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Waiata Anthems 2022 honours 50 years since Māori Language petition

Story Published Monday 5 September 2022

Fifty years after the Māori Language Petition with 30,000 signatures calling for active recognition of te reo Māori was presented to Parliament, Waiata Anthems Week returns to honour the pioneers who lit the spark to revitalise te reo Māori.

This year, Waiata Anthems will build on the legacy of the 1972 Petition with 20 new waiata set for release on September 2nd, along with a wero to Aotearoa to take part in becoming champions of te reo via waiata throughout Mahuru Māori.

Inspiration for 2022

Waiata Anthems co-founder, Dame Hinewehi Mohi, says the kaupapa continues to be inspired by the many milestones we celebrate in 2022 - 50 years since the Māori Language Petition was presented to Parliament, 40 years of Kohanga Reo, 40 years of Te Karere, and 50 years of Te Matatini.

“The Waiata Anthems movement salutes these legends of te reo Māori, and the legacy of waiata, to inspire and excite the nation, providing greater access to the language and culture - for all New Zealanders.

“Our hope is that, no matter where you are on your reo journey, you’ll feel empowered to become a champion of te reo Māori through waiata.”

Sir Tīmoti Kāretu, the country’s first Māori language Commissioner, Petition signatory, OG of kapa haka competition, and mentor for Waiata Anthems, says that waiata provides, “The perfect vehicle for te reo Māori, instilled in us by our old people, as a way of connecting with each other and in reflecting our world view, in its purest form.”

Since its inception in 2019, the Waiata Anthems movement has supported the production and release of 100 new waiata. It has been instrumental in the massive ground swell of streaming and broadcast of waiata reo Māori.

“Fifty years ago, it was unthinkable that waiata reo Māori could reach the hearts and minds, radios, phones and devices of so many. Today as a nation, we can reflect on our past and look to a bright future where te reo Māori in popular music is accessible to everybody.

“We hope these waiata become the soundtrack to our daily lives - a way to celebrate the big and small moments,” says Dame Hinewehi.

Waiata Anthems Week 5-11 September 2022

Rounding out a cross-genre representation of the most inspiring musicians in Aotearoa, some of the artists featured in Waiata Anthems Week 2022 are: ROB RUHA - COTERIE - LADI6 - DRAX PROJECT - JACKSON OWENS - SOL3 MIO - VALKYRIE - RORY NOBLE - DILLASTRATE - GOLDSMITH BAYNES - RIIKI REID - AOTEAROA ALLSTARS - PACIFIC HEIGHTS FT. STAN WALKER & CRETE - HUIA - ORIGIN ROOTS AOTEAROA - REI - RIA HALL - MAZBOU Q - GEORGIA LINES - CHEY MILNE - IA - PAPA’S PACK - YAHYAH

The new recordings will be available on all digital platforms from Friday September 2nd.

Documentary series: Season 2

Powerful and profound, the Waiata Anthems documentary series for 2022 will feature superstars Lorde and Tim Finn, local favourites Kora and Barnaby Weir, and new voices in the pop music world, Mikey Dam and Paige. Through waiata, these brave musicians immerse themselves in te ao Māori, te reo me ngā tikanga Māori. Season 2 launches on TVNZ+ on Monday September 5th.


A Wero to the People

The Waiata Anthems Week releases will coincide with a social media wero / challenge to celebrate and encourage the revitalisation of te reo Māori at scale.

For all of Mahuru Māori / September, using the hashtag #WaiataAnthems, people of Aotearoa are invited to share on social media how they incorporate waiata in their everyday life - whether it’s belting out a ballad in the car or serenading their pēpi with a gentle waiata passed down to them.

Waiata Anthems Week 5-11 September, the week before Te Wiki o Te Reo Māori, and the 50th Anniversary of the Māori Language Petition on September 14th. To find out more about how you can become a champion of te reo, go to Listen to Waiata Anthems: