A waiata (song) has recently been gifted to the mental health team at Ngāti Porou Hauora. Presented by John Coleman of Tokomaru Bay, this waiata is a special tribute to a woman and past consumer of the mental health service, who has since passed away. Waiata have long been an effective method for maintaining well-being for Māori. It is an expression of emotion and a traditional form of healing. Over the past few decades, Ngāti Porou Hauora have been privileged to have had support from John and over this time he has written the organisation hundreds of songs. John comes from a line of gifted Ngāti Porou composers including Tuini Ngawai and Ngoi Pewhairangi.
Through waiata John has recorded the history of hauora on the Coast. Whenever there has been a hui or significant moment, there has also been a waiata that helps us remember who was there and what the kaupapa (topic of discussion) was. Often visitors have been able to take away the gift of a song as a special reminder of their visit. This waiata, however, is slightly different. In his younger days, John worked in the NPH mental health service, and it was here that he came across this particular song. A woman who was battling mental illness at the time brought in the English version of the song and explained that when she heard it, she felt like it was singing about her. The lyrics resonated deeply. However, she asked that John translate it to Māori as she believed this would be more beautiful and useful to her in her healing journey. Years later, John was reminded of the song. With the Ngāti Porou Hauora team recently visiting and consulting with the community around our model of care, and the nationwide Government Inquiry into Mental Health and Addiction he decided it would be a useful tool to help people to understand the perspective of those suffering from mental health issues and addiction. Here is the song: Lace covered window
Original by New Faces / Nga kupu by J.T. Coleman I te reo
Tuatahi: Ka hikoi I tea o, anake,
O pumau, ka huri, muri new e.
Ka tangi roimata, maumahara,
Nga whakaaturanga matapihi.
Tuarua: Te marama e kore I kitea,
Na konei, ko te whiu, I tea o nei,
E pumau kia kume te aria e,
Tirohia te aria matapihi.
Chorus: Ka rapa noa nga mahara kei whea ra.
Ko wai e tau nei I a koe.
Me kume te aria kia mohio ano
Te aroha kei reira mo koe ra.
Tuatoru: Ka hikoi korua mo ake
Waihotia na pouri, mamaetanga,
Ka nga ra whiti-mai apopo,
Tu where te aria matapihi,
Whiti ra te aria matapihi.
Verse 1: When you walk through the world all alone,
And your dreams turn to ashes behind you,
Then the tears in your eyes will remind you,
Of a vein through a lace covered window.
Verse 2: Doesn’t seem very clear anymore,
In your world everything is uncertain,
How you wish you could pull back the curtain,
Just to see through that lace covered window.
Chorus: But you’ll never know what life has in store,
What’s waiting there to greet you.
So pull back the curtains and maybe once more,
True love is there to meet you.
Verse 3: So you walk side by side through the world,
No more times full of darkness & sorrow,
Every day is a bright new tomorrow,
When you open that lace covered window,
Let the sun through that lace covered window.