Gisborne’s Turanga FM’s whānau were over the moon when they won the coveted Station of the Year tohu at the 2016 Māori Radio Awards in Rotorua.
But it was their whaunaunga, Tatana and Tame Tuari, Raniera Samuels, Te Irirangi Maxwell and Kawai Joe, who bought the house down on with their live rendition of ‘Whakatō Te Kākano’, the winning waiata in the E Tū Whānau Song competition.
The crowd went wild, many commenting on the skill involved in rapping in te reo.
The Gisborne based group of young tāne grew up together and they’re passionate about both te reo and music.
“We live and breathe it”
“We live and breathe it” says Tatana Tuari who along with his brother Tame are kapa haka tutors for Lytton High School and have grown up immersed in te aō māori.
They say that their winning song was ready made because the kaupapa – love of Māori language, culture, and the rich history of their whakapapa and tīpuna came straight through it.
The tāne, who have been friends since school wanted to perform in a style of music that interests youth, a sentiment shared by the competitions second place winners, Te Rina Flavell-Kahle and Fairy-Allen Rikihana.
‘Moving Forward’ song
The two Whangaroa College students entertained the crowd with a live performance of ‘Moving Forward’, a song they wrote and recorded in just one day with the support of their teacher, Maruia Jensen.
Maruia says the girls wanted to highlight unacceptable levels of domestic violence.
“We were going to enter their TPPA song but Te Rina had written a song about domestic violence which better suited the competitions’ kaupapa. So we threw in Fairy’s rap from the TPPA song, practiced the new arrangement a couple of times then recorded it during my te reo Māori class.”
Joint third place winners, Nikora Maxwell-Mariu, from Dunedin, and Pianika Duncan from Hamilton also attended the Iwi Radio Awards event, although they didn’t perform.
‘Bring Mana to Your Name’
Pianika, whose waiata ‘Bring Mana to Your Name’ also received the most votes from members of the public, wouldn’t have been able to perform anyway. Heavily pregnant with her second child, Pianika hands were too swollen to play the guitar but that didn’t stop her taking to the podium to receive accolades for gaining so much public acclaim.
Pianika, who runs her own music school in Ngaruawhia, said taking part in the competition and attending the iwi Radio Awards has been inspirational.
“It’s made me want to enrol my 3-year-old daughter in kohanga and I want my next girl to go to kura to learn the language.”
Nikora’s waiata also targeted domestic violence with an emphasis on societal conditions around it. Nikora is currently studying for a teaching diploma at Te Wānanga o Aotearoa and a degree in Māori sociology.