Te Wānanga o Aotearoa looks forward to celebrating Te Marama Waiata Pūoro Māori – Māori Music Month by highlighting its own album, Songs of Rangahau.
The 11-track compilation, released earlier in the year, features original works written, arranged and performed by our own talented kaimahi, including Kaihāpai Rangahau, Sophronia Smith.
Sophronia says Songs of Rangahau was intentionally produced to acknowledge music as an important aspect of Māori enquiry, to share stories, struggles and realities with emotion and creativity intrinsic to the connection we have with our tupuna.
"Our compositions are key to the preservation of te reo Māori, knowledge transmission, and political commentary, among others things. In alignment with this worldview, composition is about our identity as Māori people."
For example, the waiata Ōku Tapairu, which was written by John Tiakitai-Turi and arranged by Sophronia, highlights prominent Kahungunu leaders Hine-i-paketia, Airini Te Nahu and Māku-i-te-rangi.
Sophronia says the waiata gives importance to the centrality of women and is part of the decolonising agenda.
"This is achieved through the rejuvenation, rediscovery, and remembrance of knowledge as part of the greater socio-political discourse regarding the representation of Māori and Indigenous women by the west," she says.
"Composition, therefore, is part of the assertion of Tino Rangatiratanga and provides us with tools and mediums to express who we are in aligning with Māori epistemological view, principles and values."
So as well as being easy on the ears, Songs of Rangahau upholds the mana to further develop Māori and indigenous identities and communities and during August, Songs of Rangahau will be available to listen to and download on Iwi Radio, Social Media, iTunes and Spotify.
Te Marama Waiata Pūoro Māori – Māori Music Month was established by National Waiata Māori Music Awards director Ellison Huata, to bridge the gap between May's NZ Music Month and the award's event ceremony held every year in September.