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Interviews: From the Archive – Matiu Te Huki

Here is another interview that Stephanie, one of our staff, did for ‘NZ Music Month’ for our He kōrero o te Wā blog a while back…

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Local musician Matiu Te Huki very kindly answered some (okay, a lot of) questions for us, and told us all about his music and his inspirations. Check it out!

Would you like to introduce yourself?
Ko Kahungunu me Rangitane ki Wairarapa oku iwi.
I’m also of Italian, Irish, Scottish and English descent. I’m a dad, I teach kapahaka in kindys and schools and love dogs.

Where are you from? How long have you lived in Wellington for?
I’m from Masterton, lived in the South Island for a while and I’ve lived just north of Wellington in Raumati South, Kapiti Coast for 8 years now.

What’s your musical background? What instruments do you play?
Started as a child on the ukulele, then guitar, sang my way through school in choirs and kapahaka groups. My voice is my main instrument and the guitar is the instrument I play to accompany my voice and to compose music with.

How did you learn? What made you want to learn?
A lovely old man called Pop Joe taught me to play for a couple years (from 10-12 years of age), I’ve been bluffing it ever since. I’m still learning. I learnt guitar because I love music so much and it’s easy to carry around.

In what ways have you drawn on your Māori lineage for inspiration for your music?
I really got into singing at Hato Paora Maori boys college. It gave me a real sense of identity and pride to stand and sing, especially in my native tongue. I still write songs in Maori and use haka, chants and traditional instruments in my music, more than ever now actually.

Are there any themes in your work? What are some of those?
My main themes are about revolution. Internal (evolving, loving oneself, letting go of fear etc) and external (Learning what’s really going on in the world, loving one another and standing up for our rights together…while we still have them).

Paekakariki Memorial Hall 2011

Where do you feel Māori music is at now?
I feel it is under-appreciated in this country by the music industry. In saying that, a lot of people are ready and hungry for it, especially overseas.

What do you enjoy most about performing? Anything you don’t enjoy about it?
I love connecting with people, uplifting their spirits, inspiring them with my themes and putting myself out there. I don’t really enjoy playing to drunk crowds anymore as I feel most of the time they’re missing the point.

Who are some of your favourite musicians? Is there anyone you look to for musical inspiration?
Warren Maxwell, Ria Hall, Louise Baker, DUB FX are a few that come to mind. I’m inspired by those who follow their hearts, break the rules, and play what they want, not what the industry says people want to hear.

Who have you enjoyed working with?
I loved playing on stage with Fat Freddies Drop for the experience of the big crowds, composing and recording with Anika Moa for her skill and voice and I loooooooove jamming freestyle with people and feeling things fall naturally and beautifully into place.

Will you be celebrating NZ music month?
I’m pretty much gigging every weekend at the moment, I feel I’m having a music year!

Favourite book?
Way of the Superior Man by David Deida.

What are you working on at the moment?
I’m developing my solo act, about to come in for winter and write some new stuff and getting ready to tour Europe in August.

If you could listen to just one song forever, what would it be?
Hmmmmm….. I think that would drive me crazy!

Are there any songs you’d like to cover?
I cover a few of my favourites, I’d love to play ‘Killing in the name of” by Rage Against the Machine. In the right environment, of course.

Do you have any up-coming Wellington gigs we can get along to? Where can we find out more?
I post my gigs on my Facebook page and my website is matiutehuki.co.nz.

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