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Waiata / Anthems - The Series

A 7-part documentary series streaming on TVNZ OnDemand

From May 1st - New Zealand Music Month

Seven translated songs. Seven unique stories. Watch the story behind the waiata.


Notable Pictures, in association with TVNZ, Raukatauri Productions and Te Māngai Pāho are proud to announce the upcoming series, ‘Waiata / Anthems’.

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 artists 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.

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“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.

EPISODE 1 | HOLLIE SMITH / DON McGLASHAN - Bathe in the River / Kōrukutia

Scared to sing in Māori, Hollie Smith wants to be braver. Alongside Don McGlashan, Hollie stands up to perform one of Aotearoa’s most beloved songs.

EPISODE 2 | KATCHAFIRE – 100 / Karawhiua

Recording the band’s first ever waiata reo Māori, Katchafire’s Logan Bell deals with familiar challenges many Māori face in reclaiming their language. He must confront his fears and the hurt caused by the loss of language.

EPISODE 3 | DRAX PROJECT - Tukituki Te Manawa

Following global success, Drax Project find a deeper connection with Aotearoa. Opening their hearts to the sounds of taonga pūoro, the band come to harness the true power of waiata reo Māori.

EPISODE 4 | BIC RUNGA - There is No Time / Kāore He Wā

Bic Runga shines light on her shadowed past of racial struggles, speaking for the first time about a defining moment when she felt the country had turned on her.


Translating his well-known song into Māori pushes Avondale rapper MELODOWNZ beyond his comfort zone and deep into a life changing family discovery he knew nothing about.

EPISODE 6 | CHE FU –Fade Away / E Kore E Motu

Che Fu’s song, Fade Away, written to honour a friendship, becomes a waiata of remembrance for his friend and tribute to his late mother, 20 years since its release.

EPISODE 7 | ANNIE CRUMMER – Ocean Moon / Hina Ki Tai

Annie Crummer embraces her dyslexia and channels her inner diva to create a waiata, bringing together the sounds of Māori of Aotearoa and the Cook Islands.

Waiata / Anthems will begin streaming on TVNZ OnDemand from May 1st, 2020. Accompanied by live performance music videos on TVNZ’s YouTube.

Each artist’s waiata will be available to listen to on all digital streaming platforms from April 23rd.

© Scoop Media

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