Singer/songwriter Stan Walker will release his first album in te reo Māori during Māori Language Week.
The 12-track-album, named Te Arohanui, is a celebration of the past, present and future. It is a melting pot of Walker’s greatest hits, such as the triple platinum-selling single, Take It Easy, reimagined in reo Rangatira as Tau Te Mārire, and soon-to-be-shared, new waiata such as the title track written by Stan’s cousin, Te Taepa Kameta.
Walker says it was inevitable that he would release a reo Māori album.
“It wasn’t a matter of if but when. Now is the perfect time. The first waiata I remember singing were Whakaaria Mai and Ma Te Mārie. Our reo, our waiata, our hīmene are a huge part of my whakapapa and upbringing. Being Māori, nō Ngai Te Rangi, Ngāti Pūkenga, Tūhoe, Ngāti Porou, Tūhourangi, Ngāti Wāhiao, Ngāti Pikiao, Ngai Tahu, it is in my DNA, it is in my blood.”
The album has been named in honour of his family matriarch, Te Arohanui McLeod (nee Nepia), affectionately known as Nanny Taini.
“I credit my voice and all that it holds to all those who have come before me," he says. "My tupuna fought and died so that I, we could be all that we should be. Their dreams have been bought to life in this album. I am their legacy. This is a dedication of aroha to them.
Walker says to sing in te reo māori and release music in his native tongue is healing, uplifting and empowering.
"Our reo brings life to the world. It brings life to me. It’s an honour to have been gifted this taonga. Now I gift this taonga to the world.”
Walker recently had to postpone his All In music tour because of the Covid-19 lockdown but is still feeling positive about the album release.
“This is really big for me. It's a really exciting time considering we’re in lockdown and everything like that. I can't tour, still yet to find out when the dates are for when the tour is going to be on next but I'm excited that I can have new music out and that ill be able to perform these new songs.”
Te Arohanui will be released on Friday, September 17.