Haka practiceAll week we've been practicing our waiata in preparation for the arrival of the Rainbow Warrior. We have a song written by people here in the office a few years ago.

People come and go but there's always enough of the old hands to pass the tune on to the new folk. I have to confess I'm not a keen singer (or a good one) but, despite my grumbling on the way down the stairs for our morning practice, I always enjoy it. Add the Haka to the mix and you almost don't need a coffee to start the day. Almost.

Right now I have a ragged voice, bruised thighs and a stretched jandal but the practice is definitely worth it if we're going to do this in public!

Our waitata speaks of Greenpeace, the people who are Greenpeace, the work we've done, our kaupapa and our history. We wrote it with the help of a very wise old woman known as Aunty Vepy. What seemed to me an almost impossible task actually came together with almost spooky ease. From memory it took a short session on the whiteboard and then some rather skilful arranging by from Aunty Vapi, a few simple chords on the guitar and hey presto there it was - a surprisingly very well formed little waiata all of our own.

It's called nau Mai Piki Mai - here's the words - maybe you can sing along some time.


Nau mai, piki mai Welcome, get on

Te waka o te Rangimarie The ship of Peace

He karere kite Ao A carrier seeing/discovering the World

Te wairua tuitui tangata Gathering the spirit of the people

Verse 1:

Manakitia a Papatuanuku e Caring for Mother Earth,

Me ona whenua, ona ngahere and the land and the forests,

A Tangaroa, me te takutai moana The god of the ocean, and coast,

Hei oranga mo tatou e Existing for everyone


Verse 2:

No reira kia kaha e hoa ma Therefore be strong friends

Kia manawanui tu tangata e Be steadfast / have a big heart and stand up people

Me o tatou rereketanga and our difference??

E whakapakari tatou e Reinforce/support everyone.

Chorus x2

Te wairua tuitui tangata Gathering the spirit of the people Our Haka - Toi Mai - is an ancient canoe-hauling chant. It's now most often chanted as a 'haka pöwhiri' to symbolically pull the 'canoe' of the visitors safely on to a marae so using it to welcome our flagship into port seems fitting.

Here's the words ... it needs to come from the belly.

LEADER: Ä, töia mai, The canoe! CHORUS: Te waka! To the entry LEADER: Ki te urunga, The canoe! CHORUS: Te waka! To the berth, LEADER: Ki te moenga, The canoe! CHORUS: Te waka! To the resting place to lie. The canoe! ALL: Ki te takoto runga i takoto ai te waka! Drag hither
Here's one of the original recordings of Nau Mai Piki Mai and one of Toi Mai.


Stirring stuff. The crew aboard the Rainbow Warrior are busy practicing their own song which, given what an eclectic bunch they are could be from anywhere.