Maisey Rika finds inspiration in Rotorua springs

By Kiri Danielle,, Waiariki Journalism Student

Te Arawa songstress Maisey Rika has recorded her latest album and a music video in Rotorua.

Rika (Ngati Whakaue/Mataatua) recorded her third album Whitiora, a Maori language album, at Twisted Pole Studios in Hamurana, and the video for Tangaroa Whakamautai, a song celebrating the value of water and marine life, at Hamurana Springs.

Rika said she filmed the music video at the springs because they were beautiful and special.

"Hamurana Springs have to be the most clear, blue springs in all of Aotearoa," she said.

The video was also filmed on Whakaari (White Island).

"I have been looking out to Whakaari for most my life but it was my first time actually setting foot on her and what an experience it was. It was so beautiful yet haunting. It's a very spiritual and special place to Ngati Awa," she said.

Rika said she had wanted to write a song about water and approached a family member.

"I asked my uncle Erueti Korewha if he could help me write a waiata about our waters and sea creatures and their importance. It was by chance that it came out at the same time as the water rights debate, and I'm so proud to have it out there to teach people just how important and precious our taonga [treasure], the wai [water], should be to all of us," she said.

"The response from the public has been overwhelming to say the least. I got teary-eyed reading all the comments on YouTube and Facebook. I want people to see the beauty of Tangaroa [the ocean] and feel love for him and all of his children in the hope that they will respect him. Healthy waters equals healthy people," she said.

Whitiora was released in September and Rika said it was the first time she had tried her hand at the design of an album cover.

"It was very gratifying. It's exactly how I wanted it," she said.

"Whitiora is a labour of love. So many people came to tautoko [support] me on this journey including my uncles Leo Rika and Te Kahautu Maxwell, and Ruia Aperahama who all wrote waiata for it. My brother JJ Rika, Tama Waipara and Mahuia Bridgman-Cooper and I got together on some of the waiata and put the rangi [tunes] to them," she said.

Rika recorded E Hine E, a classic collection of traditional Maori songs, at the age of 13 as a student at St Joseph's Maori Girls College.

The album went double platinum and won Best Maori Language Album at the New Zealand Music Awards.

Rika went on to release a self-titled EP and another album, Tohu, and won four awards at this year's Waiata Maori Music Awards.

- Rotorua Daily Post

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