Hip hop duo Rugged & Wylde take Māori to the world

By Aroha Treacher
  • North Island: East Coast

American rapper Zach Stark has made a home for himself in the small riverside community of Wairoa and has teamed up with local rapper Ratima Hauraki to form Rugged and Wylde.

The hip-hop pair are breaking musical stereotypes and moving their music away from the American influence, instead opting to share the Māori culture and langauge through their music.

"That's been our biggest goal is about whether it's the region or the industry we just want to make it more New Zealand and push the whole thing forward and look at all these creative people that we do have here," says Zach Stark.

They've put out a couple of music videos so far and incorporate common Māori phrases like "Kia Ora" and "Kei te pehea koe."

The pair met when Zach and his family moved to Wairoa and they've since been working on changing the perception of their hometown as they begin their musical journey here in New Zealand.

"I just wanna do something where Wairoa gets represented in a major way that's completely positive, nothing negative but at the same the whole East Coast from Rua down," explains Ratima Hauraki.

The Stark family look to open the town's first multi-media hub in the coming months.