• When: 8th Mar 11:45am
  • Where: Tangata Whenua Stage
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It’s been a busy season for Upper Hutt native Maaka Fiso. Named the best male solo artist at the 2016 Waiata Maori Music Awards where he released two EPs, ‘Written In The Stars’ and ‘Moeke’, through Waatea Music. A natural performer with a smooth, soulful voice, his brand of slick pop and soul landed him a top spot in the line up of Christmas in the Park.

Maaka Fiso was also a 2019 finalist in the Best Traditional Album, Te Reo Māori, for his work on the new album, Ngaro. Maaka said he was humbled to be a finalist again. It is his 8th time as a finalist. He said the new album focuses more on his journey over the past few years, full of highs and lows.
“And at various points I’ve felt a little lost. But as Lauryn Hill once said, ‘I had to lose myself, to find myself’, which is the main theme behind the track with Rei,Ngaro.” Maaka highlighted two other songs on the album including Koe koe ra and Kahurangi.

“Koe koe ra is about finding the ‘one’. That one person you can’t stop thinking about no matter how hard you try to get them out of your head. 
“Call it love, call it lust, I’ll let the listener decide that for themselves, but it’s about the memories you make with that person and never forgetting about how that person influences your life.”

Kahurangi was based of the whakatauaki: ‘Whaia te iti kahurangi, me he tuohu koe he maunga teitei. Strive for the best. Should you bow to anything, let it be to a lofty mountain’. “I think I was at a point where I wanted to be more proactive in every aspect of my life and not just musically but also in terms of health and wellbeing.” He said the song encourages people to “never settle for anything less than you deserve”.  “That can be hard to get a grip on sometimes. Maori have this ‘whakaiti’ mentality, always humble and never wanting the spotlight. I had to learn that even though I didn’t ask for the recognition or fame, or awards, it’s all part of the job and part of a bigger purpose.”

Maaka is of Ngati Porou, Ngati Kahungunu, Ngai Tuhoe and Samoan descent and said he’ll be attending the awards this year with his whanau.