Every year in May we celebrate New Zealand Music Month. Now, Māori music will be celebrated in the month of August, which will be known as Te Marama Pūoro Waiata Māori- Māori Music Month.
In celebration of the inaugural event, a group of high-profile Māori artists will work as ambassadors, including Maisey Rika, Rob Ruha, Tama Waipara and Taisha Tari.
They will conduct workshops in schools in both New Zealand and Australia, mentoring up and coming performers and those passionate about music. Workshops will focus on taonga pūoro, song writing, song composition and vocal training.
Executive Director of the National Waiata Māori Music Awards, Ellison Huata, daughter of the late Tama Huata, who created the awards event, came up with the idea.
Ellison says Māori Music Month would aim to connect young performers with established artists through events planned for each week in August, starting in Wellington, Auckland, Waikato and finally the Gold Coast, Australia.
Rob Ruha was elated when asked to be a part of the kaupapa.
"Sharing knowledge, experiences and life lessons with those who are considering a career in Māori music is another passion of mine. All these things align to what I think Māori Music Month will encourage and support," he says.
Maisey Rika will offer her time and experience to work with young musicians.
She says, "I just want to be there for anyone, to help out as much as I can. I sing and write songs so I would offer my help in those fields and if there are any patai to do with the industry sides as well I would endeavour to answer truthfully."
Tama Waipara said he was excited to see the introduction of Māori Music Month.
"There are many wonderful and hard-working musicians out there who should be celebrated, and also many young, talented people coming through.
Tama Huata created the Waiata Māori Music Awards and gave many people, including myself, an opportunity to showcase our music. I think any iniative that celebrates Māori musicians and continues that proud legacy is exciting," says Waipara.
The new initiative will launch at the National Secondary Schools' Kapa Haka competition in Hawke's Bay on Thursday 28 July.