#MataHaka - KARANGA

By Te Ao Māori News

In the lead-up to Te Matatini, Te Kāea has a number of special features focusing on the disciplines and practices of kapa haka. Tonight's edition looks at the karanga.

Renowned performers Anameka Paenga and Ruth Smith spoke with Te Kāea about their perspectives on karanga.

"A woman's voice opens the door to the spiritual and the physical realms so that for a moment in time, those worlds converge. That is perhaps a short summary of what karanga is for me," says Ruth.

"There are many aspects of the karanga; to evoke emotions in into the hearts of apathetics, to share perspectives, to connect lineages, and to bind those who are coming on to the marae with the home people.  But the most important part of karanga to me, is to show love," says Anameka.

Where does karanga come from?

Ruth says, "Karanga stems from the individual woman.  It springs from her emotions.  She intrinsically carries it with her, and so, aside from the well known esoteric rationalisations, I'd say the karanga stems from a woman's individual emotions and experiences."

"For me, karanga should be genuine, it should be performed with conviction, integrity and love at all times," adds Anameka.

"Nowadays, now that I've taken the time to study the discipline more extensively, when I think about the different aspects of karanga I'd say emphatically that the stage, in my opinion, is not the appropriate place to perform karanga," says Ruth.

"Over the years I've have been fortunate enough to karanga, although I haven't done it on my marae here. I'm good with that. In time it will happen and there are still plenty more things to learn, but I know that when the time comes, Anameka must be ready to carry that responsibility. So other than the marae the majority of my experience has been calling on the stage and at events outside of the marae.

"When a woman gives a call on stage it's not as though anyone replies. There's a difference there. But still, I believe that there is a place for karanga on the stage, in Māori performing arts," says Anameka.

"Should we consider that elevating the art of karanga to its utmost heights is the goal, then it follows that one must be adept in her language in order to achieve that goal," says Ruth.

Anameka says, "Māori performing arts may be an avenue to revive karanga, but if you call on stage and then go back to your marae and not do it there, karanga won't survive."

Ruth says, "We only need to take a look at our marae.  The Matatini stage is inundated with kaikaranga, but our marae, our regions, on the other hand, are struggling."