28 Sep 2017

Premiere: Ria Hall - 'Black Light' feat. Mara TK

11:36 am on 28 September 2017

To celebrate the release of her new single 'Black Light', Ria Hall talks the inspiration behind her upcoming album Rules Of Engagement.


When this album was in development, an incredible Māori visual artist passed away. This new track 'Black Light' is in memory of the great Ralph Hotere, and the lyrics are inspired by his many works he created over the years. Mara TK helped coin this song, and features on this track as well.

The concept of the album draws on themes of love and war, revolution and change. The key inspiration behind the concept is a letter scripted by Henare Taratoa in March of 1864 to the Governor of New Zealand, Sir George Grey. This letter outlined the manner in which both Māori and British should conduct themselves during war - in this instance, the battle of Pukehinahina (Gate Pa). A code of conduct if you will. These were known as the 'Rules of Engagement' - which is where the album takes its name.

This album has been 5 years in the making, so you can imagine this journey has been a huge test of patience and resilience, much like the concept of the album really. The initial conception and development started in Wellington - my home of almost 10 years. Then, with life taking over and everything in between, it was completed in Tauranga - my spiritual home. And it all makes sense, even though it’s taken this long to complete, and I’m really happy with the outcome.

The key message in my album is to encourage understanding. In order to understand where we are heading to, we must not only acknowledge our past, we must understand its implications and the effect it has had on the current landscape of New Zealand. We can do so much better in this area and it seems we have only made incremental change. I would love to help effect a dramatic shift for the betterment of generations to come. 

Ria Hall's new album Rules of Engagement is available for pre-order now.