Bic Runga reconnecting with her Māori iwi at music awards

By Taroi Black

Bic Runga debuts at the 2019 Waiata Māori Music Awards and performs her classic single ‘Sway’, which was translated into te reo Māori as part of the Waiata/Anthems compiled by Hinewehi Mohi.

Mohi was well-known for her national anthem in te reo Māori at the 1999 Rugby World Cup. However, that moment has inspired her to collect well-known songs by NZ best-known artists and translated by Sir Tīmoti Kāretu.  

“I just had the most amazing experience singing in Māori for the first time under the guidance of Hinewehi Mohi and had my song Sway translated by Timoti Karetu. Really lucky to have this opportunity and get schooled in te reo,” says Runga.  

The event held in Hastings is also special for Runga who has whakapapa to Ngāti Kahungunu and Rongomaiwahine.  

“All my family are here. Hinewehi is going to introduce me to everyone, so it’s going to be fun.”

The awards also celebrate emerging artists who sing in te reo Māori, who have inspired rangatahi Māori today.

“I'm following in the footsteps of everyone else here right now. I’m actually Ngāti Kahungunu and Rongomaiwahine, so it’s really exciting connecting with my family roots.”