Young artists take waiata Māori to new platform

By Taroi Black

Two young Māori artists have teamed up with the Auckland Council to normalise the Māori language by entertaining and singing in the native tongue to the public on Auckland trains. 

Pop Waiata. It's an initiative to make the Māori language accessible everywhere and anywhere.

Geneva Alexander-Marsters says, "I thought, wouldn't it be interesting if we were singing together, with strangers, in te reo on the train.  It's been really positive."

Tawaroa Kanawa, famously known for appearing in the hit series NZ's Got Talent has teamed up with lead singer and lyricist of SoccerPractise Geneva Alexander-Marsters.  A well-established band which is open to the Māori language.

Alexanders-Marsters says, "We like to have a bi-lingual approach to our lyrics so there are songs in both Māori and English.  It's a way of maintaining a Māori presence in the alternative music scene here in Auckland."

Although Geneva Alexander-Marsters isn't a fluent Te Reo speaker, it's her music that reminds her who she is and where she's from.

"When you singing waiata and also ancient waiata somewhere in a public space you're maintaining the same cultural aspect that has been used for thousands of years. That's how I want to promote Māori in the everyday," says Alexander-Marsters.