Papa E

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COUNTRY: New Zealand/Tokelau
LANGUAGE: Tokalauan

A song by the awesome Tokalauean band Te Vaka ( According to the lyrics page on the Te Vaka website Opetaia Foa’i, the group’s lead songwriter and vocalist, wrote this song in the persona of his father when his father their native Tokelau to emigrate to a place with more economic possibilities (probably New Zealand, since Tokelau is technically part of New Zealand, but the notes on website don’t say).

In the video for the song, which you’ll see below, there seems to be more happiness in it than longing, though it could come across as a sad song. You can see the character in the video putting on “European” shoes for the first time.

A rough line-by-line translation provided by a commenter on YouTube: “Carry me back to creation of the land, I will not forget the land I’m used to, Can’t forget the land inside of me the spirit of my father the land of my father, oh oh my father/oh father oh oh my father/ in the land of my father, My child I will return back to the way things were, Your laughter is the first to come, The laughter of my father oh in the land of my father.”

[wpspoiler name=”Te Vaka performs Papa E” open=”true” style=”aatw-video”][/wpspoiler]
[wpspoiler name=”Lyrics of All Around This World version” style=”aatw-other” open=”true”]

As I leave my home, the only one I’ve known
Where my fathers lived before me
I watch the islands fade into sea
Ite loto o papa e
Aue ite loto o papa e


Aue aue papa e, aue papa e


I leave my home, the only one I’ve known
With its lagoon and its coconut trees,
For the love of my family


As I leave my home, the only one I’ve known
As my old life slips away, I know
I’ll return to your laughter one day


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