I Love You Because
My mother used to sing this to my stepdad and we'd all join in. We'd be at the table after a meal, and my brother would go and get the guitar. Then Mum would take it off him and sing. When she died in 1989, my stepdad followed her six months later. If ever I saw a man die of a broken heart, it was him.
I'd visit an uncle of mine and as I went up the driveway, he'd be sitting on his veranda and the first thing you'd hear was the saxophone. It was just magic. [That generation] has all left us now, so listening to Boots Randolph is living their memory.
Blues Stay Away from Me
This was only played after a tangi, when all the cooks would get together in the kitchen after they'd fed everyone and done the big clean-up. They'd open a bottle of Lion Red and sit around gasbagging, remembering the person whose tangi it was and telling stories about them.
Elvis Presley was drop-dead gorgeous. Absolute eye lolly. And those bloody hips of his, of course. He was a heart-throb to everybody — even my children liked him. A few years ago I was on a trip to Hawaii and went to where Blue Hawaii was filmed. Elvis Presley came right back in front of me and I relived my teenage years all over again.
I love Herbs, they've always been right out there. [Leader] Dilworth Karaka and my brother were joined at the hip, they were such close friends. David — people called him Deano — was a Harley-Davidson nut, although it got to the stage where he'd rather build them than ride them. Herbs came up north and sang for his 50th birthday. And when he died, Dilworth came to the tangi and sat for an hour, singing to my brother.
Patea Māori Club
When I was working as a toll operator in Auckland on Airedale St, there was a place we could go and relax on a Friday afternoon. Poi E was one of the songs we'd sing, because one of our girls came from that exact part of Taranaki. We'd sit and look down on Queen St to see who or what was going on. There was always something happening.
In 1984, when the whole "kia ora" incident hit the headlines, the composer Carl Doy had just finished writing a piece of music and he called it Kia Ora, in support. It was released on a 45" record, and I've got a photo of me with him. Craccum [the Auckland University student magazine] changed its name to Kia Ora for a week, airline pilots began saying "kia ora" at the start of their flights and schools wrote in from all over the country. That's why I say I fought the battle but it was the country that won the war.
* As told to Joanna Wane.
A mother of six, Naida Glavish (Ngāti Whātua) was working for the Post Office as a toll operator in 1984 when she was threatened with dismissal for greeting callers with "kia ora". You can listen to her story — on an old dial phone — at Tāmaki Herenga Waka: Stories of Auckland, a new interactive gallery at Auckland Museum.
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A former president of the Māori Party, Dame Naida is currently involved in an on-site protest against plans to build a national Erebus memorial in the Parnell Rose Gardens, due to its "inappropriate" placement near the old Mataharehare Pā site and what is believed to be one of the city's oldest pōhutukawa trees (pictured above).