What do kapa haka, chamber music and an award-winning contemporary composer have in common? Not a whole lot until now, but things are about to change.

In 2018 Orchestras Central Trust CEO Susan Trodden met with one-time Hamiltonian, composer Stephen Small to talk about possible collaborations.

As a result of numerous conversations, a world-first concert was developed, combining Opus Orchestra with the sounds of the rōpū haka, Te Mauri led by Rotorua's Rikihana Kingi, and complemented by contemporary te reo Māori pop group Kōtahi Te Wairua, whose lead singers Sharon Emirali and Gail Tipene are well-known performers at the Rotorua Lakeside concerts and for their work with Operatunity touring New Zealand.
Susan Trodden says the world premiere of Te Miha will be memorable.

"This musical encounter will merge the sound of cultures which will collide in striking harmony and we promise an unforgettable experience," she says.

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Te Miha will be in two parts — the first is a thoroughly modern treatment the myth of Ranginui and Papatuanuku, and the second, a setting of the Latin Mass incorporating the Te Reo Māori translation (known as Te Miha) as commissioned by the Pope.

The result will incorporate arrangements of heritage classical music works and allows the orchestra to engage with cultural traditions as never seen before.

The original score has been commissioned by Orchestras Central and written by Stephen Small, who will also be guest music director for the project.

"A key aspect of the 'portability' of the Mass will be the potential for songs of local iwi to feature within its form," says Stephen.

"And there is even potential in the future to develop this in other languages and further grow connections with other cultures."

The Latin settings in the work incorporate arrangements of heritage classical music works. For example, the Credo is a setting of the Latin text with the Schubert Impromptu hidden in it.

"Lovers of traditional classical music will be just at home at this concert as those who enjoy the new and different," says Susan.

"This musical encounter will merge the sound of cultures colliding in striking harmony and we promise an unforgettable experience."

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There's been a lot of excitement about this project already too.

"It's such a great opportunity to share the narrative of unity," says Michael Moore of Creative Waikato.

"And what better place to start that kōrero than from creation."

The concert is presented with support from Trust Waikato, WEL Energy Trust and Creative New Zealand.

Details
What: Te Miha
Who: Opus Orchestra, Kotahi Te Wairua, Te Mauri Kapa Haka
When: World premiere — 7.30pm Saturday September 7 Gallagher Academy of Performing Arts, Hamilton
Second performance — 2pm Sunday September 8, Destiny Theatre, Rotorua

■ Tickets and more information: www.orchestras.org.nz