There are waiata sections in every chapter of the SKIP Whakatipu booklets, and an invitation to listen to some of them on the SKIP website. If the technology is available, you might do this together.
Invite whānau to look at page 20 of the SKIP Whakatipu booklet Te Kākano with you. This little section on oriori reminds us that traditionally these lullabies told stories to children about their ancestors. However, any personal story can be turned into a special song or oriori for pēpi.
Oriori are often seen as lullabies designed to calm babies or soothe them off to sleep, and are used in this way. However, they may also be used as a welcoming chant as a baby is born.
Ask the whānau how they feel about waiata and whether they’ve considered singing to their unborn child.
Ask the whānau:
- What songs are special to your whānau?
- Is music important to you and your whānau?
- Does anyone in the home play an instrument?
- What sort of music helps you go to sleep?
Studies have shown that new borns’ recognise songs that have been sung often to them during pregnancy. An oriori or chant doesn’t have to be too elaborate — it can be short with repeated phrases.
- Have you ever thought of making up a song for your pēpi?
- What do you think would be important for your pēpi to know about that you might include in an oriori for them?
‘Nā tō rourou, nā tōku rourou, ka ora ai te iwi. With your knowledge and my knowledge we will thrive.’
This whakataukī reinforces the benefits of sharing resources and working together. We’re not all the same. Each parent will bring different strengths and experiences to support their new whānau. Recognising this and valuing each other’s contribution strengthens relationships.
Each parent might have different ideas on what they’d include. They could write their own waiata oriori for pēpi based on what’s important to them. It might help them to write some ideas down to get things started.
Here are some prompts to help whānau focus on their pēpi:
- Where are they from?
- What is their maunga, awa, moana, iwi, marae(mountain, river, sea, people, marae)?
- What is their whakapapa or genealogy — who came before them? (For example, mātua, koro/kuia, tīpuna — parents, grandparents, ancestors.)
- What were the achievements of their whānau/ancestors?
- Are there expectations for them that have been handed down from their ancestors?
- How could they get guidance from tīpuna about their place in the wider world?
- What do you want them to know about the world and their place in it?
- What values do you want them to share?
- What qualities do you wish for them?
How does this relate to the SKIP resources?
Baby Wall Frieze - Waiata mai - Sing to me
Six things children need - Te kōrero me te whakarongo - Talking and listening