Kaikohe kids go viral with te reo Hallelujah

By Peter de Graaf

A video of Kaikohe schoolchildren singing a te reo version of the Leonard Cohen classic Hallelujah for Prime Minister John Key has gone viral.

The video clip, on the Advocate's Facebook page, had been viewed 71,936 times as of 5pm on Friday, June 28. It had been shared 566 times and attracted 805 ''likes'' as well as 173 comments from as far away as the USA and UK.

The Kaikohe Intermediate pupils had been invited to sing at a Kaikohe Business Association meeting with Mr Key and Northland MP Mike Sabin, organised by councillor Sally Macauley. It was held at Te Runanga-a-iwi o Ngapuhi's offices on June 20 with the video posted that evening.

Kaikohe Intermediate principal Joey Rogers, who accompanied the singers on guitar, arranged the song herself and is constantly tweaking it to keep whanau on their toes.

The Maori lyrics to Hareruia were penned by Ms Rogers' nephew, Rev Te Hira Paenga, who is of Ngati Porou and Ngapuhi descent. Mr Paenga, now the assistant principal and head of Maori at Hato Petera College, was teaching at Auckland Girls' Grammar at the time.

Kaikohe Intermediate is the current Tai Tokerau primary and intermediate schools' kapa haka champion and will travel to Tauranga Moana in November to compete in the nationals.

Hallelujah was originally released by Canadian singer/songwriter Leonard Cohen in 1984. It went virtually unnoticed until it was covered by John Cale, whose version was used in the movie Shrek, and later by Jeff Buckley.

The clip is the second most popular post on the Advocate's Facebook page so far, beaten only by a post last year about Waipapa jam-maker Gloria Crawford and her victory over bureaucracy. That post attracted more than 130,000 views and 13,500 likes worldwide.

Comments on the Hareruia clip included:

Peter Grattan: The NZ Embassy here in Washington DC should bring them over...

Carol Dodd: They were beautiful to see and beautiful to hear, and so young, what talent - proud to have been there - they were the highlight of the day.

Edith Gal Edmonds-Kire: Tino ataahua!!! [very beautiful] These tamariki [children] make me tangi [cry] with pride...

Jason Valentine-Burt (a former principal): Fantastic to see this performance by these wonderful children being shared around the world. Great to see so many people so proud of them.

Hilda Shaw: Being a long time fan of Leonard I am very impressed, it touches my heart. I am sure Leonard would approve.

Check out the original Facebook post here:


- Northern Advocate

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