Ngaruawāhia Māmā to release new EP after years of online viral videos

By Mare Haimona-Riki

Pianika Duncan of Ngāti Maniapoto, Ngāti Maru, and Ngāti Whakahemo is a māmā of three children with plans to release her first EP this year. For years now, Duncan has been entertaining the motu with viral videos of popular covers, and even singing with her tamariki - resulting in more than 65,000 followers on Facebook alone. Now she's taking a step further and looking at moving into the professional arena.

Māori Television caught up with the 30-year-old mother of three from her home in Ngaruawāhia.  

How did you get into music and singing initially?

Well, I come from a big family of 6 children, and I sang in church a lot growing up so that's was where it began for me as a child but it wasn't till I went to Church College, that's where I really started getting into singing and then I did a music degree here in Hamilton.

"For your love" cover by Pianika Duncan. 2017. Source / YouTube

You have three daughters now. How did becoming a Māmā affect your music career?

It did make it a bit harder. To find time to do my music and fulfil my responsibilities as a mum but I've been able to gain a following online while being a māmā. So it actually helped me, and they really do inspire my music too.

How do you feel about the online presence you've gained especially in the last couple of years?

It has been amazing, quite unreal really. I already had a bit of a following that I gathered from my own music but then once I sang one song with my children it blew up to what it is now.

This is My Home by Pianika Duncan. Video By Broadcast Arts

You recently made a waiata with IA called Pūmau using only taonga pūoro, what was that like for you?

That was awesome, and a whole experience in itself. I'm currently on my reo journey, so it helped me heaps. I've never sung a song that is predominately Māori – and the instruments being taonga pūoro, I can even explain how it makes me feel.

So do you feel like there will be more waiata Māori from you in the near future?

Absolutely! It's definitely something I wanna explore more as well. There's something I feel when I sing Māori that's different to when I sing in Pākehā so it's definitely something I will do more in the near future.

What are your future aspirations for your career?

My main goal is to bring out an EP this year – Probably like five tracks. That's all I can manage but yeah – Its gonna be my own music so people know what I'm all about.