Season 2, Episode 1

He Reo Tawhito

A conversation with Kingi Kiriona

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

“He ao e taea noaihotia ana e tātou i ēnei rā te moemoeā.” [They belonged to a natural Māori world that we now can only dream of.]

In He Reo Tawhito, a conversation about Mōteatea with Kingi Kiriona, Kingi speaks about the era of our tīpuna who were born into a natural Māori world of which we can now only dream, imagine, or glimpse by understanding the lyrical depths that make mōteatea what they are—a means to express hurt, loss, adulation, and deep thought, as well as the remarks, rebuttals, and jeers that arose from events or situations of the time and came to be expressed through the views of the composer.

“Ki au nei ko ngā Mōteatea, ko tētahi matapihi ki te ao o tua whakarere.” [To me, Mōteatea are a glimpse into the authentic Māori world of olden/ancient times.]

Kingi also shares with us the story of Ngawaero and her people of Ngāti Paretekawa—the story of which ‘Te Pātere a Ngawaero’ was born. Kingi describes this Pātere as an exemplar of a traditional mōteatea, “He tauira tēnā o te tino Māori o te whakaaro.”

Join our host Crystal Edwards for this special bilingual (te reo Māori and English) conversation about mōteatea with Kingi Kiriona.

Host: Crystal Edwards
Guest: Kingi Kiriona

Links & Resources
Te Pātere a Ngāwaero
Te Karakia a Ruawharo – Tū Mai Awa
Te Mātāwai

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
Kingi Kiriona, Ngā uri o Ngāti Paretekawa, and Te Kapa Haka o Te Iti Kahurangi for Te Pātere a Ngāwaero
Dame Hinewehi Mohi and Ngāti Kahungunu for Te Karakia a Ruawharo – Tū Mai Awa
Kingi Kiriona, Te Kapa Haka o Te Iti Kahurangi
Māori Television for Te Mātāwai
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.


Kingi Kiriona

Ngāti Ruanui, Ngāti Kahungunu, Ngāti Apa (Te Mātāwai Appointment)

Kingi Kiriona is a leader of Māori language and cultural development. He is also an orator, a kapa haka exponent, composer and broadcaster. Kingi is co-tutor of champion Waikato kapahaka, Te Iti Kahurangi. He is also one of the first students and graduates of Te Panekiretanga o te Reo Māori, the National Institute of Excellence in the Māori Language.

Kingi is the founder and managing director of Tupu Ora Education and Development Ltd, which focuses on building Māori capability for iwi and public sector agencies. He has also been a Māori language consultant and presenter for TVNZ, Te Aho Productions, Kia Mau TV and Kia Ora FM radio.

* Photo credit: Erica Sinclair ​