Some of Aotearoa's biggest artists are set to have their songs re-released in Te Reo Māori to celebrate this year's Māori Language Week.
Bic Runga, SIX60, Stan Walker, BENEE and Shapeshifter are just some of the names set to release their tracks in Te Reo, as part of the WAIATA / ANTHEMS album, to be released on September 6.
The album is set to coincide with the 20-year anniversary of Hinewehi Mohi first performing the New Zealand National Anthem in Te Reo Māori at an All Blacks game. In 1999, singer and songwriter Hinewehi Mohi stood in front of 70,000 people at a sold-out Rugby World Cup quarter-final in Twickenham and sang the words: "E Ihowā Atua…" All she had wanted to do when she chose to sing the national anthem in Te Reo Māori instead of English was share her language with the world.
"20 years on we’re in a much better position because many, many hundreds of people have made a contribution to that shift in people’s thinking. Now we have queues of people trying to get into Māori language classes," said Mohi.
The result – 11 of New Zealand’s best-loved artists performing their hit songs in Te Reo Māori, as well as an acknowledgement of the events 20 years ago through a vibrant rendition of our National Anthem Aotearoa / God Defend New Zealand by the renowned Hātea Kapa Haka.
"It was initially meant to be a bilingual album, but the artists said to me 'I want to do it all in Māori'. Only one is a fluent speaker, so for most of them, this was their first real opportunity to sing in Māori. The artists have been brave and inspirational through the recording process which has ultimately been extremely challenging for the majority of them having little or no Māori language skills,” said Mohi. "It is testimony to how important they each view Te Reo Māori as the cornerstone of our culture. This music will help us all to feel like we can participate and celebrate in the uniqueness of our national identity."
"These tracks are well known to people, so they can connect the English words they know to the Māori translation and feel like they’re accessing Te Reo Māori through something familiar."
TRACKLIST OF WAIATA / ANTHEMS:
Hātea Kapa Haka - Aotearoa / God Defend New Zealand
Six60 - Kia Mau Ki Tō Ūkaipō / Don’t Forget Your Roots
Stan Walker - Tēnā Rā Koe / Thank You
BENEE - Kua Kore He Kupu / Soaked
Drax Project - I Moeroa / Woke Up Late
Shapeshifter - Ngā Kano / In Colour
Kings - Kei Aro Atu Koe / Don’t Worry Bout’ It
Tiki Taane - Kei Tōku Ngākau Nei Koe / Always On My Mind
Sons of Zion - Pōtere Ana / Drift Away
Bic Runga - Haere Mai Rā / Sway
TEEKS - E Kore Rawa E Wehe / Never Be Apart
Tami Neilson - Roimata / Cry Myself To Sleep