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Aotearoa's Finest -- Bios

Māori singer/songwriter Maisey Rika has one of Aotearoa's (New Zealand's) most impressive voices, creating music that fuses cultural roots, memorable tunes, and honest, sometimes haunting lyrics. Her original songs have become emotional and cultural touchstones in her native New Zealand, yet their universal themes and emotions grown of hardship, happiness, sorrow, and love resonate with international audiences as well. Her honey-smooth vocals unflinchingly take on such issues as domestic violence, Māori displacement, at-risk youth, the environment, and social justice, as well as warmly embrace life’s joys, such as her children or memories of home. For her newest, all Maori-language CD release Whitiora, Maisey won the award for Best Māori Language Album at the 2013 Vodaphone New Zealand Music Awards. She also swept the Māori Music Awards with 5 wins, repeating her 2010 success with 4 Māori Music Awards. She was a featured singer at 2013 Sounds Aotearoa, New Zealand’s indigenous music expo. Her stunning voice and fusion of English and Māori (Te Reo) lyrics illuminate her staunch pride in her Maori roots while engaging audiences of all backgrounds.

Composer, cultural practitioner and cross genre collaborator, Horomona Horo has fused the traditional instruments of the Maori, taonga puoro (singing treasures), within a diverse range of cultural and musical forms. Horomona performs and handles the full spectrum of the taonga puoro instruments with a measured skill, historical and cultural understanding as passed down to him by his mentors, first the late Dr Hirini Melbourne and since 2006, Dr Richard Nunns - two of the men credited with the revival of the art-form. His ability to perform solo as well as collaborate so broadly through and extensive musical knowledge of style and process, has led to Horo performing and presenting as a New Zealand representative in Europe, Australia, Asia and South America and becoming the international Maori face of Taonga Puoro.

Rob Ruha is a singer-songwriter from Te Whanau a Apanui and Ngati Porou. As an emerging solo recording artist, he has a burning tenacity to expand the platforms for the voice of his indigenous nation, amplifying and celebrating uniquely Maori world-views. As a performer, he has contributed to the realm of Māori Performing Arts since he was a child, with over 25 years of live performance experience. He is widely recognized as an esteemed composer of over 200 waiata, haka and mōteatea, and is a co-tutor of Te Kapa Haka o Te Whānau a Apanui. As a songsmith, Rob is acknowledged by his tribal elders and helmsmen as possessing “a genius that lies in the rare ability of weaving together sound and rhythm to conjure emotions that bring to life the lyrics of the song” (Rikirangi Gage, 2013). Robs composition prowess has also seen him judge the Maioha Award in 2013 for best Waiata Māori Composition at the prestigious APRA Silver Scrolls. As a renowned tribal composer, Rob has also judged the Ngāti Porou Te Rangitāwaea Awards for musical themes for film and the Ngā Manu Waiata competition that promotes the development of composers and future recording artists.

Seth Haapu is an Auckland-based pianist, guitarist and singer-songwriter, with a velvet voice, a soul for inventive melodies, provocative storytelling, and arrangements that don’t quite go where you expect. His self-titled debut album was nominated for an NZ Music Award, and NZ Musician magazine described it as "an expertly crafted pop album." While recording his newest creations, he has opened for John Legend and toured internationally with Maisey Rika and Rob Ruha. Of Maori and Tahitian descent, Seth released his debut recording in 2011, showcasing soulful laments to throwback R&B, from keyboard rhapsodies to alternative pop.

 

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The multi-talented New Zealand musician and actor, Troy Kingi has had an eventful few years with major acting roles in Hunt For The WilderpeopleMt ZionPa BoysSongs from the Inside season 3 and The Kick. His musical projects have also had success - working with Maori artists Stan Walker (who he co-wrote the Silver Scroll winning song 'Aotearoa' with), Rob Ruha, Ria Hall and featuring heavily on Maisey Rika's latest album 'Tira' and now more recently in a collaborative soul band 'L(())VE & HOPE' with Mara TK(Electric Wire Hustle) and Mark Vanilau (Dave Dobbyn). Keeping the successful momentum going Troy worked on his debut solo album “Guitar Party At Uncles Bach” with engineer Ben Edwards and released it on Lyttelton Records back on the 11th of November 2016, saying "the whole vibe was to record the album live circa Motown/Beatles". Troy's ambition and talents have quickly been noticed and opportunities for him are endless both in Aotearoa and around the Globe.

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PERFORMING ARTS TOURING FROM THE PACIFIC REGION