Mana Wāhine showcased at Newtown Festival 2023

“He wāhine, he whenua ka ora te tangata.”

This year’s kaupapa for the Tangata Whenua Stage is dedicated to our wāhine, raising the profile of the importance of women, the connection to the land, and well-being of people. At Newtown Festival on Sunday 5 March 2023, come through to check out an all women lineup for the Tangata Whenua Stage.

Newtown Festival loves gender equality across the programme, and it is exciting to showcase a Tangata Whenua Stage lineup that is also packed with established artists, award winners, exciting emerging artists and more! Featuring AJA, Jaedyn Randell, Kirsten Te Rito, Mā, Mo Etc., Raiha Moetara, Te Kahureremoa, Wailan, DJ Ayesha and Te Kapa Haka o Te Kura o Ngā Puna Waiora. Read more about these fantastic artists below.

The Tangata Whenua Stage will be located on Riddiford Street, near Newtown School, kicking off with a Mihi Whakatau at 9:45am and ending performances at 5:30pm. Streaming live on the Āti Awa Toa FM Facebook page. 

A huge thank you to Te Māngai Pāho, Illumination + Optics, and Āti Awa Toa FM.

10:00 Te Kapa Haka o Te Kura o Ngā Puna Waiora – Newtown School
10:30 Reo Showcase ft. Raiha Moetara & Wailan
11:35 Mo Etc.
12:25 Jaedyn Randell
1:30 Kirsten Te Rito
2:35 AJA
4:45 Te Kahureremoa

AJA (Ngāti Raukawa, Te Āti Awa ki Whakarongotai, Ngāti Toa Rangatira, Ngāti Porou) debuted at Newtown Festival in 2020 and returns in 2023 to headline the Tangata Whenua Stage. Originally from Porirua, Aja Wairere is a te reo Māori teacher in Karori and an APRA Silver Scroll winner. Alongside Byllie-Jean and Chris Wethey, they were presented with the Maioha Award in 2022 for their waiata Te Iho. Te Iho, meaning ‘the essence’, “takes the listener on an epic journey from the celestial to the terrestrial as an ode to indigenous female deities and ancestresses”.

Jaedyn Randell (Waikato) is best known for voicing Moana in Disney’s Moana Reo Māori in 2017, and in 2022 returned to play Princess Anna in the reo Māori dub of Disney’s Frozen. After attending Hamilton Girls High, where she was Head Girl and Dux, Jaedyn gained a scholarship to study a Bachelor of Commercial Music at Massey University. Her continued passion for the revitalisation of te reo Māori saw Jaedyn release her first official single Patupaiārehe in 2021.

Kirsten Te Rito (Ngāti Kangungunu) is an accomplished solo artist, one half of ILLRIOT, and has leant her vocals to the likes of Little Bushman, WAI, Bliss n Eso, Rob Ruha, Louis Baker. Kirsten has two full-length albums and an EP all sung in te reo Māori. Debut album Te Rito (2012) made her a winner of Best Female Māori Solo Artist at the Waiata Māori Music Awards, and a finalist for Best Māori Album at the NZ Music Awards. Sophomore album Āiotanga (2015) saw a win for Best Māori Pop Album and Best Māori Urban Album at the Waiata Māori Music Awards, a finalist at the NZ Music Awards, and the waiata Tamaiti Ngaro was a finalist for the APRA Maioha Silver Scroll Award. Her latest offering is EP Te Kaitiaki (2020) which touches on issues of water ownership, mental health and poverty.

​“Native with headphones” Maarire Brunning presents hip hop duo . Self-confessed “hip hop nerds trying to keep it going,” blending an old school soul feel with modern flow and in the pocket beats, drawing inspiration from artists like Troy Kingi, Lauren Hill, and Tom Scott. Mā released their first album Breakfast With Hades at Kia Mau Festival in 2021, supported Avantdale Bowling Club’s Trees Tour (2022), and is composing for upcoming theatre show Witi’s Wāhine (2023).

Mo Etc., self-proclaimed “Wellydeep Alt-Soul”, combining Pasifika RnB and alternative music, is one of Moana Ete’s many projects. Moana (Ngāi Tahu, Ngāti Wheke, Rāpaki, Savai’I Samoa), as a multidisciplinary artist, is also known for her work as an actor. Trained at Toi Whakaari, Moana has been seen in acclaimed film One Thousand Ropes, and has won an Arts Foundation Springboard Award in 2020 where she was mentored by director Niki Caro. Falling in love with the music scene, Moana wrote and produced OCEANBED in 2021, and her latest single Underwater in 2022. Mo Etc. brings heavy and raw sounds, melancholy melodies, soulful bass and a rich and full instrumental atmosphere.

Raiha Moetara (Rongowhakaata & Te Aitanga a Hauiti) is an R&B/Soul singer from Manutuke, Gisborne. Studying performing arts at Te Wananga o Aotearoa, Raiha made a connection with Tyna Keelan from East Coast Music who produced and released the single And I Know in 2022. Inspired by life passions and “the feeling in your puku when you’re so passionate about something that drives you,” And I Know is an introverted soulful piece based on kaupapa and whānau. Keelan and Moetara are working together on her debut EP ‘Kōiwi’ due to be released soon.

Te Kahureremoa (Ngāti Kahungunu, Ngāti Tuwharetoa) is a Pōneke musician with an impressive number of strings to her bow. She’s a visual artist, an interactive educator, taonga pūoro performer, in addition to a singer-songwriter. Her musical compositions have featured across many platforms including film, theatre, educational resources, art installations, and live performance. Te Kahureremoa’s latest album Acts of Service, released in 2022, was produced by Neil MacLeod, who she met when they worked on a Pride show together. When speaking on Acts of Service, Te Kahureremoa states that “even if you’re not hearing it, every melody was created on a traditional Māori instrument.”

13 year old Wailan makes a huge debut at Newtown Festival. Watch out for this young rising star.

Tauranga-based DJ Ayesha brings her mash of Soul/Funk/Hip hop beats to the Tangata Whenua Stage. A regular on the festival scene, Ayesha’s passion for music grew out of her retail experience. Since then, she has accumulated years of experience playing around Aotearoa supporting artists such as Electric Wire Hustle, King Kapisi, Opensouls, Sola Rosa, Hollie Smith, Lisa Tomlins, Recloose, Mikki Dee, Iva Lamkum, Bella Kalolo, Vince Harder, 4 Corners, JDubs, LP and Ladi 6. She has also enjoyed overseas appearances at Glastonbury, City of London Festival, and AWME (Melbourne).

After the mihi whakatau, the Tangata Whenua Stage is brought to life by Te Kapa Haka o Te Kura o Ngā Puna Waiora. Made up of kids from Newtown School, this rōpū is spearheaded by kaiako Maraea Pukeke-Pine and is always a crowd favourite.

Tangata Whenua Stage 2023 Spotify Playlist
Newtown Festival website
Te Māngai Pāho website
Illumination + Optics website
Āti Awa Toa FM website
Āti Awa Toa FM Facebook