Tomorrow People release waiata to raise awareness for military personnel who suffer from PTSD

By Jessica Tyson

New Zealand band Tomorrow People have released a waiata to acknowledge and raise awareness for Māori military personnel who suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

The waiata Ōku Rā is their song in te reo Māori and it talks about a healthy relationship breaking down after someone returns from military service, band member Avina Kelekolio says.

Released yesterday on Anzac Day, the extended music video portrays the journey of a soldier who suffers from PTSD and rejects his partner's support but eventually finds solace at the beach where they first met.

“We released the video yesterday and the reception behind it has been awesome. We’ve had family that were in the military and come back to us and say thank you for helping to spread the message and shining a light on the kaupapa,” Kelekolio says.

Tomorrow People are a seven-piece band, made up of Kenape Saupese, Te Aranga Savage, Snow Chase, Avina Kelekolio, Duane Te Whetu, Hennie Tui and Tana Tupai.

Kelekolio says, “We have family and friends who have served in the military before and we also have our female vocalist Te Aranga Savage who currently serves in the Navy .”

After teaming up with Wellington-based film director Brandon Te Moananui, they discovered that nearly 80 percent of Māori soldiers had experienced symptoms of PTSD, with only 10 percent seeking support for mental health issues. For the most part, the majority struggled to integrate back into society affecting their employment opportunities and personal relationships.

Te Moananui says, “When I first heard the track and read the lyrics, it gave me the inspiration to explore and use this opportunity to bring awareness to a very important topic. It’s a reminder as we celebrate Anzac Day, that more support is needed for the large number of New Zealanders who are serving, or have served in the military but now suffer from PTSD.”

Tomorrow People has a string of gold and platinum hits to their name, including Souljah Feeling, Feel Alright and Take It Away.