Esteemed songwriter Ria Hall (Ngāi Te Rangi, Ngāti Ranginui, Te Whānau ā Apanui, Ngāti Porou, Ngāti Tūwharetoa, Waikato), along with co-writers Tiki Taane (Ngāti Maniapoto) and Te Ori Paki (Tuwharetoa, Tuhoe, Tainui) have won the APRA Maioha Award for their song ‘Te Ahi Kai Pō’ at the Silver Scrolls in Auckland tonight.
The Maioha Award recognises exceptional waiata featuring te reo Māori
‘Te Ahi Kai Pō’ is about healing after war, and trying to find hope in times of despair. It draws on Ria’s own family history, telling the story of the Battle of Te Ranga (just south of Tauranga), where, in June 1864 the British Army took retaliation for the earlier battle at Gate Pā. Over a hundred Māori died there, some buried where they fell.
At the ceremony, local soul singer Teeks delivered a moving performance of ‘Te Ahi Kai Pō’, supported by Nick Dow and Ngā Tumanako kapa haka group.
This is the 16th year in which the APRA Maioha Award has been presented, with former winners including Ruia Aperahama, Ngahiwi Apanui, Whirimako Black, Rob Ruha, Maisey Rika, Stan Walker, Troy Kingi, and Alien Weaponry.
RNZ Music visited Ria’s tūrangawaewae in 2017 and were treated to special performance of Te Ahi Kai Pō from Ria and Tiki:
Maioha winners are presented with Te Ngore - the Maioha award sculpture carved by master carver Brian Flintoff.
The other two finalists for the award this year were Seth Haapu for Ngaru Hōu, and Rob Ruha for Uia. The award’s judges were accomplished members of the music community: Darylene Rogers of Radio Ngati Porou, Hinewehi Mohi, previous Maioha winner Kingi Kiriona, and musician and Senior Programme Manager of the Auckland Arts festival, Tama Waipara.
The award was presented at a ceremony at Auckland's Spark Arena.