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He Reo Tawhito
Season 2, Episode 4: A conversation with Dr Taiarahia Black

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

Season2, Episode 4

Please note: This podcast is spoken in te reo Māori & English

Dr Taiarahia Black is an internationally regarded expert in Māori language revitalisation. His PhD Kāore te aroha-- : te hua o te wānanga, completed at Massey in 2000, was the first PhD thesis at any university to be published in te reo Māori. He is a professor at Te Whare Wānanga o Awanuiarangi, and through his various roles as a teacher, writer of traditional and contemporary Māori language resources, researcher, and doctoral supervisor he is involved in numerous Māori language projects.

In He Reo Tawhito, a conversation about Mōteatea with Dr Taiarahia Black, Taiarahia shares his in-depth academic perspective with a light-hearted twist. We’re taken on a journey through the Raupatu Settlements of Tūhoe and the way in which mōteatea are legally being used as evidence to support claims. Taiarahia shares his admiration for poetry and describes what it was that drew him to the literary works of Shakespeare, Lord Byron, Percy Shelley, William Wordsworth, Socrates, and Plato. 

Taiarahia also reminisces about his time as a young boy growing up in Ruatoki, and tells us what inspired him to begin his research into mōteatea and literature from a young age. 

“I uru mai te mataku ki roto i a au kei ngaro ngā taonga nei. Koina i tīmata ai au ki te hīkoi i roto i a mātou ki te kohi i ngā taonga nei.” [It frightened me that these treasures would be lost. That’s why I started the journey of collecting and gathering the stories of our mōteatea.]

One clear message that we get from Taiarahia is that of the importance of the people—everything we do must be inclusive of the people.

“Mōteatea to me is about the reconstruction of a community, through the power of poetry.”

Join our host Crystal Edwards for many engaging stories about mōteatea in this bilingual (te reo Māori and English) conversation with Dr Taiarahia Black.

Host: Crystal Edwards
Guest: Dr Taiarahia Black

Links & Resources
Kāore te pō nei
Engari te titi 

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
Special thanks to Dr Taiarahia Black, Te Kooti Arikirangi Te Turuki and Tūmeke FM forKāore te pō nei,
Mihi ki-te-kapua, Ngāi Tūhoe and Dame Hinewehi Mohi for Engari te tītī.
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