Tuini Ngawai

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Tuini Moetu Haangu Ngawai (5 May 1910 – 12 August 1965) was a well-known Māori songwriter, teacher, shearer and cultural adviser.[1]

Her iwi is Ngati Porou and her hapu is Te Whanau a Ruataupare. Born at Tokomaru Bay, her twin sister died in infancy, and Moetu was given the name Tuini, a transliteration of twin. Tuini Ngawai composed many songs using European tunes, to encourage Māori pride and, from 1939, to raise morale among Māori at home and at the war. Many, such as Hoki mai e tama mā and E te Hokowhiti-a-Tū (to the tune of In the Mood) are still sung today. Her niece Ngoi Pēwhairangi was also a composer.


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