Topics: Entertainment, Arts

Tauranga spoken word artist ready to take on the world

By Wepiha Te Kanawa

Spoken word artist Te Kahu Rolleston's biggest inspiration was his grandfather speaking on the paepae at the marae.

Now he's hoping to take those skills with a group of Māori spoken word artists to the Festival of Pacific Arts in Guam in 2016.

It's these words that has landed Te Kahu Rolleston a ticket to Canada.

“In September I’ll be off to Banff, Canada to join Witi Ihimaera for an Indigenous Writers Conference.  It's an annual event and I was honoured to be selected this year,” says Rolleston.

Spoken word is poetry with rhythm and is still quite underground here in Aotearoa, but worldwide it's huge.

Rolleston says, “For spoken word, Black Ice is the man.  He's from America, African-American, but all of his words relate to Māori, so many similarities, and after him would be Dam Natives from Aotearoa.

Dam Natives are the kings of hip-hop (in Aotearoa) and we all know their song "Lick My Patu", but at the end of the day, my biggest inspiration would be my grandfather speaking on the paepae doing his whaikōrero.”

Rolleston's next project is to take a crew of Māori spoken word artists to Guam.

He says, “It's a great way to share ideas with our cousins from the Pacific and to meet with other indigenous cultures and countries.”

Te Kahu is no stranger to big crowds, this weekend he will take the stage at the Ahi Kaa Festival in Hamilton.