Graduation ceremonies build new tradition

Chancellor Michael Ahie speaking at one of last year’s Auckland graduation ceremonies





In a move befitting a Tiriti-led institution, Massey University will break with tradition at all graduation ceremonies this year, replacing the ancient latin anthem Gaudeamus Igitur with the Massey waiata Te Kunenga ki Pūrehuroa.

Vice-Chancellor Professor Jan Thomas asked the University Council to make the change in a bid to have the ceremonies better reflect Aotearoa New Zealand.

Gaudeamus Igitur (So Let Us Rejoice) dates from a 1287 Latin manuscript and is sung at University graduation ceremonies around the world, despite its roots as a student drinking song.

The waiata Te Kunenga ki Pūrehuroa was composed for Massey in consultation with Māori staff and consolidated by Professor Emeritus Sir Mason Durie and Jacob Tapiata. Its tune comes from the 1949 hit song Blue Smoke written by Ruru Karaitiana who was a member of the 28th (Māori) Battalion and it was gifted by his whānau to the University.

Te Kunenga ki Pūrehuroa is the Māori name for Massey emphasising the pursuit of learning as an endless journey - literally, “from inception to infinity”.

Te Kunenga ki Pūrehuroa

Nei rā te reo karanga e tau atu nei
Ki te hāpai ake i te rau tāngata
Whakaako, whakaeke ki te kōmata.
Te Kunenga ki Pūrehuroa.

Te ara mātauranga
Ka whakarewa e
Te māramatanga ka kitea e
Kimihia, rangahaua kia whita e.
Te Kunenga ki Pūrehuroa!

The English explanation is as follows:

Hear the call, the message
To uplift the diverse human nature
Learn and aspire to reach the pinnacle.
This is the message from Massey University.

The pathways to learning
Can be inspirational
And deeper understanding can enlighten
Therefore, seek out and grasp knowledge
This is the message from our University!

Staff are being encouraged to join in singing the waiata and a recording can be accessed here.

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