Maori music month aims to lift people’s spirits

From left: Maori singers Majic Paora, Maisey Rika, Rob Ruha, Troy Kingi and Tyna Keelan perform together at the 8th annual National Waiata Maori Music. Image: Waiata Maori Music Awards.

It is time to celebrate Maori artists over the coming month to help lift the wairua of indigenous music artists all over the world.

Saturday, August 1 marked the start of the fifth annual Te Marama Puoro Waiata Maori – (Maori Music Month), designed to nurture, grow and inspire up and coming performers and established artists alike.

There are a range of events planned for the month which starts with officially opening nominations for the 13th annual National Waiata Maori Music Awards.

The awards executive director Ellison Huata says everyone around the world is feeling the impact of the international pandemic and Maori music will be a good way to lift the spirits of people no matter where they are in the world.

"I think our Maori artists in particular have been doing it tough this year and it’s great that we’re going to be able to have these two events to celebrate our singers, songwriters and performers.

"It’ll give people something positive to focus on over the next couple of months, a chance to reset and refocus, a reprieve from the challenges of the past three or four months."

Ellison says this year’s Te Marama Puoro Waiata Maori will keep to its original kaupapa, putting a focus on celebrating emerging and established performers, growing their musical talents.

"One of the events we have planned is a singing competition where people can create their own compositions which they can submit to us, and the work can be judged by a panel of artists.

"We will bring the top 10 finalists to the Waiata Maori Music Awards to meet those working in the industry, at the Waiata Maori Music Conference which is on the 1st of October."

At the conference, established artists and music producers will be able to give the competition finalists some advice and guidance.

"We hope in the end, they’ll want to take a more serious look at a career in music, song writing or performance, so we can continue to grow the next generation of talented Maori artists."

There will be two categories for the singing competition, Rangatahi, for those under 25 years old, and Pakeke, for those over 25.

There will also be a Whanau TikTok Challenge for Maori Music Month.

"The challenge is for whanau to perform or dance to a waiata recorded by one of our many Maori artists."

Ellison says with TikTok’s popularity among young people around the world, it will be a good avenue to promote Maori music to an international audience.

"We have a chance to share our music world-wide through TikTok, show who our Maori performers are and how much talent we have in New Zealand.

"It’s also definitely a way to give thanks to all those that shared their musical talent during the lockdown period, they really uplifted people by sharing their gifts.

"The TikTok Whanau challenge winners get to come along and celebrate with Maori music industry at the 13th National Waiata Maori Music Awards too."

The National Waiata Maori Music Awards celebrates music released in the 12 months to June 2020 and nominations are now open.

For more information visit the website.

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