Top Māori musicians unite to celebrate te reo

By Jessica Tyson
Singers performing at Tira. Source: Auckland Arts Festival, Facebook

Some of New Zealand's top Māori singers, including Stan Walker, Ria Hall, Troy Kingi and Maisey Rika, are set to open the Auckland Arts Festival with Tira, a free event this week at Aotea Square.

To celebrate te reo Māori, the Auckland Arts Festival has a number of creative projects planned, starting with Tira on Thursday evening.

During the performance, Rika will sing Whakaaria Mai (How Great Thou Art)  accompanied by Kingi.  A choir will also join Hall to sing a te reo Māori version of Leonard Cohen’s Hallelujah – Hareruia.

Tōku reo waiata

On March 16 Aucklanders are invited to join more of New Zealand's finest singers perform at Tōku Reo Waiata.

The line-up includes Stan Walker, Annie Crummer, Hinewehi Mohi, Moana Maniapoto, Maisey Rika, Rob Ruha, Tami Neilson, Maimoa and Seth Haapu.


Auckland Arts Festival Artistic Director, Jonathan Bielski says the Whānui programme is also back for a third year with a series of creative projects.

“Whānui will connect the whenua through te reo Māori, offering Aucklanders a deeper understanding of the land on which we stand,” he says.

The first Whānui project is Ngā Herenga Waka, the live carving of a majestic pou at Waikowhai Intermediate School symbolising 120 different ethnicities in the Mount Roskill area.

A locally-devised theatre work He Mokopuna He Tūpuna will be on March 23 when elders and tamariki of Waitākere will come together to share kōrero from the area through song and storytelling.

Filmmakers Kayne Ngatokowhā Peters and Julie Zhu will facilitate Project Pepeha, celebrating inter-generational ties within the Chinese and Sāmoan communities.

Participants involved will get to learn and share their pepeha and short films will be presented as part of the project.