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He Reo Tawhito
Season 1, Episode 1: A conversation with Dr Te Ahukaramū Charles Royal

Mōteatea is a centuries-old tradition of chanted song-poetry; a great literary and musical art form that expresses the powerful portrayal of storytelling and is reflective of the emotional depths of a Māori world view. Its vast richness is yet to be fully understood. 

In these eleven episodes, over three series, hosted by Crystal Edwards, we hold conversations with some of the world’s leading experts on mōteatea and ask them: What exactly is mōteatea? How has it changed since colonisation? What issues does it face today?

He Reo Tawhito: Conversations about Mōteatea podcast

Season 1, Episode 1

“I love mōteatea for the way it can communicate a vision of life, a way of thinking and experiencing the world. It is a pathway into a way of thinking and experiencing the world that our tūpuna had, but also the world that we can have right now — the way the world can be with us now.” – Dr Te Ahukaramū Charles Royal

Dr Te Ahukaramū Charles Royal is an independent researcher of indigenous knowledge, and a freelance composer, musician and storyteller. He is a passionate advocate for ‘indigenous creativity’, which he pursues through research and consultancy services as well as through music and storytelling.

In this episode of He Reo Tawhito: Conversations about Mōteatea, Charles describes some of the different types of mōteatea — including pātere, waiata wawata, oriori and more — and the multitude of reasons, purposes, and occasions for which mōteatea can be composed. 

“All the great events of life are commemorated and communicated in mōteatea of one kind or another: love stories, conflict stories, the arrival of new children, the death of loved ones. All the great passions of what it is to be a human being can be found inside mōteatea.” 

Charles speaks about some of his favourite composers of mōteatea and provides examples of mōteatea that are especially meaningful to him. He eloquently describes how mōteatea can be a powerful vehicle for expressing deep emotions, and a profound way in which to commemorate, celebrate and communicate momentous events in life.

We invite you to join our host Crystal Edwards for this deeply insightful interview with Dr Te Ahukaramū Charles Royal.

Host: Crystal Edwards
Guest: Dr Te Ahukaramū Charles Royal

Links & Resources
Poia atu taku poi
E pā tō hau

Production team
Producers: Toni Huata & Roger Smith
Sound Engineer: Phil Brownlee
Research: Dr Te Ahukaramū Charles Royal
Production Assistance: Ngahuia Maniapoto, Kelly Mata, Nina Lesperance, Jonathan Engle, Alpana Chovhan
Marketing: Leoné Venter
Executive Producer: Diana Marsh

Special thanks to
Te Ahukaramū Charles Royal and the Manukau Symphony Orchestra for ‘Whitiora’
Tainui Waikato for ‘E pā tō hau’
Te Hau Tawhiti Kapa Haka for ‘Poia atu taku poi’
Thanks to Adrian Wagner and Te Upoko o Te Ika
Cover Art: Kennedy Kioa Toi Faimanifo of Manatoa Productions

This podcast is supported by funding from Creative New Zealand.

© Copyright Centre for New Zealand Music Trust