Over the past decade singer and actor Stan Walker has become one of New Zealand’s most-loved figures, respected for his Māoritanga, love for his culture and pride for his people.
At almost 30 years old, he says he’s at the best point in his life and has completed a new book Impossible: My Story to show it.
“I'm about to turn 30, and I feel overwhelmingly blessed to be where I am today. With all the trials and tribulations, I am still thankful. Coming to the end of a very long chapter in my life, I decided that now was the perfect time to write this book and share my story - the full story - for the very first time.”
Stan Walker / Supplied
The book is a personal reflection on Walker’s life growing up in a family where love and violence were entwined. It covers abuse and addiction, hardship, cancer and discrimination.
“It's a story about forgiveness and a journey to redemption. It's a tale of a young Māori boy from Tauranga finding his place and purpose in the world, while never forgetting who he is, where he came from and who he came from.”
Alex Hedley of HarperCollins is proud to be publishing the book.
“Stan’s story is as inspiring as it is confronting, as honest as it is powerful. It will leave readers with a sense that you can overcome and achieve anything if you just believe you can.”
Walker has also just released his new waiata Bigger/Tua in both te reo Māori and English.
The waiata captures Walker's love for his culture, whakapapa, whānau and hopes for future generations.
The lyrics inspire listeners to think bigger. “Listen to your wild dreams, the ones that make you crazy. They’re telling you the right things. Why we gotta think so small? When we can be bigger, bigger than this.”
The music video, co-directed by filmmaker Shae Sterling, is an autobiographical tribute to Walker’s home in Tauranga Moana. The video features sweeping scenes of his marae, Tamapahore and Mangatawa.
“The video clip was an important moment for me to go back to where it all began,” Walker says.
It also features members of his whānau including his nephew.
“My nephew played the younger version of me and I remember dreaming and climbing to the top of my hill and singing to thousands of people and now that’s my reality, so it’s great.”
Te reo Māori journey
Walker has also started developing his te reo Māori by taking classes at a wānanga in Whakatāne.
“It’s been a long time coming. I’ve had the privilege of growing up on the marae and I’ve always had my whānau speak Māori. All my whānau from Ruatoki are all native speakers, so I’m around it all the time.”
But he says he needed to brush up on his skills.
“I needed to get better so that I can be more effective for our people, to our people and the world. I think we’re going in a new kind of season as a country and I think, as a people, we’re on the rise, our reo is on the rise so I need to be a part of it. I have to be taking my own advice. That’s why I came back to Whakatāne, to Tūhoe to learn the reo down here.”
Walker’s book is to be released on October 8 this year and his waiata, Bigger/Tua, is available on all streaming services.