Thirty five years ago to the month Sir Dave Dobbyn released Slice of Heaven, which ended up being one of New Zealand‘s most loved and enduring songs.
Now, to celebrate the anniversary and Māori Language Week, he has released a te reo Māori version of the waiata Hine Ruhi.
Dobbyn says he decided to create the waiata because he’s noticed a demand for music in te reo.
“I enjoy doing it and for me, it's baby steps into the language into te reo Māori," he says.
“It’s like learning an instrument. It’s an embouchure. It’s a way of getting your face used to making these sounds. More than that though, it’s a romance of the language.”
Dobbyn is hoping tamariki especially get involved in singing along to the waiata.
“I can see school children working on their poi moves to this version. I’m inviting people to join me in learning the Māori lyrics and sing their own Hine Ruhi -Slice of Heaven. I’m hoping to be inundated with videos/ Tik Toks from kids to choirs to kapa haka. So give it your best shot and post your performances.”
Hine Ruhi was translated by language expert Hana Mereraiha.
“The translation is wonderful. Hana Mereraiha worked skilfully on the imagery and the vocal rhythm. It was a delight working with her,” says Dobbyn.
Dobbyn’s first reo Māori recording was in 2017 with Nau Mai Rā - Welcome Home and has had close to one million streams.
“I got into [learning te reo] completely naively and I think that’s a good way to go because it probably helps people to step into it and not worry about it and not feel squirmy or embarrassed about it, which is often the case especially for older people who find it hard to learn a language.
The release of Hine Ruhi includes a lyric video here available here.