Song shows passion for Te Ao Māori

The winners of the inaugural E Tū Whānau Song competition for waiata inspiring positive change and reflecting Māori values were announced on 13 June 2016.

‘Whakatō Te Kākano’ performed by Tatana and Tame Tuari, Raniera Samuels and Kawai Joe of Gisborne won the first prize. Composed by Joe, Samuels and Te Irirangi Maxwell, the song expresses the writers’ love and passion for Māori language, culture, and the rich history of their whakapapa and tīpuna. Watch the Te Karere interview with the bros here.

Te Rina Flavell-Kahle and Fairy-Allen Rikihana from Whangaroa College in Kaeo took out the second prize for ‘Moving Forward’.

Two entrants shared third place. They were Nikora Maxwell-Mariu from Dunedin for his song ‘Bring Change’, and Pianika Duncan from Hamilton for ‘Bring Mana to Your Name’. Pianika’s waiata also received the most votes from members of the public.

Two entries were highly commended. They were ‘No Fussin’ or Fighting’ performed by Bailey Cowan, Daena Robb and whānau from the Hutt Valley, and ‘It’s Ok’ by Vanessa Saulo from Auckland.

The E Tū Whānau Song competition was run by the Maori Media Network in conjunction with Māori Radio Stations and E Tū Whānau during NZ Music Month.

Power and strength of whānau

E Tū Whānau is a movement for positive change developed by Māori for Māori. Its spokesperson, Brent Mio says everyone was blown away by the range of entries received from young and old and from individuals as well as whānau groups.

“E Tu Whānau is all about the power and strength of the whānau – te mana kaha o te whānau – and entrants really embraced that kaupapa”

“They based their waiata around the E Tū Whānau values which are, of course, values all Maori relate and aspire to – whakapapa, aroha, tikanga, kōrero awhi, manaaki and whanaungatanga.”

The E Tū Whānau Song Competition saw 62 contestants from around the country upload videos on Facebook of themselves performing original songs. The public then went online to vote for their favourites, with over 30,000 votes collected in total. The 10 videos with the most votes were then judged by Māori music producer Maaka McGregor and singer-songwriters Ngahiwi Apanui and Maisey Rika.

Wealth of talented song writers

Judge Maaka McGregor was heartened by the wealth of knowledgeable and talented songwriters writing so well in both English and te reo.

“They’ve really taken the E Tū Whānau kaupapa and its values on board and are writing heartfelt stories in the first person or about a family member or friend.”

Ngahiwi Apanui is impressed by the number of entries and the quality overall.

“As Chief Executive at the Māori Language Commission, I am encouraged by the number of songs that are using te reo Māori and encourage more budding composers and musos to write music that features te reo Māori. E tū whānau!“

You can listen to and watch the winners as well as all entries here.