National | Music Chart

Top 10 Te Reo Māori waiata chart launches tomorrow

Te Reo Māori artists will now be recognised on a weekly basis on the official NZ Music charts.

Ngā Waiata Kairangi I Te Reo Māori O Te Rārangi o Runga will acknowledge the 10 biggest Te Reo Māori tracks by sales, online streams and airplay.

To be eligible for the official Te Reo Māori top-10 chart, vocals must be performed primarily in te reo Māori. A general rule is that at least 70% of all the vocals on a track will be in Te Reo to be considered.

The new chart is supported by Māori musicians across the country including internationally acclaimed singer-songwriter Stan Walker (Ngāi Te Rangi, Ngāti Porou, Tūhoe and Ngā Pōtiki).

“I can only explain the Māori experience, history and culture through Te Reo – to explain it in English is to diminish it,” Walker says.

“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.

Enhancing bilingual culture

“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.”

Singer/songwriter Huia Hamon (Ngāti Porou) says the development of a Te Reo Māori Chart is vital for cultural awareness and understanding.

“Te Reo Māori music is part of all of our upbringing in Aotearoa – after all, the names of most of our lakes, rivers and towns are in Te Reo Māori! Bringing our Te Reo Māori music into the spotlight is a way to further enhance our bilingual culture and bring more awareness to our native language musicians."

Award-winning hip hop artist Rei (Ngati Raukawa, Ngati Huia) says it’s great to see mainstream Aotearoa using more and more Te Reo Māori over the last decade.

“There's still a lot of work to do as we move past this current period of tokenism into one of normalisation, and an integrated chart highlighting te reo music will help achieve this – forcing programme directors to take more notice of what we're doing."

Embracing Te Ao Māori

Recorded Music NZ chart compiler Paul Kennedy believes the new chart will help to shine a light on the resurgence of Te Reo being seen in newly released music from local musicians.

“It’s encouraging to see the shift of the music industry toward supporting those who are writing, recording and producing waiata Māori. We need to continue championing musicians who create music in Te Reo Māori and recognise their achievements,” Kennedy says.

Recorded Music chief executive Damian Vaughan says the introduction of the new chart is a healthy indicator of where the music industry is heading.

“The fact that there are 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,” Vaughan says.

“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.”

The official New Zealand Music Charts are released weekly and can be found here.