Rob Ruha releases new song, calls for Māori music month

By Tumamao Harawira

Popular musician Rob Ruha has a new bi-lingual single that's also being used to promote fuel company Z. But how is Māori language music being served by New Zealand music month?

The song title is 'That's Where I'll Be' but Ruha says te reo Māori needs its own platform.

"To me, it would be better to have a dedicated month for Māori music."

The song is the latest offering by Ruha, who hails from the East Coast-Te Tairāwhiti, and has long promoted Te Reo Māori and bi-lingual music. Ruha has a number of hit records including 35, Ka Mānu, Taera, all making the NZ Hot Singles Chart, and has tens of millions of plays on Spotify.

Ruha has also worked as the music director for the Māori language version of the Walt Disney Pictures film Moana.

He says his latest song gets its inspiration from his home rohe, and speaks of travelling around the rohe.

"I wrote it during the summer. Taking the kids to Te Kereu river in Te Kaha. They were swimming, I was in the van composing music."

"The Māori words were taken from a karakia from home. It's about traveling on the road, and on the sea."

Aside from just its own music month, Rob and others in the industry are looking into other areas to promote Māori music.

He says it's time for a summer festival.

"We want to hold a festival that is completely in Te Reo Māori. From the MCs to the bands and singers."

Next for Ruha is a trip overseas to Los Angeles to put the finishing touches to the Lion King Reo Māori, which is set to premiere in New Zealand and Australia in June 2022, as part of Matariki, the Māori New Year.