Kēpa Ehau: Orator of the Airwaves

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Kēpa Hamuera Anaha Ehau (1885-1970, Ngāti Tarawhai, Ngāti Whakaue)

Although state radio took many years to embrace te reo Māori as a regular part of broadcast programming, there were occasions when recognised Māori orators would come to the studios and record broadcasts in te reo, often to mark significant national events.

These were men such as Kēpa Hamuera Anaha Ehau (1885-1970, Ngāti Tarawhai, Ngāti Whakaue) who was recognised as not just the leading orator of Te Arawa, but also as one of the great Māori speakers of his generation.

He was a government-licensed interpreter and was frequently recorded by his local radio station, Rotorua 1YZ/1ZC throughout the 1950s and early 1960s. He made short radio programmes on Rotorua history and legends, recorded farewell tributes to King George VI and Prime Minister Peter Fraser and welcomed the new queen, Elizabeth II when she was crowned in 1953. These nationally significant oratories in English and te reo Māori were broadcast nationwide.

This recording is his tribute to Prime Minister Peter Fraser on his passing in 1950.

Image: Photograph of Governor General, Lord Jellicoe, addressing Arawa Maori at Whakarewarewa, [with Kēpa Ehau, 1921] Ref: PAColl-8900. Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, New Zealand. /records/22413962

Catalogue Reference 33029

Year 1950


Speaker: Kēpa Ehau

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