New Zealand music charts officially announce new 'Te Reo Māori Top 10'

Headlines 18/06/2021

It was announced today that from June 19, a new Te Reo Māori top 10 will feature in the official New Zealand Music Charts.

Ngā Waiata Kairangi I Te Reo Māori O Te Rārangi 10 O Runga, the Official Top 10 Te Reo Māori Singles of the week, will showcase the biggest songs with vocals that are primarily sung in te reo. 

There is a general requirement that at least 70 percent of all the vocals on a track must be performed in te reo Māori in order to be considered - an initiative musicians like Stan Walker say will help the language survive and prosper. 

"I can only explain the Māori experience, history and culture through te reo - to explain it in English is to diminish it," Walker explained in a statement. 

"Often when I talk in English, I need to switch to a te reo word as there is no English word to capture exactly what I want to say. If te reo is lost, to be Māori is lost. 

"My language must be a living, breathing organ - not a dusty, unread book in a library." 

Recorded Music chief executive Damian Vaugh said the introduction of the new chart shows the New Zealand music industry is progressing positively. 

"The fact that there is enough new waiata being recorded in te reo Māori to warrant the creation of a standalone chart is evidence that the industry is evolving and changing.

"As te reo Māori continues to become more mainstream in Aotearoa, we will continue to support the efforts of the industry to embrace Te Ao Māori." 

Meanwhile, award-winning hip hop artist Rei said there was still a lot of work to do to move past "this current period of tokenism into one of normalisation", and that an integrated chart that highlighted te reo music would help achieve this. 

"[It will] force [music] program directors to take more notice of what we're doing."