In a celebration of Matariki, Te Kaahu brought three artists to the Tuning Fork stage for a warm, cosy evening scored by many genres.
HINA (Te Rarawa, Ngāti Raukawa) opened the evening with a stripped back set. She played solo and was also accompanied by a small band on electric guitar and cajon. Her sound mixed pop, R&B, and jazz, with standout tracks ‘Made This Way’ and ‘Go So Well’. MOHI (Ngāpuhi, Te Rarawa, Ngāi Te Rangi, Ngāti Kahungunu ki Te Wairoa) followed with a fusion of jazz and swing that had the crowd swaying along. ‘E Kii’ opened the set with smooth grooves and ‘Ōhaeawai’ was a touching moment to remember home.
As the final act, Theia (Waikato-Tainui, Ngāti Tīpā) brought her reo Māori project TE KAAHU to a charmed audience. Between each waiata, Theia talked the audience through the meanings of the songs, how they related to Matariki, and her whānau (especially her kuia, whose song ‘Kiwi Weka’ she performed). The instrumentation and lyricism from Theia, the full band, and accompanying vocalists from Dio Girls were immensely beautiful. Though the studio album Te Kaahu O Rangi is gorgeous, seeing Theia perform live with the full band, complete with lap steel guitar, was a moving, special experience.
An exciting, energising moment for Matariki.