A kōrero with Jhaymeān of Ka Hao: Tira Waiata! OHOOHO #1
OHOOHO is a new column by Te Pararē that is all about inserting te reo Māori into our everyday lives. We highlight innovative ways Māori are normalising te reo, making it accessible to more people by planting it in new spaces beyond the traditional.
I tēnei wiki ka kōrero māua ko Jhaymeān Terekia. Jhaymeān is a tuakana in the new and soulful music group Ka Hao. She tells us about how Ka Hao inspires rangatahi and sets out to uphold te reo and tikanga Māori through music.
Ko wai koe, nōhea koe?
Ko Jhaymeān Terekia tōku ingoa, he uri tēnei nō Te Tairāwhiti whānui, nō Te Aitanga a Mahaki, nō Ngariki Kaiputahi, nō Ngāti Porou. Whānau mai au ki roto o Murihiku ki Waihōpai, ana, nō Ngai Tahu anō hoki ahau.
What is Ka Hao in a nutshell?
Ka Hao is a tira waiata of 24 rangatahi from the East Coast, aspiring to inspire positive change within our people. Our kaiwaiata are all kura kaupapa kids, all haka babies, and we channel that natural virtuosity into music, using it as a waka to kawe our kaupapa. Nā Rob rāua ko Cilla Ruha a Ka Hao i auaha mai, imparting their experience in the music industry onto us allowing us to ‘make magic’!
Where and how did you learn te reo Māori?
Ōku mātua. I māori mai te ārero mai i taku pihinga - nā te kura kaupapa māori au i whakatipu.
What drew you to participate in Ka Hao, and specifically music?
My aunty Cilla called me up one day and asked me to jump on and help start the tira, it was actually quite a daunting whakaaro at the time! I was fresh out of high school and studying toi, and never thought I would ever be confident enough to sing. But I have one persuasive aunty, nāna mātou ko aku hoa whakahaere i akiaki, believing we had the guts, the pūkenga and potential to make positive changes within our hāpori through music. Ka Hao opened the door into te ao pūoro for me personally, and now we work to open more doors for our rangatahi.
How does Ka Hao: Tira Waiata aim to normalise te reo Māori?
Mā te whakatauira! Taking not just te reo māori, but whakaaro māori into all spaces and all our projects. Our last project was the Mōhau album, all kaiwaiata māori, all in te reo. With the album receiving awards at the Aotearoa Music Awards last year and getting to perform our waiata māori live, broadcast to the entire country - what a meke way to infiltrate the airwaves! We work towards normalising our reo in mainstream media. Even if we record in pākeha spaces, if we’re working with pākeha, we take our reo and our tikanga in there and own it.
This year, we recorded our own album and wrote our own waiata from our unique māori worldview - we want māori music blasting through the radio stations, for the whole motu to hear te reo māori as a normal part of every day.
What are your future goals for Ka Hao: Tira Waiata?
So far we’ve been focussed on building our kids' confidence and skill sets, networking and providing them with opportunities that can be difficult to reach for our rural kura. With 3 years behind us and our kids starting to graduate high school, I’d love for us to be able to support future development for anything they want to do, especially in the creative industries where we have the mātauranga and resources to do this!
What challenges do you or your kaupapa face?
There's always the hard mahi behind the scenes, finding pūtea, feeding 30 kids for a wānanga, late nights on top of work, uni, and our own lives sorting all the logistics of organising our kaupapa maha ourselves. But that's the beauty of cultivating our tira to be a whānau, of whakaaro māori - so many hands and solutions to any challenges we face. Utilising the skills of our people as much as we can, we’ve got our mamas in the kitchen, uncles that design graphics, aunties in media production, cousins that do hair and makeup. It takes a village!
How can people get involved with or follow Ka Hao?
Follow our socials!
Youtube: Ka Hao: Tira Waiata
Ka Hao: Tira Waiata have released their first single '35' on Spotify, with a follow-up full album 'Ka Hao: One Tira One Voice' to be released on Sep 17th