Hinewehi Mohi leads te reo national anthem
17 September 2019
Hawkes Bay singer/songwriter Hinewehi Mohi led the singing of New Zealand's national anthem in te reo Māori during the closing ceremony of Te Putanga Toi Arts Access Awards 2019, where all of the recipients went on to the stage and the national anthem was sung in New Zealand’s three official languages: te reo Māori, English and New Zealand Sign Language.
The timing was perfect. It was Te Wiki o Te Reo Māori and 20 years after Hinewehi Mohi sang the national anthem in te reo only before the All Blacks’ quarterfinal against England at Twickenham in the Rugby World Cup in 1999.
In an article in The Spinoff, Hinewehi Mohi says that “perhaps naively”, she simply wanted to share the language with the world.
“It certainly wasn’t a political manoeuvre on my part. It was just something really natural to me and something that I felt really proud of,” she said. “The fact that the All Blacks perform the haka and have made Māori culture famous around the world through that iconic performance said to me that Māori performing arts and the Māori language are both important to us and also embraced by the wider world.”
Hinewehi Mohi was a guest with her daughter, Hineraukatauri, at Te Putanga Toi Arts Access Awards 2019. She and the organisation she founded, Raukatauri Music Therapy Centre, also received the Arts Access Holdsworth Creative Space Award 2019, presented by award sponsor Merrill Holdsworth of the Holdsworth Charitable Trust.
Raukatauri Music Therapy Centre was set up in 2004 by Hinewehi Mohi. Hineraukatauri has severe cerebral palsy and Hinewehi saw the life-changing benefits from the music therapy sessions she took part in during a family trip to London in 1999. Hinewehi wanted other New Zealanders to have the same opportunity.
The Auckland-based centre, which is New Zealand’s only music therapy centre, has recently set up regional centres in Hawke’s Bay and Northland, and earlier this year it expanded its Auckland services to include weekly sessions at Starship Children’s Hospital and the Mason Clinic, which provides forensic psychiatry services in Auckland.
And in August this year, it started a weekly programme at Hawke’s Bay Regional Prison.