Maimoa dedicates Best Māori Artist award to kohanga reo and kura kaupapa

By Jessica Tyson

Maimoa Music is the winner of Te Māngai Pāho Te Kaipuoro Māori Toa, Best Māori Artist of the year.

In an acceptance speech at the Aotearoa Music Awards last night, Maimoa artist Pere Wihongi dedicated the group's taonga to the kohanga reo movement, which all members of the group went to.

“We really wanted to showcase the possibilities," Wihongi says.

“I think that is about really giving examples to our current rangatahi, to our current tauira who are in kohanga reo, who are in kura kaupapa Māori as well so that they can see what is possible and that  tauira from kura kaupapa can grow up and win Best Māori Artist of the year.”

Wihongi says the group was surprised to receive the award after going up against the other finalists, Stan Walker and Ria Hall.

“We were getting ready to do the haka tautoko for Stan. It was the last thing we were expecting.”

Wihongi says it was amazing just to be on the same podium as Walker and Hall and flattering to even be nominated.

“We’ve seen the amazing work both he and Ria have done over this past year and we’re huge fans of that mahi too. We’re singing away the songs and we’re joining in and every time we see him we’re in absolute awe, and so we weren’t prepared.”

The award celebrates the rise of te reo Māori and Maimoa is a collective of young Māori artists producing waiata māori. 

Wihongi says having te reo Māori in the mainstream music industry is important because it’s “our motuhaketanga, it’s what makes us unique”.

“When we look at the international music industry we see different genres. We see different cultures and ethnicities. I think, with the Māori language, it’s not only bringing a language to the industry but you're bringing in a whole tradition, you’re bringing an action, and you’re bringing in history behind every single Māori word that is being sung.”

Wihongi says the group is working on new music and will feature in Six60’s upcoming tour over the summer period.


Images Copyright Stijl Ltd, Aotearoa Music Awards