Regarded as one of our most significant voices, Moana Maniapoto (Ngāti Tūwharetoa/Tūhourangi-Ngāti Wahiao/Ngati Pikiao) has been at the beating heart of the country’s music scene for four decades.
A trailblazer and self-confessed “political junkie” who has never shied away from pushing boundaries, she first rose to mainstream prominence in 1986 when she released the song ‘Kua Makona’ (written by Dalvanius Prime & Ngamaru Raerino), blending the traditional with the contemporary.
The Invercargill-born songwriter and performer went on to form Moana and the Tribe in the early 2000s, shaping a unique fusion of waiata, haka and electronic-flavoured soul.
Since then, Moana Maniapoto and her band have played at hundreds of festivals and concerts around the globe. Their performances have been met with critical acclaim, helping to establish her and her music as one of the leading lights in Aotearoa music.
It’s a reputation only strengthened by countless accolades and awards, including in 2004, when Moana Maniapoto was appointed a Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit. In 2005 she was made a Lifetime Recipient of the Tohu Mahi Hou a Te Waka Toi Award acknowledging her leadership and contribution to Māori art. She is an NZ Arts Foundation Arts Laureate, and a Toi Iho-recognised artist. In 2008, she received a Music Industry Award at the Māori Waiata Awards for her positive contribution to Māori Music.
Moana Maniapoto continues to make music and perform in every corner of the globe. Her fifth album RIMA, produced by electronica whizz Paddy Free, was a finalist at all three major music awards in 2015 and named a Top of the World Album (Songlines UK).
The singer-songwriter has never rested on her laurels and continues to push boundaries through her music and cultural contribution. She is currently planning an ambitious international recording collaboration ‘Ono’ with female musicians from Canada, Scotland, Norway and Korea. And when she’s not on stage or making new music, she’s a documentary maker, a feature writer and an in-demand speaker at events around the world.
“Her achievements, which continue today, as an award-winning writer, artist, filmmaker, band member and activist are many and varied – but the unifying strand that runs through all of them is music,” says Hall of Fame Trustee Anthony Healey. “She has shown people here that music is a language to unify, educate, advocate, understand, inspire, comfort and forgive – and she has taken that message around the world, leading the way for artists everywhere, encouraging and empowering them to do the same.”