American football team use “E Papa Waiari’ as motivational song

By Moana Makapelu Lee

E Papa Waiari is making a comeback, not as a musical chart topper, but as an American football team's motivational anthem that's going viral on social media. California's Mt San Antonio College football team recently filmed their rendition of the song prior to a football match and it's now grabbing the world's attention.

More than 300,000 people online have seen this team singing one of NZ's most famous songs.

Sateki says this timeless traditional Māori lullaby, which surpasses the age of the boys in the clip, has a spiritual essence which resonates with the team.

“The boys they just sing a lot of hymns from church and so I was just thinking about one song that we could relate to everyone. When they sing the song feel they gain the power that we have when we're on that field.”

E Papa Waiari was an 80s' hit when the band Herbs recreated their own acapella-reggae infused version of the song. This former Kelston Boys student says the song is a reminder of home.

“I miss Auckland man, but singing this song too it's like my people back there, so yeah it does kinda help with that feeling too like, home away from home and with all these guys respecting the song and taking the time to learn it and singing it with a lot of heart it's get to me and I appreciate it a lot.”

The team has adopted the song as a sacred pre-match ritual.