With just over two years’ experience under their belt 'Ka Hao Tira Waiata' a youth choir from Te Tairawhiti has achieved accolades and awards even the most established artists would envy and they are about to set the world on fire once more with the release of their debut album ‘KA HAO - One Tira One Voice’ (Official release - Friday 17th September 2021).
The seven-track, original, bi-lingual album comes after a whirlwind introduction to the music industry. They featured in a string of sold-out concerts in the Tama Waipara curated Tairawhiti Arts Festival 2019. In 2020 they also won two awards at the Aotearoa Music Awards as part of the Mohau Visual album for ‘Best Worship Album’ and the ‘Mana Reo Award’. The Te Amokura Productions online series following their Tairawhiti Arts Festival journey has attracted over 178K views. Series two, which follows their recording journey is live now.
Songs on the album reflect the core values of the group, ‘whakapono’ (faith), ‘hope’ and the thing that unites the members - Home. ‘Haramai Roimata’ a track on the album sings of grief for lives lost during covid-19, ‘Closer to you’ echoes their connection to God and the promise of a brand-new day, and ‘35’ celebrates Te Tairawhiti (Highway 35) and the wonders it possesses. All three of these songs will be released as music videos. 35 launched on the 3rd of September and has enjoyed excellent radio support and has clicked up nearly 100,000 views on YouTube.
The choir is unique in that they compose their own music, a roopu Rangatira made up of select members of the wider group lead the musical and recording processes and are responsible for the vision and direction of the group, Ruawhaitiri Ngatai-Mahue member of te roopu Rangatira said “I want to see Ka Hao at its peak and to let the world see, feel and hear pure Maori Music Magic”. Founding mentors of Ka Hao Bishop of Aotearoa the Most Reverend Don Tamihere alongside Rob and Cilla Ruha have provided support and guidance to the roopu but have encouraged the Rangatahi to be self-governing, to take ownership of their industry and to make the big decisions, “My hope is that they are confident in everything they do especially in championing their own dreams and in doing so, that they inspire their whānau. That they believe they can because they have built lasting relationships in KA HAO with like-minded people who want and champion the same things”- said Rob Ruha.
The Tira is built on the ethos of ‘whakaiti kia iti’ (humility) and they are resolute in their commitment to all things good and pono (honest), the overriding acknowledgement of Atua, the commitment to bringing light to all those who need it, and the unwavering desire to inspire their peers is what drives this outstanding group, they are a musical force to be reckoned with.