Entertainment | Music

Rangatahi band releases provocative new single

2024 Smokefree Tangata Beats winner releases winning single ‘Rise Up’.

Members of a Flaxmere-based youth band are making their voices heard with their new original single Rise Up.

Te Whānau Puoro first performed their waiata on the Tangata Beats stage earlier this year, where they were crowned the winners.

“It was such a beautiful moment. not just for us as a band but for Māori culture,” guitarist Izrael Shields says.

Lead singer Shayne Te Kuru shared insight into the song’s core message, which they say was fuelled by the political climate Aotearoa is in.

Rise Up is about the demand for the return of our land, the importance of culture and the restoration of our language,” she says.

“The message we aim to convey is by coming together, we can rise above oppression. We hope our waiata will empower people and deepen their connection to ancestral knowledge.”

Established in 1996, Smokefree Tangata Beats mandates participants to infuse their performances with Te Reo Māori or a Pasifika language, instruments, dance, or movement, fostering cultural expression and original Aotearoa Kiwi music. Past successes of the event include artists like Nesian Mystik, Ria Hall, and Alien Weaponry.

The dedication of the six-person band earned them not only accolades but also $3000 worth of musical equipment from Rockshop NZ, along with the opportunity to record the single and produce an accompanying video with the support of NZ On Air.

Te Kuru says they plan on staying together for as long as they can. “We are taking this ride until the wheels fall off. We have no intentions right now of drifting apart.”