Lorde releases te reo Māori EP with support of reo champions

By Jessica Tyson

Pop star Lorde has released a five-track EP featuring waiata from her newest album Solar Power, all sung in te reo Māori.

The EP, named Te Ao Mārama, has been released ahead of Te Wiki o Te Reo Māori, Māori Language Week.

Ella Yelich-O’Connor, the singer known as Lorde, had support from te reo champions including legendary singer Dame Hinewehi Mohi and leading language expert Sir Tīmoti Kāretu in creating the album.

Hana Mereraiha and Hēmi Kelly helped translate three of the five tracks on the EP and helped coach Lorde on her pronunciation.

Lorde says although she's not Māori, she realised how intertwined Solar Power was with many traditional Māori views.

"There’s a word for it in te reo: kaitiakitanga, meaning ‘guardianship or caregiving for the sky, sea and land’. I’m not Māori, but all New Zealanders grow up with elements of this worldview. Te ao Māori and tikanga Māori are a big part of why people who aren’t from here intuit our country to be kind of ‘magical’, I think," she said.

"I know I’m someone who represents New Zealand globally in a way, and in making an album about where I’m from, it was important to me to be able to say: this makes us who we are down here. It’s also just a crazy beautiful language — I loved singing in it."

The collection features reworked versions of The Path into Te Ara Tika; Solar Power into Te Ao MāramaStoned At The Nail Salon into Mata Kohore; Fallen Fruit into Hua Pirau; and Oceanic Feeling into Hine-i-te-Awatea.