Sounds of the Māori Language

Marking Māori Language Week at the Library, Ngāti Kahungunu singer Toni Huata has released her sixth music video. The video features as part of a Māori Language installation located on the ground floor of the Library (Te Ahumairangi).

The installation is located between the café and the Network area for high visibility, and highlights the diversity of the library’s collections. “I’m so happy people will be able to view the video at the National Library. I love the energy of environment there, the open spaces that allow people to talk, share and enjoy. I personally know and respect the other two featured artists, Ariana Tikao, and Maisey Rika, we are united in our love for language and culture”.

Toni Huata standing with her video installation on the Library's ground floor space, Te Ahumairangi.Toni Huata with her video installation on the Library's ground floor space, Te Ahumairangi.

Huata’s video features well known Māori elder Dr. Rangimarie Turuki Rose Pēre. A relative of Huata’s late grandfather, Te Okanga (Aussie) Huata. Pere was made Young Māori Woman of the Year in 1971, and for the past 40 years has been involved in spiritual healing, education, community development and language revitalisation. Huata says, “On the day of the shoot Koka Rose was amazing driving from Waikaremoana to Napier through that storm. Luckily by the time her plane landed in Wellington she was greeted by an adoring cast and crew and blue skies and warm sunny weather."

Hopukia te tao has a contemporary ‘haka meets aria’ feel. The track saw Huata team up with internationally acclaimed Wellington percussionist and composer Gareth Farr, and producer Paddy Free.

“We all know that Māori language is a part of who we are and not limited to a week but I am humbled by the generosity of the library, and the time and spirit given by everyone involved with making the video, especially Koka Rose who embodies everything I had in mind when I wrote this waiata with Gareth - the story is about family, women, connections, choices and journey”.

Huata, a self-confessed book worm says “What impresses me most about the library, and particularly the ground floor, is that people can connect with the collections in a variety of ways. I am interested in the idea of reading images. My latest video has a great narrative which is balanced by the sounds of the Māori Language”.

The installation also features works from two other performers; Maisey Rika and Ariana Tikao. Maisey was born in Wellington and is of Ngati Awa, Te Arawa, Tuhoe descent. Ariana is of Ngāi Tāhū descent and is currently employed as Research Librarian, Māori for the National Library.

Besides being a successful performer, recording artist and vocal coach, Toni has spent the last month appearing in numerous festival concerts around the country celebrating Matariki – the Pacific New Year. The track Hopukia te tao features on Toni’s award winning fourth studio album Hopukia and the video, funded by NZ on Air and Porirua City Council was filmed in late June, 2015, in and around Porirua.

By Elton Fraser

Elton Fraser, a learning facilitator, has worked for the Public Programmes team part-time since the library’s redevelopment in 2012. With a background in theatre and event management Elton is also passionate about research and explaining how fun and easy it is to access the library’s collections.

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Anna Tiaki July 27th at 1:49PM

Kia ora Elton, a beautifully written piece. I've watched all three videos and I'm mesmerized by the sounds of these beautiful and talented wahine. Excellent work on providing this in the National Library. I hope there will be many more opportunities to highlight Maori Language.