Shapeshifter, Six60, Kings, Tiki Taane and more announce Te Reo Māori album

music news 05/08/2019

Six60, Benee, Shapeshifter, Kings and more come together to celebrate Te Wiki o Te Reo Māori 2019.

WAIATA / ANTHEMS is released to celebrate Māori Language Week / Te Wiki o Te Reo Māori 2019 (Sep 9-15) and to coincide with the 20-year anniversary of Hinewehi Mohi first performing the New Zealand National Anthem in Te Reo Māori at an All Blacks game.

It's been teased for weeks, and now it's officially been announced! 11 of New Zealand’s best loved artists have performed their hit songs in Te Reo Māori, as an acknowledgement of Hinewehi Mohi first performing New Zealand's national anthem in the language at an All Blacks game 20 years ago.

How good!

Kings - one of the artists featured on the album - joined George FM Breakfast to chat about his involvement in the project.

"I'm hugely proud of being Māori' he said. 'I just wear it on my sleeve as opposed to speak it."

"This project, when it came across the table like, 'Yes, whatever it takes. I'm down.'"

Catch a preview of Six60's reo rendition of 'Don't Forget Your Roots' here, and view the full track listing below.

TRACKLISTING OF WAIATA / ANTHEMS:

Hātea Kapa Haka  - Aotearoa / God Defend New Zealand

Six60 - Kia Mau Ki Tō Ūkaipō / Don’t Forget Your Roots

Stan Walker  - Tēnā Rā Koe / Thank You

Benee - Kua Kore He Kupu / Soaked

Drax Project - I Moeroa / Woke Up Late

Shapeshifter - Ngā Kano / In Colour

Kings - Kei Aro Atu Koe / Don’t Worry Bout’ It

Tiki Taane - Kei Tōku Ngākau Nei Koe / Always On My Mind

Sons of Zion - Pōtere Ana / Drift Away

Bic Runga - Haere Mai Rā / Sway

TEEKS - E Kore Rawa E Wehe / Never Be Apart

Tami Neilson - Roimata / Cry Myself To Sleep

From a Universal Music release:

“It was initially meant to be a bilingual album, but the artists said to me ‘I want to do it all in Māori’," Mohi said. "Only one is a fluent speaker, so for most of them this was their first real opportunity to sing in Māori. The artists have been brave and inspirational through the recording process which has ultimately been extremely challenging for the majority of them having little or no Māori language skills,” said Mohi.

“It is testimony to how important they each view Te Reo Māori as the cornerstone of our culture. This music will help us all to feel like we can participate and celebrate in the uniqueness of our national identity.”

Recorded over 10 weeks in 2019, Mohi worked directly with artists in the studio to guide their intonation and understanding of the new Māori lyrics, with translations assisted by Sir Tīmoti Kāretu, one of our greatest living Māori orators and language proponents. Mohi asked Sir Tīmoti because she knew his involvement would elevate the mana of the project and give the artists confidence in the words they were singing.

Bic Runga described the experience as “something I've always wanted to try but I was at a loss to know where to start. Having Hinewehi Mohi guide me through this process so generously has been really wonderful. I had to record the vocal well over 50 times to get it even close to right, but to finally sing in my own native tongue has been a really moving experience.

"The Māori language sings so beautifully, it's warm and percussive, and to have Sway translated by none other than Sir Timoti Karetu has been a huge honour. I've always written love songs, and somehow always felt a part of the tradition of the Māori love song, but without my language. So this is a little homecoming for ‘Sway’ of sorts, it's been a really meaningful project to me.”

Even the original album artwork by rising artist Kauri Hawkins reinforces the message of empowering New Zealanders to learn and speak Te Reo Māori. The design represents the ‘manu’ or songbird and how we can use music to tell our stories and to share Te Reo Māori. The manu figure can also be seen as a face and its reference to our ‘native tongue’.