Learn to Play the New Zealand Stick Game – E Papä Waiari

E Papä Waiari is a song and a stick game played in New Zealand.

John Archer, of the site New Zealand Folk Song, wrote me, “Girl Guides and Girl Scouts all over the world learn the Maori stick tossing song ‘E Papa Waiari’.” According to his site, this is a stick game which are called “Tï Räkau”. These games consist of “the rhythmic throwing and catching of sticks from person to person.”

Here are the lyrics to “E Papä Waiari” in Maori, followed by an English translation and two YouTube videos of the game and song…

E Papä Waiari

1. E papä Waiari, taku nei mahi
Taku nei mahi, he tuku roimata


Ë aue, ka mate au; E hine hoki mai rä
Ë aue, ka mate au; E hine hoki mai rä

2. Mäku e kaute öhïkoitanga
Mäku e kaute öhïkoitanga


O Elder Waiari

1. O elder Waiari my habit has been
My habit has been to shed tears

Alas I will die; oh girl, return to me
Alas I will die; oh girl, return to me

2. I will count your footsteps
I will count your footsteps


I like this video because you can clearly hear the lyrics…

This video has slow parts, so you can learn how to play the stick game (though it gets silly at times):

Here are more Maori Stick Games/Dances:


Mama Lisa

This article was posted on Thursday, March 12th, 2009 at 10:59 am and is filed under Children's Songs, Countries & Cultures, E Papa Waiari Stick Game, Games Around the World, Languages, Mama Lisa, Maori, Maori Childrens Songs, Maori Stick Games, New Zealand, New Zealand Children's Songs, Stick Games. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.

4 Responses to “Learn to Play the New Zealand Stick Game – E Papä Waiari”

  1. JOSHUA Says:

    Hi, Great Site.

  2. Maddy Says:

    great videos!

  3. Megan Brinkley Says:

    Great video for my Montessori ‘culture’teaching practice class for 3-6 year olds. Originally from NZ and remember this in Primary, Gisborne. (well sort of- its been 35 years).

  4. Kea Te Rurehe Says:

    I always feel that referring to these as stick games does not give the skill required credibility, as anyone who has used them will appreciate. so here are the correct names for the long ‘stick’ game, Rakau and the short sticks are known as Tititorea. They may well have other names that are used in different areas of the country so be ready for some diversity. Cheers

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