Graham Reid | | 3 min read
Few New Zealand artists have the stature, musical longevity and long-term political commitment of Moana Maniapoto (Ngāti Tūwharetoa/Tūhourangi-Ngāti Wahiao).
So it is hardly surprising that she should be this year's inductee into the New Zealand Music Hall of Fame.
She will be so honoured at this year's APRA Silver Scroll awards in Auckland on Thursday, September 29.
First with Moana and the Moa Hunters and latterly with Moana and the Tribe, she has taken her music to international stages across Europeee to the far reaches of Russia and South Korea, has always been an outspoken champion of the rights of indigenous peoples (most notably of course Maori) and in her songs – where she seamlessly bends pop, rock, reggae and Maori waiata, haka and taonga puoro – she has addressed local and international politics (from Treaty over 20 years ago to the songs on her most recent album Rima including the thrilling Whole World's Watching).
She sings of her culture (Moko, Ancestors) and has wrapped her lyrics in memorable music. Her recent move towards electronica with band member Paddy Free (of Pitch Black) saw the Rima album pick up an award in Songlines, the British magazine of world music.
She has also won numerous awards and was made a Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit in 2004. The following year she was made a Life Time Recipient of the Tohu Mahi Hou a Te Waka Toi Award acknowledging her leadership and contribution to Maori art.
And in 2008, she received a Music Industry Award at the Maori Waiata Awards for her positive contribution to Maori Music.
Moana has frequently appeared at Elsewhere but given this new award we felt it timely to offer her -- because of her global vision -- a Famous Elsewhere World Music Questionnaire . ..
The first musician whose music really affected you was . . .
my dad Nepia, a hot shot haka man who always had a guitar, ukelele, sax and piano on the go.
Your first appearance on stage before an audience was . . . .
Civic Theatre, Invercargill, age 7. Merchant of Venice. I played a page boy and wore black velvet rompers.
If music was denied you, your other career choice would be . . .
The three songs you would love everyone to hear because they are so emotionally moving are . . .
Hurt (Nine Inch Nails but Johnny Cash version)
Miss Sarajevo (U2)
This Woman's Work (Kate Bush v Maxwells live version – tricky choice)
The most unusual place you have performed would be . . .
an amphitheater carved out of snow in Finland / the dining room of an abattoir outside Vladivostok.
The most important book you have read is . . .
Cruel, cruel question! So many life changing books but I guess “Ask That Mountain” (Dick Scott) was the first most important one because ...I never knew. Then I read “Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee” one Christmas and bawled, realising it’s a global thing.
If you could get on stage with anyone it would be . . .
Dub Inc, other fave band of my manager Sol. It would be something new that includes French, Arabic and Māori – and the stage would be crowded because I’d have to have my band on there too.
The three films you'd like anybody to watch because they might understand you better are . . .
The Lives of Others
Thelma & Louise
The last CD, vinyl album or download you bought was . . .
Pitch Black “Filtered Senses” / Pacific Heights “The Stillness.”
When you travel, what is it you most miss about your home country?
Native bush and the rest of the whanau
The artist you most admire would be . . .
Prince. Saw him twice. What a freak. I also really admire my own guitarist Cadzow Cossar who is astonshing.
Your favourite meal to share with friends would be . . .
Muttonbird boil up with fried bread, whitebait fritters on the side + my own (world famous in Temuka!) golden syrup dumpling pudding...
Do you practice every day, and if so for how long?
Not every day, but working on becoming more disciplined.
David Bowie sang, “Five years, that's all we've got . . .” If that were true, you would spend them where, doing . . .?
Tour and perform in very warm countries with my band, partner Toby, kids Kimiora and Manawanui, my mum...we would eat great food, drink too much, have lots of fun and try to spread the love.
And finally, do you have any unrealised goals in music?
An international number one hit that “could only have come from NZ” would be something. Meanwhile I’d like to learn to play the guitar, sing and write better. Get my international recording project off the ground. Perform in France. More cross-genre / cross cultural collaborations.