I wrote Kariri to reinvigorate interest in history – Rob Ruha

By Taroi Black
  • Auckland

The prestigious APRA Silver Scroll Awards for music compositions is about to get underway in Auckland and on the Maioha Award. Rob Ruha's recent single which has been nominated talks about the Māori land wars with the Crown over 150 years ago. Ruha says he's happy the song has helped the issue be recognised in our schools' national curriculum.

It's not a song for the faint-hearted.

“Kariri is the result of gun warfare, the spilling of blood, the confiscation of land, the oppression and arrest of our people. The anger spilled over and grew.”

“It was filmed on Mt Hikurangi, the most revered landmark on the East Coast. From there, you can see as far afield as Te Whānau-a-Apanui and Taranaki on the West Coast, an area that saw a lot of conflict. You can see into Tūhoe territory and into the Waikato, the origin of the King Movement.”

Kariri, the bullet, retells the history of the East Coast Māori resistance who supported the Kīngitanga and other groups who fought the Crown over confiscated Māori lands.

“There were signs when we visited Ruatoria. The weather was terrible, it was pouring with landslips.

I had to remove a tree from the road myself so my car could reach Ruatoria.”

The music was produced by the artist Tiki Tāne which gave Kariri an edge.

“I wrote Kariri to reinvigorate interest in the history as a means of healing the past.”