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Waiata/Anthems - The Series

Story Published Tuesday 4 May 2021

Over seven individual short documentaries, iconic musical artists from around Aotearoa translate and record their songs in te reo Māori, sharing untold stories of fear and discovery along the way. Following on from the 2019 number one album, Waiata / Anthems, these new stories celebrate te reo Māori through the power of waiata.


Featuring Drax Project, Katchafire’s Logan Bell, Bic Runga, Che Fu, MELODOWNZ, Annie Crummer, Hollie Smith and Don McGlashan, each episode tracks the artist's path, through the origin of the song to its translation and meaning, exploring how it came to be. Each episode ends with a powerful live performance.

Waiata / Anthems is produced by champion of Māori music, Hinewehi Mohi, MNZM. In 1999, Hinewehi changed the nature of our relationship with the national anthem when she performed it in te reo Māori at an All Blacks game. Today, Hinewehi continues to lead the charge for a bilingual music industry supporting artists to embrace te reo Māori in their work.

“These are stories of empowerment, in accessing te reo Māori through waiata, not just for the artists but for their audiences too. The fact that these talented musicians were prepared to embrace the challenge to do this, makes a statement about our nation’s growing confidence and pride in our unique cultural identity, that we can all share and celebrate.” - Hinewehi Mohi, Producer.

Directed by Julia Parnell (SIX60: Till the Lights Go Out, Anthems; NZ’s Iconic Hits, and The Triumph & Tragedy of Martin Phillipps), Waiata / Anthems draws on Julia’s extensive experience with music stories to investigate the artistic process behind the translation and recording of the songs and the much deeper personal story behind each.

“This was an unforgettable experience, and one of cultural significance in the pursuit to regain the power of te reo Māori in Aotearoa. I am proud to share these surprising and powerful personal stories. My hope is this series will impact the deepening of our relationship with te reo and act as a springboard for more Māori music in the charts.” – Julia Parnell, Director.

Waiata / Anthems will begin streaming on TVNZ OnDemand from May 1st, 2021. Accompanied by live performance music videos on TVNZ’s YouTube.

Each artist’s waiata is available to listen to on all digital streaming platforms.