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Meet composer
Mina Ripia

Please tell us about yourself and what you do.

I am of Ngā Puhi, Te Aupouri and Ngāti Kahungunu descent. Born and raised in a beautiful little northern country town called Te Kopuru, Dargaville.

I’m a Co-Director, Producer, Composer, Musician and eleven years ago I became a māmā. Starting as a 16 year old dancer/singer with a band called Wharemana and Billy TK Senior, I went on to join Moana and the Moa Hunters as an original Moa Hunter. I co-wrote A E I O U and was a staunch member of the group for a decade and featured in many of the band releases. Know by my nickname ‘Mina’ I then collaborated with Wellington band of “What's the time Mr Wolf’ fame, Southside of Bombay on the track ‘Kia Mau’. Kia Mau is the only Māori language song in the history of New Zealand music to receive both Mana Reo & Mana Māori NZMA’s at the same time. Not long after, I created the band WAI and co-composed and produced its NZMA winning debut album 100%.

I have been singing all my life. I started my career in the music industry when I was 17 years young with Moana and the Moa Hunters. I have recently reached a great milestone in life and music, the mighty 50. The group WAI was created in 1999. Tragic personal events led to the writing and creation of WAI. WAI released our debut album 100% in 2000. WAI went on to win NZ music awards, international acclaim and we achieved a number of world firsts for a New Zealand band and also as a band that performs only in Te Reo Māori. WAI has a solid international reputation and are seasoned performers from numerous international tours. WAI has experience as ambassadors, having performed in many national and international events, expos and festivals over the last 20 years. Internationally WAI is known and loved for our unique Māori electronica. As we travelled the world our audience and opportunities broadened and this led to us creating a minimalist but very powerful acoustic performance. WAI’s music was created for people who love and gravitate to music that sounds like where it originates from. From experience, our music appeals to and has the ability to cross all boundaries regardless of language, age, colour, race or creed. Our performances create intense,  personal and intimate relationships with our audiences. For others who have experienced our music, it has been life-changing, emotional and connected to them very deeply to their spirit. Often audience members would approach WAI off stage in tears and physically affected. From its very inception WAI (Maaka Phat & I) created a type of music and performance to excel in the many concert halls and festival environments of the world. To live as a full-time musician performing original music entirely in the Māori language with respect and integrity is the greatest thing to be doing with our beautiful son Uta Te Whanga and his pāpā Maaka Phat whilst on this planet.

I have had the privilege of performing with many bands including Billy.T.K senior, Maree Sheehan, Hinewehi Mohi, David Grace, Tuahine, IwI, Brothers and Sisters, Brannigan Kaa, Forbidden Realm, Southside of Bombay, Tuahine and many many more.

Recording and album credits include:

Moana & The Moa Hunters - Black Pearl, Extacy, Akona Te Reo, Pupuritia, Tahi & Rua
Mina & Southside of Bombay - Kia Mau
Southside of Bombay - Southside of Bombay live in Aotearoa
Various artists - He Pounamu
Brannigan Kaa - Taputapu
Tuahine - Ma Te Reo
Ngahiwi Apanui - E Tau Nei
Hinewehi Mohi- Kia U & He Inoi
Various artists- He Karanga
Various artists- fRoots - UK release only
Various artists- World 2001 - Virgin UK release only
WAI-WAI 100%

One of my most memorable memories is having the honour of meeting Madiba Nelson Mandela in 1995 when he visited Aotearoa and the moment I will treasure forever is when he autographed my ANC poster which now has pride and place in my lounge.

Please choose 2-3 of your works/albums and tell us about them.

Ki A Korua - My pāpā wrote this song for my grandparents when they passed on. It speaks of the tears that flow for them; we will always remember the love and joy that they shared with us.”

Ko Te Rerenga - I'm Ngā Puhi and Ngāti Whātua descent on my pāpā's side and Ngāti Kahungunu descent on my mother’s side. This song is a history lesson that talks of the time when Māori of Ngā Puhi was populating the northern part of Aotearoa/NZ. Traditionally we have many songs like this that talk of history passed down through the ages so that we never forget people, places, and experiences of the past. Gifts for future generations.

Hine Te Ihorangi - Hine Te Ihorangi is the goddess and personification of rain. It talks of what happens when you are blessed with life. It speaks of the heavens, water and it’s life-giving properties. This connects us to what we as humans are mostly made up of, and what the world is mostly covered by Water.

What are you working on at the moment?

WAI has written new material and are currently producing our 3rd album for a planned release in 2020.

WAI perform guest lead vocals on re-release remix of the song Kia Mau recorded in 1996 with Wellington band Southside of Bombay and perform guest backing vocals on re-release remix of iconic song (Ngā iwi e) E I A I E.

How can people connect with you?

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