Tiare and the Young Guns of Taipa win 2020 E Tū Whānau Rangatahi Song Competition

The feelgood song High on Life, by Tiare and the Young Guns of Taipa, recently won the 2020 E Tū Whānau Rangatahi Song Competition.

With uplifting melodies and groovy beats, this waiata overflows with positivity about living your best life, loving yourself and laughing with your whānau and friends.

“Hakuna matata – what a wonderful phrase. 
It’s the way to go, just take it slow,
Spend time with the ones who love you for you.”

Listen to High on Life.

The band consists of lead vocalists Tiare Lanigan and Te Atenga Raui, and Te Waimarino Aniwa Tait (aka Y’yz) on guitar and backing vocals. William Moore plays bass guitar, while Tawhiri Matepaere is on keyboards, and on the drums is Soli Fox.

Although they’ve only been together for about six months, having connected in music lessons at Taiapa Area School, their kaupapa of community and joy is one that we can all celebrate.

“It’s about aroha, manaaki, and tautoko,” says Te Atenga.

Tiare and the Young Guns of Taipa - winners of the 2020 E Tū Whānau Rangatahi Song Competition
Tiare and the Young Guns of Taipa – winners of the 2020 E Tū Whānau Rangatahi Song Competition

Positive change through gratitude and empowerment

Yy’z and Tiare are the lyricists and composers of the band. Their inspiration comes from their own lives and experiences, they say. They choose to write about what they can relate to, and their hopeful lyrics celebrate the support they experience from everyone around them.

“What matters is staying real and living your best life. One way to do this is to be grateful for what we have,” says Tiare.

Indeed, Te Tai Tokerau itself lives large in the lyrics of High on Life. The song also speaks to what is important for all of these rangatahi musicians – getting out there and doing the things they love with their whānau and friends.

Optimism also overflows from their music, and they all agree on the importance of sticking together, of unity instead of opposition, and of being kind to those around us.

They hope that rangatahi who hear their song will take away a message of self-empowerment through gratitude, and a sense that positive change is possible.

“It’s about spending time with family and friends, just being happy and focusing on positives in your life, because we all have them.”

Riding high on their love of music

Even before winning the 2020 E Tū Whānau Rangatahi Song Competition with their first ever entry, music was a big part of the band members’ lives.

“It’s in our blood that music is what we do. It’s our escape from reality to just jam out – all our worries disappear. When we play it’s like the world’s not there, doing what we love.”

It’s no surprise then that the Tiare and the Young Guns of Taipa are cleaning up wherever they perform. Their successes to date include Tiare wining an APRA Lyric Award, and a strong performance from the band in Rock Quest 2020. They have also won a National Te Reo Award, and placed in the Top 10 in SmokeFree Tangata Beats for their music.

Despite such strong achievements, however, Tiare and the Young Guns of Taipa don’t have their heads in the clouds. They are able to celebrate their successes without losing sight of their roots.

“It’s a total buzz to know what we’ve achieved together. We’re just kids from Taipa. It’s cool.”

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