Whangarei teen thrash metal band Alien Weaponry are about to head out on a national tour to support their latest single sung entirely in te reo Maori.
Alien Weaponry - made up of lead singer/guitarist Lewis de Jong, 15, drummer Henry de Jong, 17, and bass player Ethan Trembath, 15 - released their single Rū Ana Te Whenua (The Earth Trembles) on June 30.
The video to accompany the single was released on Friday and since then it has already nearly a quarter of a million Facebook views and been shared more than 4000 times.
The song is about the de Jongs' ancestor, Te Ahoaho, who fought in the historic battle at Gate Pa, Tauranga.
In the 1864 battle, 230 Maori dug themselves into the hilltop at Pukehinahina and withstood the heaviest artillery bombardment the British army had ever delivered, resulting in a crushing defeat for the 1700 strong British forces and changing the course of history.
"When we were younger our dad would tell us stories about all sorts of events and battles as we were driving places," Lewis de Jong said.
"At the time we didn't pay that much attention, but now we incorporate those stories into our music."
The brothers, of Ngati Pikiao and Ngati Raukawa descent, attended a full immersion kura kaupapa Maori until the ages of 7, where singing waiata and performing haka were a daily routine; and about half of their songs are in te reo Maori.
"Thrash metal and te reo Maori are a great combination," Henry de Jong said.
"Both the style of thrash metal and its messages have a lot of similarities with haka, which is often brutal, angry and about stories of great courage or loss."
The band made headlines a year ago when it became the youngest act ever to be awarded a NZ On Air Making Tracks grant to record the song, which they originally performed at the Smokefree Rockquest and Pacifica Beats finals in 2015.
However, when the band won the national finals of both competitions in 2016, the release of Rū Ana Te Whenua was put on hold while they recorded and released four more tracks - Urutaa, Hypocrite, Raupatu and PC Bro - and played a number of sold out shows around the country to support them.
"Rū Ana Te Whenua was supposed to be our first single," Trembath said.
"But when we won Rockquest and Pacifica Beats, we had obligations to fulfil, and it was great that we got funding to record more songs, so even though it's been a long wait, it has worked out well."
On Saturday the band starts a seven-date tour to promote the single at the Totara St venue in Mt Maunganui; followed by shows in Palmerston North, Wellington, Nelson, Christchurch, Hamilton and Auckland in August and September.