Fanny Howie

From Wind Repertory Project
Fanny Howie


Fanny Rose Howie (11 January 1868, Tokomaru Bay, N.Z. – 20 May 1916, Ōpōtiki , N.Z.), also known by her stage name Princess Te Rangi Pai, was a New Zealand singer and composer.

Of Māori descent, Howie identified with the iwi of Ngāti Porou and Te Whānau-ā-Apanui. The lullaby Hine e Hine is her most famous composition, and she was well known in Britain as a singer of opera and popular music from 1901 to 1905.

Howie and her three sisters attended Mrs Sheppard's Ladies' School in Napier and were given a musical education at home, where their parents occasionally hosted touring musicians such as Pollard's Lilliputian Opera Company. Howie impressed these visitors with her talent and in 1891, at the age of around 23, was encouraged by visiting singer Madame Patey to obtain formal training overseas. On 15 October 1891 she married civil servant John Howie in Christchurch, and they settled in Nelson where Howie became an amateur opera singer.

In 1898, Howie went to Australia to study singing, accompanied by her husband, and toured there the following year with speakers Charles Clark and R.S. Smythe, before returning to New Zealand. By 1900 she had starting using the stage name of Te Rangi Pai (meaning "the beautiful sky", and a shortened form of her mother's name) or sometimes Princess Te Rangi Pai.

In December 1900 she traveled to England where she embarked on concert, oratorio and ballad training with (amongst others) the baritone Charles Santley. In 1901 she gave her debut performance in Liverpool under the stage name "The Princess Te Rangi Pai", and received praise from critics, after which she performed widely at promenade and formal concerts, charity performances and all England's major concert halls.

In 1903 she toured the United Kingdom and sang before the king and queen on several other occasions, and was able to perform a number of Māori songs for British audiences including many of her own compositions, of which the most successful was Hine e Hine.

Howie returned to New Zealand in 1905. In 1906 and 1907 she undertook several popular tours throughout New Zealand, performing to packed concert halls, including a tour with a concert party which included Maggie Papakura. Due to health and financial concerns, in 1908 she retired from performing and moved to Gisborne to live with her husband. Later in life she continued to teach singing and to compose her own original songs.

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