New lullaby launched to celebrate Māori language week

9 Sep 2021

The sweet, soothing sounds of te reo Māori will be gently sung to pēpi around the country as Te Hiringa Hauora | Health Promotion Agency launches a brand new lullaby in celebration of Māori Language Week and Mahuru Māori.

‘I Te Tōnga o te Rā’ (Just when the Sun Goes Down) is a lullaby composed to calm pēpi, māmā and whoever puts baby down for a moe. The video for the lullaby was filmed with whānau in South Auckland and shows lots of tips on how to settle pēpi and get them ready for a safe, healthy sleep.

Māori Language Moment

Te Taura Whiri i te reo Māori (the Māori Language Commission) is promoting ‘I Te Tōnga o te Rā’ as something whānau can do to be part of setting a new world record via its award-winning ‘Māori Language Moment’. It’s on the MLM ideas page here, under Whakarongo (Listen) and Waiata (Sing).

Māori Language Week runs from 13 – 19 September 2021. For the second year, the Māori Language Moment will call people together to celebrate the language in unison at a set moment in time, midday on Tuesday 14 September. People are encouraged to speak, read, haka, pray or sing – as long as it’s in Māori. The goal is for two million people to join in. So even if whānau are getting baby quietly ready for bed, they can still be part of the magic by playing the lullaby. Sign up today.  

And with Mahuru Māori happening too, (a month long challenge to use more Māori language), it’s a great way to take up the wero (challenge) of pushing yourself to use more Māori - an hour a day, half the day or all day every day.  

Four languages to listen, learn and read

Written and produced by South Auckland artists Tanya Muagututi’a, Pos Mavaega, Talia-Rae Mavaega, Brandon Haru and Jake Arona, the lullaby comes in four languages: te reo Māori, Samoan, Tongan and English. The Tongan version is available just in time to be part of the nationwide spotlight on Uike Kātoanga’i ‘o e lea faka-Tonga, Tonga Language Week too!

As well as watching the video, you can find all of the language versions on Spotify, iTunes and other platforms. You can learn the lyrics too.

A toolkit for safe and healthy sleep

The lullaby is part of a wider toolkit developed to support Māori and Pacific parents and caregivers with children under two. The toolkit is called Manaaki Tamariki: Kia au tō moe – Safe and healthy sleep for pēpē and whānau and will be available soon for download.

Manaaki Tamariki: Kia au tō moe is aimed at health professionals, including Plunket and Well Child Tamariki Ora nurses, who are working with parents of young pēpē and tamariki. The toolkit supports a variety of parenting styles and approaches to sleep for pēpē, and signposts people to other useful resources. It includes models based on Te Vaka Atafaga and the Pā Harakeke to show influences on sleep from Māori and Pasifika world views.  

A video is also available for parents and caregivers that provides tips from whānau on sleep for pēpē. This was filmed earlier in 2021 in Auckland, when a number of families came together to share the realities of sleep for pēpē and whānau, and the importance of sleep for wellbeing. Te Hiringa Hauora encourages the wide sharing of these videos amongst whānau and within communities. The videos have been produced by Dioscuri, who were also behind the Mana Pasifika campaign.

Strategic impact for pepī, māmā and whānau

The lullaby and toolkit come under the First 1,000 Days kaupapa lead by Te Hiringa Hauora. This work centres on the first 1,000 days of a child’s life laying the foundations for their entire future. The clock starts at conception and runs to the child’s 2nd birthday. 

For the First 1,000 Days programme, that means honing in on quality of life for mothers and babies so they get equitable outcomes from generation to generation. One of the ways we support the work is by producing resources and tools to serve whānau and the child health sector.