Māori people, the tangata whenua (indigenous people) of New Zealand and their culture are an integral part of New Zealand's identity. Today one in seven New Zealanders identify as Māori and their traditions influence everything from cuisine to customs and language. Waiata is the Māori word for song and, as you'll hear on our playlist, comes in many forms and genres. Traditionally waiata are sung during pōwhiri and other formal ceremonies, as well as to acknowledge events, express emotion and tell stories. Today after more than 1000 years of tradition, waiata continues to be a highly celebrated art form.
The highlight event of Māori Music Month is the National Waiata Māori Music Awards which seek to develop, honour and encourage the achievements of both traditional and contemporary Māori artists. This month Qobuz has teamed up with our friends at DRM New Zealand, who consistently represent and support Māori artists, to bring awareness to Māori culture.
Discover the beauty of Waiata with our special playlist, featuring this year's Māori Music Award finalists, as well as other standout Māori artists, accompanied by reflections by Danya Yang from DRM New Zealand.
TE KAAHU - E Hine Ē
Wahine toa, Theia (Em Walker | Waikato-Tainui, Ngaati Tiipaa) shares the sacred gift of te reo and tikanga Māori through her waiata project TE KAAHU. E Hine Ē follows her debut single, E Taku Huia Kaimanawa, serving as a rooted continuation and celebration of the wāhine rangatira (women of mana) in Walker’s life from past, present and future. The intergenerational bonds that inspire and guide Walker through life, also inspire her artistry in this waiata aroha (love-song), incorporating native strum patterns and collective harmonies familiar from her upbringing. Through exploring pepeha and whakataukī (tribal sayings and proverbs) Walker fruits these beautiful waiata as a tribute to her indigeneity.
Fat Freddy’s Drop - WAIRUNGA
Known as their “green oasis,” WAIRUNGA has been given the mainstream shine with the upcoming Fat Freddy’s Drop (Dallas Tamaira | Ngāti Tūwharetoa; Iain Gordon | Ngāi Tahu, Te Arawa) album. Located deep in Ngāti Kahungunu country, the whenua (land) has gifted the Freddys memories of solace, shenanigans and sanctity for over twenty years. The Freddys whānau (family) extend Wairunga to be part of their kainga (home), honouring the embodied land-people connection, a central concept in te ao Māori. Surrounded by the native trees and bush of Aotearoa, Freddys deliver this live album in the arms of Papatūānuku (Atua o te Whenua | God of the Earth). The accompanying visuals of the album showcase the deep valleys of Wairunga and a snippet of the native wonders of the land. Available August 20th on Qobuz!
Aro - Tuna
Mystical elements of story-telling and taonga puoro (Māori musical instruments) collide in tāne-wahine (husband-wife) duo Aro’s (Charles Looker, Emily Looker | Ngāpuhi, Te Rarawa, Ngāti Te Ata, Te Ati Awa) single, Tuna. Tuna (eel) is based on a beloved pūrākau (myth/legend) which speaks about the shadow and light a great ancestor of eels would hide and surface between. The legend metaphorizes the emotional human experience of flux between wants and needs. The taonga (treasures) of te ao Māori have remained alive through story-telling and song, serving as some of the core mediums tangata whenua have used to remain connected to their tūpuna (ancestors) and mokopuna (grandchildren). As tangata whenua (people of the land), Aro aim to share this sacred knowledge through waiata (song) with taonga puoro (Māori musical instruments) which mimick and revive the sounds and breath of their tupuna and Papatūānuku’s (Atua o te Whenua | God of the Earth) wonders. Available August 20th on Qobuz!