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Te Ahukaramū Charles Royal

Composer, Arranger, Performer, Māori Composer


Ngāti Whanaunga, Ngāti Tamaterā, Ngāti Raukawa, Ngāpuhi

Dr Charles Royal (Te Ahukaramū) is an independent composer, teacher, researcher and cultural leader. He is deeply committed to the development of a new tangata whenuatanga (indigenous communities and life ways) particularly as this may be achieved through music, performing arts, education and research. Charles is the leader of the modern whare tapere - community based 'houses' of storytelling, dance, games, music and other entertainments – and he is the Artistic Director of Ōrotokare: Art, Story, Motion Trust which convenes whare tapere in Hauraki.

Previously, Charles was a Director at Te Papa Tongarewa Museum of New Zealand (2016-19), Professor of Indigenous Development, and Director of Ngā Pae o te Māramatanga, at the University of Auckland (2009-2014) and Director of Graduate Studies and Research at Te Wānanga-o-Raukawa, Ōtaki (1994-2002). Charles has received numerous awards for his ground-breaking work in mātauranga Māori and indigenous knowledge. He has been a Fulbright Scholar (2001), a Winston Churchill Fellow (2001) and a Resident at the Rockefeller Study and Conference Centre, Bellagio, Italy (2004). From 2011 to 2014, Charles was a Visiting Fellow at the University of London (programme entitled ‘Indigeneity in the Contemporary World: Performance, Politics, Belonging’ lead by Prof Helen Gilbert).

Charles has published a number of books and monographs - all on aspects of mātauranga Māori and iwi histories and traditions – the most recent being The Springs of Rangiātea, an easy-to-use introduction to mātauranga Māori. Charles is a graduate of the Victoria University of Wellington School of Music having completed studies in music composition under David Farquhar, Jack Body and Ross Harris in 1986. He also completed a doctorate in theatre and film studies from Victoria University, under Phil Mann, in 1998.

Composed (24)

Baxter Songs

A setting of three poems by James K Baxter for baritone and piano., 9m 50s

Dance (from 'Four Scenes')

for piano, strings and percussion

E kore e mutu

for SATB choir, te reo Māori

E noho ana au i te koko o tōku whare

Te Reo Māori, mōteatea

E taku manu

Te Reo Māori, haka pōwhiri

He Timatanga

for electronics

I haere nei koe

Te Reo Māori

Koa (Joy)

Te Reo Māori, Pop, Funk, 3m 31s

Let time be still

Pop, English


Te Reo Māori for chanting voice, taonga pūoro and orchestra


for baritone, saxophone and piano


Te Reo Māori


for violin and piano, 4m

Te Arikinui

for tenor, reo Māori, strings and percussion, 9m

Te Kairuirui

Te Reo Māori

Te Kārohirohi: The Light Dances

for taonga pūoro and voice

Te Take o te rākau

Te Reo Māori

Tekau mā rua rangi

Te Reo Māori, taonga puoro

Tohu: Mauriora

Te Reo Māori, contemporary

Tohu: Whakawhiti

Te Reo Māori, contemporary

Whakatau mai

Te Reo Māori


Te Reo Māori, for cello, chanting voice and orchestra


Te Reo Māori, mōteatea