Seth Haapu has released his first ever song in te reo Māori.
Māori language expert Mataia Keepa is responsible for the translation of 'Ngaru Hou' and says that producing Māori music is an integral part in the resurgence of the language.
In an exclusive interview with Te Kāea, Haapu says, "I've fallen in love with being Māori, with being proud of our culture and our language."
Released today, 'Ngaru Hou' is Haapu's first song in te reo. It comes after a journey of reconnection.
"I only hope that when people hear it and they hear our language and this song that they can feel that too, they can feel empowered by knowing about who they are."
Māori musicians have a platform to promote the language. Mataia Keepa translated the song and says Māori music is an important part of language revitalisation.
Keepa says, “If we go back to traditional songs, Māori often revise such songs to revive words, idiomatic expressions and proverbs. This song is the current example of that form of revitalisation.”
He says the language used in songs is adopted by listeners.
“The main advice is that musicians work with experts in te reo and composition. The time will come where their expressions and words will be learnt. If the use of language is wrong, it'll be reflected in the language used by listeners.”
Haapu hopes to inspire those who aren't confident when it comes to Māori language and culture to feel empowered.
"On a deeper level, I hope that people who are a bit whakamā to learn or to speak or to sing, both Māori and non-Māori, that they would find the confidence in themselves to know that it's all good."
Although it's his first Māori song, Haapu says it is definitely not his last.