with a population of only about 4500. It has four marae: Takapūwāhia and Hongoeka in Porirua, and Whakatū and Wairau in the north of the South Island. Ngāti Toa's governing body has the name Te Rūnanga o Toa Rangatira.

Te Whanganui-a-Tara is the Māori name for Wellington Harbour. The term is also sometimes used to refer to the city of Wellington, the capital city of New Zealand, which lies on the shores of the harbour. "Te Whanganui-a-Tara" translates as "the great harbour of Tara", which refers to the rangatira Tara, who Māori tradition says visited the area in the 12th century and decided to stay.

Otaki, New Zealand Place

Otaki is a town in the Kapiti Coast District of the North Island of New Zealand, situated half way between the capital city Wellington, 70 kilometres to the southwest, and Palmerston North, 70 kilometres to the northeast. In the 2013 census the town's population was 5,778, a slight increase since the 2006 census.

Ngāti Awa Māori iwi (tribe) in Aotearoa New Zealand

Ngāti Awa is a Māori iwi (tribe) centred in the eastern Bay of Plenty Region of New Zealand. It is made of 22 hapu (subtribes), with 15,258 people claiming affiliation to the iwi in 2006. The Ngāti Awa people are primarily located in towns on the Rangitaiki Plain, including Whakatane, Kawerau, Edgecumbe, Te Teko and Matata. Two urban hapu also exist in Auckland and Wellington.

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Rangitāne Māori iwi (tribe) in Aotearoa New Zealand

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Te Matatini

Te Matatini is a nation-wide Māori performing arts festival and competition for kapa haka performers from all of Aotearoa. The name was given by Professor Wharehuia Milroy, a composite of Te Mata meaning the face and tini denoting many — hence the meaning of Te Matatini is many faces.

Wira Gardiner Public Servant

Lieutenant-Colonel Sir Harawira "Wira" Tiri Gardiner is a former professional soldier, senior public servant and writer. He is of Māori descent: his tribal affiliations are Ngati Awa, Ngati Pikiao, Whakatohea and Te Whanau-a-Apanui.

Sir "Sidney" Hirini Moko Haerewa Mead, is a New Zealand anthropologist, historian, artist, teacher, writer and prominent Māori leader. Initially training as a teacher and artist, Mead taught in many schools in the East Coast and Bay of Plenty regions, and later served as principal of several schools. After earning his PhD in 1968, he taught anthropology in several universities abroad. He returned to New Zealand in 1977 and established the first Māori studies department in the country. Mead later became a prominent Māori advocate and leader, acting in negotiations on behalf of several tribes and sitting on numerous advisory boards. He has also written extensively on Māori culture. He is currently the chair of the council of Te Whare Wānanga o Awanuiārangi.

Te Paekiomeka Joy Ruha was a prominent Māori leader and member of Māori Women's Welfare League. Of Te Whānau-ā-Apanui and Ngāti Porou descent, she lived most of her life in Wellington.

Pipiriki human settlement in New Zealand

Pipiriki is a settlement in New Zealand, on the east bank of the Whanganui River, due west of the town of Raetihi and 79 kilometres (49 mi) upriver from Whanganui; it was originally on the opposite bank. It is the home of Ngāti Kura, a hapū of the Ngāti Ruanui iwi. It is also the location of the Paraweka Marae of the hapū Ngāti Kurawhatia of the iwi Te Āti Haunui-a-Pāpārangi.

Matahiwi is a farming community 55 kilometres (34 mi) upriver from Whanganui, New Zealand, home to the Māori hapū known as Ngā Poutama of the iwi Te Āti Haunui-a-Pāpārangi. The township takes its name from the bush-clad puke (hill) on the western side of the Whanganui River, right above the local marae, whose name translates as "the face on the ridge".

Koriniti settlement in New Zealand

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Parikino is a settlement 24 kilometres (15 mi) upriver from Whanganui, New Zealand; the original pā site was across the Whanganui River.

Ngāti Apa ki te Rā Tō is a Māori iwi (tribe) in the upper South Island of New Zealand. Its rohe include the areas around Golden Bay, Takaka, Tasman Bay, Motueka, Nelson and Saint Arnaud, including Taitapu and Kawatiri river catchments and Lakes Rotoiti, Rotoroa and the Tophouse.


  1. 1 2 3 Karauria, Merania (15 May 2014). "Elder remembered for magical sound". Wanganui Chronicle. Retrieved 17 May 2014.
  2. "Morvin Simon". TVNZ. 25 October 2009. Retrieved 17 May 2014.
  3. "Whanganui author: Morvin Te Anatipa Simon". Whanganui Library. Retrieved 17 May 2014.
  4. 1 2 3 Stowell, Laurel (8 December 2012). "Expertise brings honorary degree". Wanganui Chronicle. Retrieved 17 May 2014.
  5. "Moe, moe mai ra". 5 March 2006. Retrieved 17 May 2014.
  6. "50+ kapa haka". Radio New Zealand National. 11 September 2013. Retrieved 17 May 2014.
  7. Rerekura, Eru (16 May 2014). "Morvin Simon lies at Kaiwhaiki". Radio New Zealand News. Retrieved 17 May 2014.
  8. "History of Kaiwhaiki Marae published". Radio New Zealand News. 11 December 2012. Retrieved 17 May 2014.
  9. "Morvin Simon's contribution to kapa haka acknowledged at symposium". CathNews New Zealand. 23 November 2012. Retrieved 17 May 2014.
  10. 1 2 "Queen's Birthday honours list 2013". Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet. 3 June 2013. Retrieved 18 June 2018.
  11. "Poroporoaki — Morvin Te Anatipa Simon". Scoop News. 14 May 2014. Retrieved 17 May 2014.