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He Reo Tawhito
Season 3, Episode 2: A conversation with Pere Wihongi

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 does mōteatea mean to you? Traditionally, why were they composed, and how have they changed? Who are some key composers of mōteatea and how have they influenced your music?

He Reo Tawhito: Conversations about Mōteatea podcast

Season 3, Episode 2

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

Winner of the ‘Best Māori Male Solo Artist’ award at the 2019 Waiata Māori Music Awards, Pere Wihongi is a singer, guitarist, arranger, and composer of kapa haka and contemporary Māori music. He is also well-known for co-managing and performing with Māori pop group Maimoa, who have produced some of the most-watched te Reo Māori content on the internet.

 In He Reo Tawhito, a conversation about Mōteatea with Pere Wihongi, Pere describes his personal journey with mōteatea through returning to his marae in Te Tai Tokerau and also being brought up in the urban environment of Tāmaki Makaurau, Auckland. This highlighted the influence that kapa haka has had on his knowledge about the art form. For Pere, a word that immediately comes to mind when he thinks of mōteatea is ‘library’:

 “When I think of the word ‘mōteatea’ I think of our whare pukapuka — I think it is our literal archival space of information that we, as Māori, have unlimited membership to.”

 Pere tells us why he loves pātere and describes the vast array of subjects that are encapsulated within mōteatea—from whakapapa to astrology to navigation to courting—explaining that, for thousands of years prior to the arrival of pen and paper, mōteatea was the primary vehicle for keeping stories alive and handing information down to the next generation.

 In this day and age, how can we compose for the future while keeping an eye on the past, preserving the traditional values and intention of mōteatatea? How is urban drift affecting mōteatea, and how does Pere incorporate mōteata into his own pop music? Find out in this captivating conversation with the luminous Pere Wihongi.

Host: Crystal Edwards
Guest: Pere Wihongi

Links & Resources
Te Mātāwai
Te Tekau mā Rua

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

Special thanks to
Te Mātāwai, performed by Te Iti Kahurangi, Te Matatini 2017, thanks to Kingi Kiriona and Māori Television.
Te Tekau mā Rua performed by Mōtai Tangata Rau, Te Matatini 2015 thanks to Paraone Gloyne and Māori Television.
Thanks to Adrian Wagner and Te Reo Irirangi o Te Upoko o te Ika
Cover Art: Kennedy Kioa Toi Faimanifo of Manatoa Productions

This podcast is supported by funding from Toi Aotearoa | Creative New Zealand, Te Taura Whiri i te Reo Māori and Recorded Music New Zealand.

© Copyright Centre for New Zealand Music Trust