New waiata reflecting Haapu's Māori and Tahitian heritage

By Jessica Tyson
Seth Haapu. Source: Screenshot, Youtube

On the final day of New Zealand Music Month, Māori and Tahitian artist Seth Haapu has released a new waiata about his connection with his Polynesian heritage.

He says his new RnB single All For You pays tribute to the influence and strength of the women in his life.

“The song is about the force of nature that is the feminine spirit. A force that is both beautiful and powerful, in the most balanced of ways, says the Ngāti Porou multi-instrumentalist, singer and songwriter.

He says the waiata makes reference to Huahine, an island located near Tahiti among the Society Islands in French Polynesia.

“My ancestral home of Huahine was among the muses. From a semantic and historical view, Huahine is known as The Island of Women, as it was ruled by queens.” 

The waiata was produced using digital production and pacific instruments made from wood and sharkskin, alongside his liquid velvet voice and the piano.

“The journey of reconnecting to my Polynesian heritage gave rise to a personal transformation that pulses through my entire body of work," he says.

 

In 2018 Haapu released his first waiata in te reo Māori Ngaru Hōu. It was translated with the help of Māori language expert Mataia Keepa.

Haapu hopes to inspire those who aren't confident when it comes to Māori language and culture to feel empowered.

"On a deeper level, I hope that people who are a bit whakamā to learn or to speak or to sing, both Māori and non-Māori, that they would find the confidence in themselves to know that it's all good."

Although it was his first Māori song, Haapu says its definitely not his last.

Since releasing his self-titled debut album in 2011, Haapu has been one of New Zealand’s most prolific songwriters, penning tracks for others in recent years.

He has written and produced soundtracks for film and television, arranging music and recordings for artists, including Stan Walker, Maisey Rika and Rob Ruha.

Haapu's helped produce music, including TEEKS’ hits, Wash Over Me and Never Be Apart. He's also written and co-written with numerous artists, including Sons of Zion’s and Tami Neilson.

Haapu has released an EP each year from 2016 to 2018, with a song from each making the top 20 for the Silver Scroll Awards. His single New Wave saw him receive the Kaitito Waiata Supreme Composer Award last year.

He was a finalist for Best Male Artist at the Vodafone New Zealand Music Awards 2012 and he won best pop album at the Waiata Māori Music Awards that same year.