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Tell Me WAI

From: Homelands Productions
Series: Worlds of Difference
Length: 03:54

To the sounds of Maori-influenced dance and techno music, musicians Mina Ripia and Maaka McGregor speak about their desire to move their culture forward rather than leave it behind. A tightly edited, non-narrated piece by producer Dmae Roberts. Read the full description.

Waiconch_small Dmae Roberts spent a month in beautiful Aotearoa in New Zealand, touring Maori towns and attending traditional performances and concerts. What stood out, she says, was the palpable sense of pride felt by both performers and audiences. It seemed a new pride, fresh and hopeful. And in fact she learned that it was new, having emerged largely after the Maori language became "official" in 1987. Dmae was especially impressed by how the revival of the language and the resurgence of interest in Maori traditions had not just boosted the morale of the Maoris, but of white New Zealanders as well. Everywhere in New Zealand, Maori is present alongside English in street signs, in advertising and on television. Every New Zealander she met used the Maori phrase kia ora an all-purpose greeting, goodbye and exclamation. Her piece features a couple, Mina Ripia and Maaka McGregor, who have toured the world playing modern popular music influenced by traditional Maori chants and rhythms. Image: Maaka McGregor and Mina Ripia

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Piece Description

Dmae Roberts spent a month in beautiful Aotearoa in New Zealand, touring Maori towns and attending traditional performances and concerts. What stood out, she says, was the palpable sense of pride felt by both performers and audiences. It seemed a new pride, fresh and hopeful. And in fact she learned that it was new, having emerged largely after the Maori language became "official" in 1987. Dmae was especially impressed by how the revival of the language and the resurgence of interest in Maori traditions had not just boosted the morale of the Maoris, but of white New Zealanders as well. Everywhere in New Zealand, Maori is present alongside English in street signs, in advertising and on television. Every New Zealander she met used the Maori phrase kia ora an all-purpose greeting, goodbye and exclamation. Her piece features a couple, Mina Ripia and Maaka McGregor, who have toured the world playing modern popular music influenced by traditional Maori chants and rhythms. Image: Maaka McGregor and Mina Ripia

Broadcast History

Aired 07/26/04 on NPR's Day to Day

Timing and Cues

INTRO: Musicians Mina Ripia and Maaka [ma-AH-ka] McGregor are Maoris, from New Zealand. But they didn't learn their ancestral language until college. Today they are part of a revival of Maori language and culture. Ripia and McGregor's group is called WAI [wye] -- the word means water. They sing almost exclusively in Maori. Producer Dmae [DEE-may] Roberts dropped in on them at their home near Wellington.

OUTRO: That piece was produced by Dmae Roberts for Homelands Productions. It's part of the Worlds of Difference series on global cultural change.

Related Website

http://homelands.org/worlds