I Saw A Taniwha

Circle Songs

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A classic New Zealand song kids will love to sing and dance along with! Maori Song - I saw a Taniwha.

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I Saw A Taniwha Lyrics

I saw a taniwha,
when swimming in the Waikato.
He whispered sweetly in my taringa,
"Won 't you come along with me?
There 's such a lot to see,
underneath the deep blue sea."

Say: And what did I say?

I said, "Oh no, no, no!
I have to go, go, go,
but may we always be good friends.
My mother is waiting for me,
underneath the kowhai tree.
So taniwha, haere ra!"

Say: Tahi, rua, toru, wha - hi!

I Saw A Taniwha Learning Activities


  • Teacher claps and chants the rhythm patterns of names of native New Zealand trees or trees from your country for children to copy.
    e.g. Kowhai, Pohutukawa, or Rimu, Tawa or Oak, Cedar


  • Perform the actions of the song to an audience. Reflect on the performance - how did you feel about your performance?


  • Translate the Maori words into English.


  • Sing and read along to the YouTube song to achieve multi-sensory learning "Do it, see it and hear it!"

Print out the song PDF

  • Read the song lyrics - ask children a variety of questions.
  • Re-read the song lyrics and ask children to join in.
  • Recognise and use a variety of punctuation when reading. " " ! ? . ,
  • Look at print and conventions (bold, italics).
  • Talk about interesting/challenging words and discuss what they mean.
  • Word study - phonic knowledge, compound words, rhyming word, contractions etc.
Download printable PDF

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