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Aotearoa Songwriters Recognised in Queen's Birthday Honours

Story Published Monday 7 June 2021
Dame Hinewehi Mohi

It's a banner year for songwriters being recognised in the Queen's Birthday Honours list. Hinewehi Mohi (who is the APRA AMCOS Pītau-whakarewa / Māori Membership Growth & Development Leader) has been made a Dame for her services to Māori, music and television, while Ladi6 (Karoline Fuarosa Park-Tamati) Teremoana Rapley, and Dr Graeme Downes have been made Members of the New Zealand Order of Merit for their services to music, music and television, and music and music education respectively.

And Posenai Samoa Mavaega and Tanya Soliali'i Mavaega (integral members of award-winning arts company Pacific Underground) were also made Members of the New Zealand Order of Merit for their services to Pacific Performing Arts.

As reported by Radio NZ in this beautiful interview, Dame Hinewehi Mohi who is of Ngāti Kahungunu, and Ngāi Tūhoe descent sang the New Zealand national anthem in te Reo Māori at an international rugby match, sparking an important national conversation around biculturalism and that led to singing the anthem in both English and Te Reo Māori becoming customary practice. Dame Hinewehi co-founded the Raukatauri Music Therapy Centre in 2004, for people with disabilities. She's a television producer, recording artist and advocate for te reo and tikanga Māori and was made a Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit, Queen's Birthday 2008.

She's also an integral and beloved member of the APRA AMCOS NZ whanau, a champion of waiata reo Māori and waiata reo rua, and a key figure in promoting a bi-lingual music industry, having been the driving force behind the inaugural Waiata Anthems album, and recent web series.

Ladi6 is best known for her incredible body of work as a solo artist, including three albums and an EP, as well as paving the way for female artists in the Aotearoa hip hop scene in her early years with Sheelaroc and Verse Two. She's also collaborated widely with acts such as Fat Freddy's Drop and Shapeshifter, mentored inmates at a women's prison, been a strong health advocate, and taken pacific inspired music to the world.

Also paving the way for Pacific artists, particularly of the female hip hop persuasion, Teremoana Rapley was a founding member of Upper Hutt Posse, and key player in Moana and the Moahunters. She has since forged a solo career path, as well as working alongside Bill Urale (King Kapisi) and contributing an enormous body of work to Māori television.

Veteran frontman and music academic Dr Graeme Downes was also recognised, honouring his 40 years in iconic Dunedin band The Verlaines, and key collaborator in the Dunedin sound, while also doing extensive work in music education as Head of Music at Otago University, and developing a 'rock' degree.