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Pop artist Theia set to release Christmas song in Te Reo

New Zealand pop artist Theia has written and recorded a traditional hymn in Te Reo Māori with the hope of spreading love and peace this Christmas.

Titled 'Te Kaiwhakaora O Te Ao' it will be released on all platforms on Thursday, November 28 and will be the landing song on Air New Zealand international and domestic flights throughout the month of December.

To pre-save 'Te Kaiwhakaora O Te Ao' click here.

The song sees Theia - who descends from Waikato-Tainui - following in the footsteps of her late great grandmother Mite Kerei Kukutai, the composer of the beloved waiata ‘Kiwi Weka’.

'Te Kaiwhakaora O Te Ao' is one of only a few Christmas waiata originally composed in Te Reo, with most translated from English. The song’s lyrics are traditional; its melody solemn and contemplative, with a lone guitar.

Theia - who is fluent in Te Reo and has a BA double majoring in Te Reo Māori and Māori and Indigenous Studies - worked with fellow Māori creatives to bring the project together, including the illustrator Māori Mermaid (Ngāpuhi, Ngāti Ruanui) who designed the cover art (see above) and Nicole Hunt (Ngāi Tūhoe) who shot the photos and video. Theia is wearing the work of esteemed fashion designer Bobby Luke (Ngāti Ruanui) from the label Campbell Luke.

The song was recorded at Roundhead Studios by award-winning producer and engineer Simon Gooding and mastered by renowned engineer Chris Chetland from Kog Studio.

“I wrote 'Te Kaiwhakaora O Te Ao' as a gift to our people - a traditional Christmas hymn to call our own. A waiata to transcend generations and weave together the past and present,” says Theia. “I would love this to be a song that is sung and performed in marae, churches and schools for many years to come”.

Christchurch-born Theia emerged on the New Zealand music scene in 2016 with her song 'Roam'. She has gone on to release two EPs to critical acclaim; her first earning her three nominations at the 2017 VNZMAs and her second NOT YOUR PRINCESS receiving two nominations at the 2019 Waiata Māori Music Awards.

Theia is opening for Swedish singer LÉON in Auckland on November 29 and in Brisbane on December 4. Catch Theia live this summer at Rhythm and Vines on December 29; Bay Dreams Warm-up in Tauranga on January 1; supporting Tones And I in Tauranga on January 5 and Soundsplash Timaru on January 17.


Te Kaiwhakaora O Te Ao (lyrics)

Te kaiwhakaora o te ao
(Saviour of the world)
I tukuna e Te Ariki
(Sent by The Lord)
Hariru korōria
(Glorious news)
Kia tau te marie
(Let peace abound)

Tīramarama ngā whetū kei runga
(Stars are shining above)
Auē te mauri o Te Atua
(Oh the life essence of God)

Korōria korōria
(Glory, glory)
Kua whānau mai a Ihu e
(Jesus is born)
Tama tapu, tohu aroha
(Holy son, sign of love)
Mō tātou katoa (For all of us)
Mō tātou katoa (For all of us)

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