Māori DJ ranked amongst the world's best

By Wena Harawira

DJ Spell is a Māori disc jockey that's ranked among the world's best in this field. And he's using Māori words on social media in a humorous and informative way to benefit his followers.

DJ Spell is well-known. Last year he placed highly in an international competition held in the UK, the DMC World DJ Championships. 

“I got to represent New Zealand at the DMC World Finals and I didn't think I was going to come anywhere in the competition I thought I was going to come last. Next minute, I came second."

He didn't place at this year's competition but is still among the top 5 DJs in the world. DJ Spell is also known as Haden Gilgen, he's Ngāti Porou, 29 years old, married and lives in Kapiti.

“I tried a bunch of different things when I was young. Music and DJing was something I was good at and came naturally I think.”

Being a DJ is his major occupation but he also films videos about Māori words on social media.

“More people know me for the kupu hōu. People stop me in the street for kupu hōu. They don't stop me in the street and say, 'Hey, you're DJ Spell.' They say, 'You're that kupu hōu guy.' All these scenarios are things that have happened to me in my life or things that have happened to other people.”

Despite his fame, he's still chasing fortune.

“Am I able to make a living? I am but it's very little, very little. For the future, I'm just going to keep working on these kupu hōu videos. There may be a cartoon in the works and keep pushing my DJ-ing.”