Season 1, Episode 3

He Reo Tawhito

A conversation with Dr Wayne Ngata

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.

Please note: This podcast is spoken in te reo Māori

“Ko te mōteatea o te ngākau, ko te māteatea o te ngākau.” — Dr Huirangi Waikerepuru

Dr Wayne Ngata is a strong supporter of the revitalisation of te reo Māori and education models underpinned by Māori processes. He is a specialist in Māori literature and a practitioner, composer, and advocate of Māori performing arts — particularly haka and mōteatea. In 2021, he was appointed a Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit (MNZM) for services to Māori and education.

In He Reo Tawhito, a conversation about Mōteatea with Dr Wayne Ngata, Wayne shares his perspective on mōteatea from Te Tairāwhiti (the Gisborne region of Aotearoa New Zealand), where mōteatea is flourishing. He speaks about the invaluable work of Tā Apirana Ngata and Pei Te Hurinui Jones who, over a period of forty years, collected and recorded hundreds of mōteatea, compiling them into the treasured four-volume series Ngā Mōteatea.

Wayne speaks in detail about his personal favourite mōteatea and provides a range of mōteatea examples from around the North Island. He shares his perspective on why mōteatea has survived throughout the ages and speaks about his personal experience as a composer of mōteatea today.  

Join Dr Wayne Ngata and host Crystal Edwards for this fascinating te reo Māori conversation about mōteatea.

Host: Crystal Edwards
Guest: Dr Wayne Ngata

Links & Resources
He oriori
Ka hura
Mangarara Takapau
Paikea (Karakia Whakakau)
Te Tangi a Rangiuia

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 Wayne Ngata for He oriori
Dame Hinewehi Mohi, Dr Wayne Ngata and Ngāti Porou for Pōpō and Ka hura
Dr Wayne Ngata and Hauiti Tangi Tirarau for Mangarara Takapau
Te Kapa Haka o Whāngārā Mai Tawhiti for Paikea (Karakia Whakakau)
Hauiti Tangi Tirarau for Te Tangi a Rangiuia
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 Wayne Ngata

Ngāti Ira, Ngāti Porou, Te Aitanga a Hauiti

Dr Wayne Ngata is active in the revitalisation of te reo Māori and education models that are underpinned by Māori processes, and is also a specialist in Māori literature and long-time advocate for Māori art.

Dr Ngata helped establish Māori Studies at the Tairawhiti Polytechnic (now EIT Tairawhiti) in the 1990s. Together with Te Aitanga a Hauiti, he has developed strong working and research relationships with regional, national and international institutions in the areas of indigenous art knowledge. He is a practitioner, composer and advocate for haka and mōteatea. He is a practitioner of waka hourua navigation and voyaging, participating in the Te Waka Tapu voyage from New Zealand to Rapanui, and in 2019 had a leadership role in the Tuia 250 commemorative events in New Zealand.

He has helped develop health programmes with a Māori approach, including the Atua Matua Māori Health Framework and The Horouta Collective for Te Hauora o Te Aitanga o Hauiti. He has had several academic, management and governance roles at EIT Tairawhiti, the MacDiarmid Institute, the Ministry of Education, Te Whare Wananga o Awanuiārangi, Te Taura Whiri i te Reo Māori, and the Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa.

Dr Ngata is a Board member of Te Kura ā-Iwi o Mangatuna and the Tertiary Education Commission, and Board Chair of Te Taumata Aronui.

According to DPMC, “the New Zealand Order of Merit recognises New Zealanders who have given meritorious service to the Crown and Nation, or have become distinguished by their contribution to their individual fields.”

* Photo credit: Michael O’Neill