Taiohi Taiao (2004) - 10 minutes (SOUNZ)

SATB, 2 soloists, taonga pūoro

Text: Aroha Yates-Smith

Taiohi taiao (2004)
Na Aroha Yates-Smith

koropupu ake ana
nga wai o te matapuna
he wai matao
he wai reka ki te korokoro
he wai tohi i te punua
waiora waimarama wairua

te puna o te tangata
te putanga mai o nga reanga
hei poipoi I nga taonga tuku iho
pukenga wananga
manaaki tangata
tiaki whenua
tamaiti taiohi taiao

Bubbling upwards rise
the waters from the spring
cool, refreshing water
fluid delighting the taste buds
blessing the young
water – life-giving, clear – the spirit

The springs of humankind
producing generations
who will nurture their inheritance
learning from the storehouse of knowledge
hospitality/generosity to all
guardianship of the land
Child Youth Universe

The waiata acknowledges the vital role natural springs have in providing clean, delicious drinking water, which nourishes humankind and the wider environment. The water is also used in traditional and contemporary forms of blessing our young. The line waiora waimarama wairua refers to the life-giving force of the water, its clarity and purity, and the spiritual essence which pervades it and every life force.

The second verse focuses on the importance of generation after generation preserving all that is important:

Te puna o te tangata refers to the fountain of humankind, that is, the womb which produces the future progeny of our people. From woman is born humankind – generations of people who continue to nurture and maintain those treasures passed down through eons of time: knowledge and wisdom, the importance of caring for others and looking after the environment. The final line, tamaiti taiohi taiao creates a link between the (tiny) infant, youth and the wider environment, and ultimately the Universe.

The piece is devised so that it can be performed with or without the taonga pūoro (koauau ponga ihu and koauau koiwi kuri). In the event that it is sung with the taonga, there can be considerable flexibility to allow the weaving of soloist and koauau. The koauau ponga ihu, used in the first verse, is a very quiet instrument, while the koauau koiwi kuri.

Accidentals refer throughout the bar. Sometimes cautionary accidentals are used.

In the sustained pedal sections, staggered breathing should be used to ensure continuity of sound.

Commissioned by Tower Voices New Zealand with funding from CNZ.

First perf: Otago Festival, October 2004, Tower Voices New Zealand cond. Karen Grylls.

Recorded by Tower Voices New Zealand conducted by Karen Grylls on New Zealand Voices: Spirit of the land, Morrison Music Trust MMT2065, 2006.

Missa Brevis (1963) - 15 minutes

First complete Performance Leonine Consort, Sydney, 1965.

Published Waiteata Music Press.

Lord’s Prayer (1963) - 2 minutes (Composer)

Voices, with or without piano

Written for and sung at Whangarei Girls’ High School assemblies

Qui natus est (1966)

carol SATB

first performed: University of Auckland Choir.

Recorded: Kiwi Records, SLD-31.

Five Songs of Hildegard von Bingen (1976), - 13 mins


  1. 1. Spiritus sanctus,
  2. 2. O coruscans lux stellarum,
  3. 3. Laus trinitate,
  4. 4. O nobilissima viriditas,
  5. 5. Caritas abundant in omnia

First performance: Philharmonia Motet Choir, cond. Charles Colman, Sydney, 1984.

The Five Songs of Hildegard von Bingen were written in 1976, and first performed by the Sydney Philharmonia Motet Choir, conducted by Charles Colman, in the Great Hall, University of Sydney, on November 16th, 1982 I was drawn to the texts because their nature imagery was so different from biblical texts. The first song, Spiritus sanctus, FINISH.

(Translation to come)

Low Tide, Aramoana (1982), - 20 mins (SOUNZ)

Large choir SATB (with divisi), 3 trumpets, 2 trombones, timpani

Text: Cilla McQueen

Commissioned by the Auckland Choral Society,

First performed by the Auckland Choral Society cond. Ray Wilson, August 1983.

The score is notated in C; trumpets may be in C or Bb Trumpet 1, trombones and timpani form a central ensemble. Trumpets 2 and 3, as well as forming part of the central ensemble, take up initial and final positions remote but equidistant from the central ensemble, but with access to it. Instrumental lines that are bracketed and asterisked may be omitted; the lines here only give and sustain the vocal pitches.

Low Tide - Aramoana is a setting of a poem by Cilla McQueen, and is used with her kind permission. The piece, written for large choir and a small brass ensemble, is an evocation of an estuary at the turn of the tide. Although the poem itself describes Aramoana at the mouth of Otago harbour (significant at the time because of the threat of the aluminium smelter that, because of the strength of local protest, was in fact not built), for the composer it was the estuary where the Ruakaka river meets the sea south of Whangarei was significant. Low Tide - Aramoana was commissioned by the Auckland Choral Society, when Ray Wilson was its conductor, and first performed by them in the Holy Trinity Cathedral, Parnell, Auckland on 2nd August, 1982.

Moments (1993), - 12 minutes (SOUNZ)


Text: four poems by Cilla McQueen

Written for Southern Consort, Dunedin. Unperformed.

Lullaby of Loss (2010)


Text: Jenny Bornholdt

First performance: Baroque Voices, St Mary of the Angels, Wellington, 30 May, 2010.