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He Reo Tawhito
Season 3, Episode 3: A conversation with Ariana Tikao

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 3

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

2020 Arts Foundation Laureate Ariana Tikao is a singer, composer and leading player of taonga puoro who brings to life ancestral stories through song. She is among the current generation of artists and leaders rejuvenating taonga puoro, following in the footsteps of Hirini Melbourne and her mentors Richard Nunns and Brian Flintoff.

 In He Reo Tawhito, a conversation about Mōteatea with Ariana Tikao, Ariana describes mōteatea as a key to unlocking the emotions of the past. We’re provided a glimpse into the powerful emotive memories that link mōteatea to their wāhi whakahirahira (significant sites), enabling us to connect with the powerful and often heightened emotions that were felt at the time in which the mōteatea were composed.

 Ariana speaks about the loss of mōteatea in her rohe, and how this lead her to work with written texts, setting them to music so that they can live and breathe again. She describes how her nine-year career in Libraries and Archives at the Alexander Turnbull Library in Wellington gave her access to a vast array of texts which she has been able to draw from and infuse into her own compositions.  

Interwoven with musical excerpts, Ariana takes us through a number of examples of her work as a composer, including Titi Whakatai Arorua and Kō te tātai whetū, a special collaboration with Phil Brownlee and the Christchurch Symphony Orchestra. We hear how Ariana is a musical artist with a genuine and profound connection to mōteatea. 

Join Ariana Tikao and our host Crystal Edwards for this musical and deeply personal conversation about mōteatea.

Host: Crystal Edwards
Guest: Ariana Tikao

Links & Resources
Tēnei Pori ki Ōnawe
Pupuhi Rau
Titi whakatai arorua
Ko Te Tātai Whetū
Ka Taka te Mōtoi
Ko Te Tātai Whetū

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

Tēnei Pori ki Ōnawe performed by and thanks to Ariana Tikao.
Pupuhi Rau performed by and thanks to Ariana Tikao and the Tikao Whānau.
Tītī Whakatai Arorua performed by and thanks to Ariana Tikao.
Ka Taka te Mōtoi performed by and thanks to Ariana Tikao with Al Fraser;  and Ko Te Tātai Whetū thanks to Ariana Tikao and Philip Brownlee, performed with the Christchurch Symphony Orchestra conducted by Benjamin Northey.
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.

Creative NZ Arts Council of New Zealand Toil Aotearoa

Recorded Music NZ

Maori Language Commission

© Copyright Centre for New Zealand Music Trust