Topic: Entertainment

Feature film explores origins of famous 'Poi E' song

By Hone-Haunui Rapana

His long hair, the sight of hard work, the smooth moves, the entertainer.  Dalvanius was the shining star of Māori music.

Māori Film Director Te Arepa Kahi, has embarked on the journey to share the story about the late Māori icon, Dalvanius Prime in Poi E - The story behind our song.

Reikura Kahi says, "His family wanted to share the stories behind the composing of this song."

"The idea came about last year, and it's been 30 years since the song that belongs to us, and the whole country was first released," says director Te Arepa Kahi.

The great Ngoi Pewhairangi and Dalvanius Prime first released the hit song in 1984.  A song sung entirely in Māori that sold more albums than any other international recording artist.

Mr Kahi says, "We may know the words and tune to the song, but who of us know about how this icon and the Patea Māori Club came to making a song that was released to the nation and to the world."

"In those times, it was the English songs that were known, but this Māori song prevailed and made it to the top, because of the beauty and pride we have for our language," says Mrs Kahi.

According to Tuteri Dal Rangihaeata, "Dal was lucky to meet Ngoingoi Pewhairangi.  It was her who wanted to use music as the vehicle to share the language."

Te Arepa has been inspired by his upbringing within the music world, to share the stories of great Māori who have paved the way for Māori music.

"The world we live in today was in some sense paved by Dalvanius.  The iwi Māori radio stations, Māori Television are all results of his hard work," says Mr Kahi.

Lead singer from the band The Modern Māori Quartet, Maaka Pohatu has the honour of playing the role of Dalvanius Prime.