Matariki is a time of reflection for everyone, songstress Ria Hall says.

The bilingual Māori singer is excited to be part of the Matariki Allstars 2018 concert which will celebrate the uniqueness of Matariki and feature some of the best up-and-coming artists in the country.

It's the first event of its kind which embraces the Maori New Year starring established and emerging Māori and Pasifika artists.

Event organiser Sam Hema says Ria Hall encompasses that kaupapa, and he had her in mind when he came up with the concert concept.


"She is kaupapa driven, the very heart of what she is doing is her culture, and that directs her art," he says. ''Matariki for me is a celebration of the new year based on the stars which represent for me the passageway for new kaupapa and for allowing tangata whenua to shine.''

For Ria (Ngai te Rangi), Matariki is a time of reflection. She takes the notions of Matariki practically, applying it to her future-planning.

''It's about being pragmatic with your time as much as possible, learning from the previous year and you implement those shifts, it's about forward planning.''

''I think it's a good learning and sharing time, spending time with friends and family, keeping warm and breaking bread. We can share stories, get a dialogue going and it's a good time to plant seeds again for the next year.''

Raised in Maungatapu, Ria says she's always been aware of the Matariki concept, and has implemented it more in the past few years.

''It's for everyone too, Matariki is for everyone to enjoy that space and that time.''

Ria is joined by musical line-up Laughton Kora, L.A.B, Israel Starr and guests. They're all friends — she knows local band L.A.B well and is a big fan of Israel Starr, Laughton co-produced a track her album Rules of Engagement and he will be touring with her and Tiki Taane in June before the Allstars.

Ria was born in Tauranga and spent time in Auckland and Australia before settling in Wellington. She has a background in kapa haka, fronted reggae band Hope Road and was a backing vocalist in Hollie Smith's live band and at Trinity Roots' reunion concerts. She is the cousin of Stan Walker and they released the hit Like It's Over together.

Ria's first musical memory was busking outside room eight at Maungatapu School with two pals, a ghetto blaster and some funky choreographed moves. She and her buddies would go from room to room, asking if the class wanted to see their moves.

Matariki is the traditional Māori new year and the emphasis is on preparing and planning for the year ahead. It is the Māori name for the cluster of stars also known as the Pleiades which rise in mid-winter.

The fine print
WHAT: Matariki Allstars 2018
WHERE: Mauao Performing Arts Centre
WHEN: Friday June 22, 7pm
WHO: L.A.B, Israel Starr, Laughton Kora, support by DJ Masive and Ria Hall.