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In Rotonui, all songs have a single lead and at least one follower. The song is divided between the two roles, creating a more dynamic sound, allowing songs to be arguments, conversations, or inspiring speeches. Often, a leader within songs is a leader without; singing is often reserved for formal, religious, or military occasions in Rotonui. This is why many leaders aspire to train or nurture a strong voice, since a song is often judged on its strength and conviction. To this end, many songs also incorporate the role of the drummer. This role may, but more often does not, employ actual drums, and may be fulfilled by dedicated members, or by followers. The role involves loud rhythmic noise, thought to strengthen a song. Stomping of feet, slapping of the thighs or chest, and loud, wordless yells are all common methods employed by drummers.

In this article, the lead is denoted by unformatted text, while the follower is denoted by italics. The drummer tends to stay consistent throughout entire songs or at least through parts of songs, and the actions are simply described when appropriate, in parentheses.

He Whawhai Waiata (Song of Battle) Edit

(The drummer alternates between two beats. The first is traditionally made by striking patu against long handled weapons like taiaha, but slapping of the chest or thighs is a common substitute. The second is stomping of the feet. One beat occurs roughly every second)

Mo tatou whenua! (For our lands)

Tahe tatau! (We bleed)

Mo to tatou mana! (For our honour)

Tahe tatou! (We bleed)

Mo nga ora me nga tau'atāina o to tatou mau tamarii! (For the lives and the freedoms of our children)

Tahe tatou! (We bleed)

E tu roroa, e toku toa! (Stand tall, my warriors)

Ka kawea mai e matou o matou upoko ki te rangi! (We will bring our heads to heaven)

E tu roroa! No te tu koutou mo te katoa o Rotonui! (Stand tall! For you stand for all of Rotonui)

E mau tatou i taua taimaha ki te whakapehapeha! (We bear such weight with pride)

Mataara Tūmatauenga! Whawhai kaha a ki te mutunga! (Tumatauenga watches! Fight fiercely and to the end!)

(The drummer yells)

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