Australian and NZ EDMusos sing Te Aroha

“Languages, just like people, are worlds within themselves. They have the incredible ability to provide us with a clearer, more profound and detailed perspective of a culture and its views on life, nature, and death.”

Orge Castellano

Listen to the harmonies. Apparently, if you listen to it with your earphones, you’ll hear the harmonies ( I can hear them without the earphones too). Singing during Melbourne’s lockdown has been a balm, for many including myself. Te Aroha, which means love in te reo Māori, is a well known waiata (song) in Aotearoa New Zealand. It sings about love and peace (rangimārie).

Many in Aotearoa sung Te Aroha publicly after the tragedy and loss of life on Friday 15 March 2019. in solidarity with the Muslim community in Christchurch and around the country.

For many in EDMusos, a group of healthcare workers working in emergency departments, this may be the first time singing a waiata in te reo Māori (the Māori language), indigenous to Aotearoa New Zealand. And that’s an incredible achievement because the vowel sounds are very different to English.

The vowel sounds for te reo Māori are similar in sound to French vowels, as well as for other languages of the Asia-Pacific region. For example, among indigenous tribes of Taiwan, as I discovered some years ago when meeting with Taiwanese indigenous language champions and film makers, there are similarities with words in the Māori language and with the ancient language of Taiwanese indigenous peoples.

EDMusos is a special collaboration for healthcare workers working in emergency departments. It is a project initiated during COVID-19 by the extraordinary Dr Clare Skinner, Director of Emergency Medicine, at New South Wales’ Hornsby Ku-ring-gai Hospital.

Everyone who participated in this did so in their personal time., myself included.

“If you cannot teach me to fly, teach me to sing.”

Sir James Barrie, Peter Pan

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