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Maori Music Award Finalists bring unique show to Hastings

From Te Aio Productions

Maori Music Award Finalists bring unique show to Hastings Fringe Festival

Intrepid band survive flood to produce unique show

On 21 June, Auaha, released their album Te Pari o Auahatanga, The Flood of Inspiration. A collaboration that was recorded over 8 days on and beside the Whanganui River; the album concept was hatched two years ago during a taonga puoro wānanga (traditional Māori instrument workshop) in Whanganui. As students and teachers learned to make and play instruments inside Rangahaua Marae, outside the Whanganui River was flooding, the worst flood in 100 years and as the devastating impact of this event was revealed the album concept was born. The project included recording taonga puoro on the Whanganui River and using the stunning environment and stories to inspire new compositions.

The resulting album included 12 original and eclectic tracks that drew on a range of influences including fusions of te reo chant, rock, blues, soul and funk. Recordings of taonga puoro that were made in the environment while they were on the river were interwoven throughout the album. The members of Auaha are Ariana Tikao, Alistair Fraser, Elise Goodge, Matiu Bartlett, Brad McMillan, Sacha Keating and Te Paerata Tichbon. They are from different backgrounds musically, but are drawn together by their common interest in taonga puoro (traditional Māori instruments). Group members come from Whanganui, Wellington and Wairoa. Their river guide, Charles Ranginui of Te Ātihaunui-a-Papārangi, also contributed a song to the album.

After 3 days journey the group alighted from the river and ensconced themselves at Koriniti Marae to complete recording of the new tracks. As fate would have it though, the river began flooding again, and they had to make a hasty decision to evacuate and relocate to Whanganui or risk being trapped at Koroniti for possibly weeks. Thanks to the generosity of the Whanganui Musicians Club, Auaha were able to set up a new studio in their Drew’s Avenue facility and finish the necessary recordings to complete the album.

Auaha have been performing live versions of these original compositions in Wellington, Kapiti and Whanganui where they have delighted audiences with their ethereal sound. Radio New Zealand reviewed their Wellington Concert as “a textural and hypnotic wonder.” Recently their intrepid journey and efforts were rewarded when they were announced as finalists in the Waiata Māori Music Awards in the Traditional section.

“We were excited to travel to Hastings to attend the awards, we are even more excited to be returning shortly to perform for the people of Hastings,” says project coordinator and musician Elise Goodge, “our show is family friendly, we just love to share our taonga and puoro with others no matter what their age.”

Auaha will be performing as part of Fringe in the Stings on Friday 6 October at the Eastbourne. Tickets available now. Listen to the album on Bandcamp.


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