Topics: Entertainment, NZ Music, Youth

Young Māori musicians heading to Sweden

By Taroi Black

Two young Māori musicians are about to embark on the biggest journey overseas to take part in a historic event in Sweden, showcasing traditional Māori music. The programme called, Ethno Sweden, is a collaboration of over a hundred artists from around the world, and this year will be the first time Māori music takes the stage.

Twirling poi and the unique Māori strum are to be showcased in front of over a hundred international music enthusiasts.  

Musician, Whetu-Marama Rikihana says, "It's bringing together different genres of music from around the globe, learning different instruments and styles of singing, which all have a unique story."

17-year-old Whetu-Marama Rikihana and 15-year-old Isaac Smith will be flying out to Sweden in three weeks to represent New Zealand with traditional Māori music and also to perform some items they have composed themselves.  

Musician, Isaac Smith says, "I think it's wonderful to share our culture and musical differences with others and they get an insight into our culture and we get an insight into theirs in exchange."

Hand picked by Ethno New Zealand two months ago and their flights and accommodation all paid for by Ethno Sweden. It's an initiative which has been running for the past 30 years; which celebrates different cultures and ethnicities through music."

Former Participant Hanna Wiskari Griffiths says, "I've been involved with that on different levels for a few years and now, I'm here in New Zealand and then I got the questions from my friends over there, "we really would love to have some Māori music, can you find some people for us? Because they never have that before and it's the first time ever."

Griffiths says, "It's not like you have to be an expert but you need to be interested and you need to be open to it and it's about learning and sharing."

Whetu-Marama and Isaac were both brought up in Auckland and come from a musical and arts backgrounds. Whetu-Marama's father Te Rangi Kaihoro is already making Māori instruments for them to take over to Sweden as a token of love. 

Te Rangi Kaihoro says, "We thought well what's one way of encouraging them to bring it here. I thought Whetu Marama and Isaac should present these taonga to them as one way of inviting them into our world."

Ethno New Zealand is looking to host an event here in Auckland next year.