by Anthony Ritchie, for SSAATTBB choir a cappella Opus 88

A strong and punchy song for mixed choir, built on old New Zealand texts. This would make a good opener to a concert.

Programme Note

Welcome! is based on two Maori texts. The first is a Karanga (a song performed on the marae to welcome or farewell visitors), recorded on October 7, 1963, at the annual celebration of the coronation of King Koroki, at Turangawaewae, Ngaruawahia in the Waikato:

Mai raa ngaa iwi i te raa, e haere mai! . . . Welcome to the tribes today, Welcome!

The second text is a Maori 'Charm' which first appeared in A.S.Thomson's The Story of New Zealand (London, 1859), and has been recently published in 100 New Zealand Poems, chosen by Bill Manhire (Godwit Publishing, 1993). A.S.Thomson wrote about the poem: "The Hawaiki fleet reached New Zealand when the pohutukaua (sic) and rata trees were covered with blossoms. It was consequently summer, and the emigrants, like the survivors of a wreck, scattered themselves over the country. To appease the spirit of the land for their intrusion humiliating prayers were said; one uttered by a chief on this celebrated occasion is still preserved as a modern charm":

I arrive where an unknown earth is under my feet,
I arrive where a new sky is above me,
I arrive at this land
A resting place for me.
O spirit of the earth! the stranger humbly offers his heart
As food for thee.

Welcome! was commissioned by the New Zealand National Youth Choir with funding from Creative New Zealand

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