The ceremonies before an All Blacks match are an essential part of setting the mood to enjoy the theatre. But many people sing along to the words of the Maori version of the national anthem without knowing what it means. I don’t sing the words to the Maori version of the national anthem because they are an insult to my people.
The God of Nations referenced in the English version of the national anthem is not the same as the God of Abraham. The English version of the national anthem was written by Thomas Bracken, a Freemason, and as such the God referenced is the true divinity beyond all cultures. It is not Yahweh, the God of the Jews.
Governor George Grey commissioned a Maori translation of Bracken’s poem in 1878. This was performed by Thomas Henry Smith, an English immigrant and a Christian. Being Christian, and following the Christian imperative to destroy all other spiritual and religious traditions, Smith took the opportunity to erase all reference to God in his translation and to replace it with reference to Yahweh.
“E Ihowā Atua”, from the first line of the Maori version of the national anthem, means “O Jehovah God”. The Ministry of Culture and Heritage informs us that “‘Ihowā’ is the standard version of God (Jehovah) and was the one used by Smith.” In other words, Smith, a Christian, twisted Bracken’s nondenominational anthem into an entreaty to the God of the Jews.
Now why would I, as a person who does not worship Yahweh, sing an entreaty to the Jewish God?
As a Ngati Porou, being asked to sing a song about Jehovah is an insult. It was in the name of Jehovah that the spiritual traditions of the Maori people were destroyed and replaced with base superstition. Early Christian missionaries eradicated all knowledge of Io Matua Kore, the god of this part of the world, to replace it with knowledge of Yahweh, the god of a foreign land.
This was a great crime, and one which has never been acknowledged, much less made up for.
I would happily sing the Maori national anthem if it were replaced by a entreaty that praised Io Matua Kore instead of the God of the Jews. The Maori version of the New Zealand national anthem needs to be rewritten, preferably by a Maori and not an English immigrant, and in such a way that removes reference to the God of the Jews and replaces it with the God of Aotearoa.
Then I would sing the Maori version of the national anthem with pride.
If you enjoyed reading this essay/article, you can get a compilation of the Best VJMP Essays and Articles of 2019 from Amazon for Kindle or Amazon for CreateSpace (for international readers), or TradeMe (for Kiwis). A compilation of the Best VJMP Essays and Articles of 2018 and the Best VJMP Essays and Articles of 2017 are also available.