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Meet composer Te KuraHuia
Te KuraHuia

In this series, we present our new composers. We are proud to introduce Te Kura Huia Arikirangi Faith Oriwia Henare-Stewart.

Ngāi Tara ki te Muaūpoko o te ika a Māui, Ngāti Raukawa ki te Tonga, Ngāpuhi, Te Arawa, Te Whakatōhea, Ngāi Te Rangi, Ngāti Kuia, Ngāi Tahu, Ngāti Apa ki te Rā Tō and Pasifika

A multidisciplinary Māori Pasifika tribal princess, singer-songwriter/rapper, film maker, cultural performer, performing arts mentor, music producer, model, and more. Te KuraHuia is known for fusing mana, her skills, and knowledge to inspire pride and aroha for one's cultural identity. Te KuraHuia works to weave research and Tagata Moana.

“ In a way, it helps to bring our people together doing what we love.” 

Have you always been drawn to music, how did you end up where you are today musically?

“I grew up with my grandparents, they raised me, I’m a whāngai, they were also religious whānau at the time, and with religion you get the whole gospel singing. So my grandmother would be at the forefront of that as well. It was all my aunties, my mother even, yeah so I’ve been surrounded with music ever since I’ve kind of had this little flame burning ever since.” 

During an interview Te KuraHuia explains that the flame, her love for singing and music didn’t turn into a “fire” until she met Jarrod Huirama. After Jarrod's passing Te KuraHuia went on to study music where she met Kane Parsons and Nigel Patterson and Graham Jhonston. 

“I thank them for what they did, because they reignited that flame that I thought was lost after the passing of my last teacher.” 

From there, Te KuraHuia has continued to grow and evolve and feed that flame through self exploration and guidance from other mentors in her life. 

How has your journey influenced the music that you create? 

“It has definitely influenced everything that I have created, everything that I create is my medicine, it’s how I heal myself because I use my emotions in the moment and I create something so beautiful.

In my culture we usually do a kapa haka or a poi or whatever to express those emotions but if I don’t do that then I’m doing the creating kind of thing.

I would say ‘BMW’ was a song that came out of an expression for love when I found out that being a woman is really hard, but it’s also very sacred and very beautiful.”

In 2022, Te KuraHuia toured her debut visual EP internationally to Paris and Canada where she performed for the Asinabka Media & Arts Film Festival. She was also a successful recipient of the Waiata Takitahi Funding by Te Mangai Pāho. This allowed her to produce her last self directed single project “Uha”.

What was the kaupapa behind the visual EP, and the inspiration for a visual EP? 

“So the whole Kaupapa of my debut visual EP was pretty much the same as BMW. I went from traditional into modern, not so much modern, but I wanted to do a full te reo song about Te Ira Wahine, you know our connection to Hine-Ahu-One, the first woman, and how sacred that lineage is.” 

In 2022, Te KuraHuia was awarded ‘Te Tohu Kaipuoro Rangatahi” from the Waiata Māori Music Awards in Heretaunga and was also nominated for two Student Radio Network (SRN) Awards, as well as winning the SRN people’s choice award in 2022. 

Bad Mana Wahine is a term coined by Te KuraHuia to encapsulate holding space for your fire and your connection to your culture. In her own words.

“Being a Bad Mana Wahine to me means you can be a badass, but be respectful to your culture, your language, and your people by being a mana wahine.” 

This powerful whakatauki was used as inspiration for Te KuraHuia pop anthem “BMW.” 

“I just wanted to create a song that would lift up anyone and everyone, especially our Māori wahine.” 

Following on from her release success in 2022, Te KuraHuia has recently released a remix of her original song “Bad Mana Wahine” (BMW) in collaboration with Tiki Taane & Black Comet. A waiata reo rua (bilingual track) this track was made in time for Matariki, “Making everyone want to boogie and get warm during the winter season”. You can watch the behind the scenes video featuring Te KuraHuia, Tiki Taane, and Laughton Kora HERE. 

What was it like working with Tiki Taane, and Laughton Kora AKA Black Comet? 

“The whole process around that was very like maori in a way where you know how we have the Māori, the important Māori values….I felt that,I felt it, it was to whānau and aroha oriented was such a beautiful, beautiful energetic space, I just felt really blessed to be there, and very proud to be Māori.” 

Te KuraHuia is currently in pre-production for her next single entitled Pretty Gal Club and has also just been announced as a finalist for the