She isn't a household name yet. But Kaaterama Pou may not be anonymous for much longer.

At just 18 years old she's tipped to be the next big Māori superstar.

Her first single 'He Iti', filmed in Taiwan, is a pop song urging rangatahi all over the world to look to the teachings of their indigenous cultures.

"The whole meaning of the chorus is for everyone to come together. It doesn't matter if you are Māori, Pakeha or Chinese."


Te reo Māori is Kaaterama's first language. She is of Ngāpuhi and Te Arawa descent and grew up in Mangakahia, Northland, before moving to Rotorua for high school.

"I was born and raised surrounded by te reo. The only kura I went to is kura kaupapa Māori and kohanga reo," she said.

"Back in the days, te reo wasn't allowed to be spoken, our kaumātua and tipuna weren't allowed to speak Māori," she said. "So what I was aiming for is to get Māori out to the world, to get everyone speaking Māori. To learn our tikanga, our culture… it means a lot to me to sing in te reo Māori."

Her name, Kaaterama means Shine Your Light which is also the name of her debut EP released last month. It has five songs in both Māori and English.

"Filming in Taiwan was amazing… there are a lot of similarities between Māori culture and the culture there."

Kaaterama has loved singing since she was a child, inspired by her biggest influence, her Nan.

"She used to sing in the bath, and before you know it, I was telling her to shush!" her Nan, Peara Pou said. "It was getting too much."

"My nana taught me how to control myself because I was singing too loud. She taught me how to read music, how to play music, how to play instruments. We are in a band together called Te Reo o te Omeka, and we both play tenor horn at the Ratana church," Kaaterama said.


Kaaterama entered a singing competition when she was 14. She didn't win, but she went on to join the Māori group Maimoa Music, which clocked up almost 7 million views with their song 'Wairua'. Now she's going solo, using her music to inspire other rangatahi.

"I've seen so many of my cousins and family get into bad situations, like drugs or alcohol," she said. "For me, I want to be a big role model and to tell them 'there's a better world out there then doing drugs and alcohol. And if you don't know how to do it, there's help out there. For you to achieve the goals you want to achieve'."

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