Connecting Māori musicians with funding

By Raniera Harrison

A group of Māori musicians have raised concerns about the amount of funding directed towards Māori music across all platforms.  This comes as Māori composers, singers and songwriters alike brainstorm initiatives to optimise the medium of music to revitalise te reo Māori.

Maimoa Music member Pere Wihongi says, "The problem is securing enough funding to allow our music to take flight."

Two of Māori music's biggest names are leading the charge for increased funding for the Māori music sector.

And this year's Best Māori Artist Award winner at the Vodafone New Zealand Music Awards, Troy Kingi says more funding wouldn't hurt.

"Funding would definitely help, my last album got no funding for it so it just means that you have to pull the reins back on a few things."

There are numerous avenues that fund the Māori music available.  Ranging from NZ On Air and Creative NZ, which "works as a catalyst in the development of a flourishing arts environment in New Zealand" to Te Māngai Pāhō, which holds one contestable funding round each financial year.

One Northland language stalwart, Moe Milne, says discussion across the Māori music sector needs to take place.

"They need to consider the numerous factors that come into play.  Despite it being nice to listen to- do the messages conveyed have relevance, if not- what's the reasoning?" Milne says. 

A spokesman from Te Mātāwai confirmed that everyone is encouraged to apply to all relevant funding rounds on the premise the musician can show an intent to language revitalisation, and the measurable language revitalisation outputs.

A spokesman from Te Māngai Pāhō told Te Kāea the funding body is currently reviewing their te reo Māori music strategy- Te Pae Tawhiti.

The next Te Reo Tukutuku round of Te Mātāwai funding will open shortly.