Season 1, Episode 2

He Reo Tawhito

A conversation with Dr Ruakere Hond

Mōteatea is a centuries-old tradition of chanted song-poetry; a great literary and musical art form that expresses the powerful portrayal of storytelling and is reflective of the emotional depths of a Māori world view. Its vast richness is yet to be fully understood. 

In these eleven episodes, over three series, hosted by Crystal Edwards, we hold conversations with some of the world’s leading experts on mōteatea and ask them: What exactly is mōteatea? How has it changed since colonisation? What issues does it face today?

‘He Reo Tawhito’ is available on all major platforms.

Click any of the links below to listen.

This podcast is bilingual (Te Reo Māori and English)

“The authenticity, or the integrity, of those statements was retained because it was retained within a structure of rhythm, of tune, of collective knowledge. And that’s how we’ve been able to retain our information.” – Dr Ruakere Hond

Dr Ruakere Hond is a longstanding advocate of reo Māori revitalisation and a key supporter of the Parihaka community. He is a member of the Waitangi Tribunal and was instrumental in working to achieve reconciliation between the Parihaka community and the Crown. 

In He Reo Tawhito, a conversation about Mōteatea with Dr Ruakere Hond, Ruakere provides special insight into the mōteatea of the Taranaki region of Aotearoa New Zealand, where mōteatea is referred to as ‘waiata tawhito’. 

Ruakere explains that many mōteatea of the region were composed during periods of intense conflict in the 1800s: the Northern Raids, the Musket Wars, land confiscations, and the events at Parihaka had a tremendous impact on mōteatea, and the waiata composed at the time reflect and document this period of extreme hardship, strife, and disillusionment.

Ruakere describes some of the more common types of mōteatea found in Taranaki, and speaks about the value of mōteatea as a collective expression of a narrative, and as a strategic memory device with which to record and retain history. He also gives his personal thoughts on the new direction for mōteatea, and highlights some of the issues facing mōteatea composition and performance today.

Join our host Crystal Edwards for an illuminating look at mōteatea from a Taranaki perspective in this fascinating bilingual (Te Reo and English) conversation with Dr Ruakere Hond.

Host: Crystal Edwards
Guest: Dr Ruakere Hond

Links & Resources
E kore e pōuri tonu i Waitara
E ngā iwi o te motu nei
E rere rā te motu nei 

Production team
Producers: Toni Huata & Roger Smith
Sound Engineer: Phil Brownlee
Research: Dr Te Ahukaramū Charles Royal
Production Assistance: Ngahuia Maniapoto, Kelly Mata, Nina Lesperance, Jonathan Engle, Alpana Chovhan
Marketing: Leoné Venter
Executive Producer: Diana Marsh

Special thanks to
Dr Ruakere Hond and Taranaki whānui for E rere rā te motu nei and Piukara
Dame Hinewehi Mohi, Māori Television and Taranaki whānui for E ngā iwi o te motu nei
The Archive of Māori and Pacific Sound for E kore e pōuri tonu i Waitara performed by Rangimotuhia Kaatene
Thanks to Adrian Wagner and Te Upoko o Te Ika.
Cover Art: Kennedy Kioa Toi Faimanifo of Manatoa Productions

This podcast is supported by funding from Creative New Zealand.



© Copyright Centre for New Zealand Music Trust


Crystal Edwards

Hokahoka atu rā tēnei maioha ki a koutou katoa.

Crystal Edwards is a proud Ngāti Kahungunu woman who resides in the beautiful Hawkes Bay. She currently works for The Eastern Institute of Technology as an evening tutor, teaching Te Reo Māori over a range of classes.

From 2013 – 2020 Crystal worked as an iwi radio announcer and broadcaster for Radio Kahungunu. This role led her to Emcee work for Ngāti Kahungunu. She has hosted, emceed and entertained many events ranging from local community gatherings to national events such as Te Matatini Te Kahu o Te Amorangi 2017, The National Māori Music Awards and The National Māori Housing Conference 2020. She also coordinated an international Tā-Moko expenditure to Europe, travelling to six countries in 2018 with four Kahungunu Tā-Moko specialists.

“Ngāti Kahungunu has been the cornerstone to my success, and I am truly blessed to have built respect among my people. My network continues to grow, ranging from national to international contacts.”

Crystal’s latest accomplishment is being accepted as a member to Toast Masters International at the local branch in Hastings.

“I’ve always wanted to upskill in this area, simply because this is where I feel most comfortable and where my skills and talents lay.”

Crystal continues to be an emcee, host and public speaker, developing this talent by using Te Reo Māori as a vessel to showcase the events she is invited to.


Dr Ruakere Hond

PhD (Massey), MMS (Awanuiarangi)
Taranaki, Ngāti Ruanui, Whānua ā-Apanui

Dr Ruakere Hond is prominent in reo revitalisation initiatives with a particular focus on projects in Taranaki. After completing a Bachelor of Science at Waikato University, he shifted to teaching and has spent the last 30 years in Māori language acquisition through immersion with an emphasis on community learning and using Te Ataarangi – The Silent Way approach. His doctoral research explored Māori language revitalisation as a key element of Māori health promotion. Ruakere is a current Waitangi Tribunal member and has held governance roles in Te Taura Whiri i te Reo Māori – the Māori Language Commission and Te Mātāwai, the national community Māori language board.

Ruakere lives at Parihaka and, as a Papakāinga trustee, helps lead discussion among whānau and manuhiri at the regular monthly Parihaka gatherings. He is an active participant in development activities within the community such as the gardening collective and running wānanga for te reo Māori revitalisation and for kōrero tuku iho, such as waiata.

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