In this series, we present our new composers. We are proud to introduce Rob Ruha.
Please tell us about yourself and what you do.
Nō Te Whānau a Apanui me Ngāti Porou awahau. Kei roto o Te Whānau a Apanui mātau ko taku whānau e noho ana.
I also have whakapapa connections to Ngāti Tūwharetoa, Rongowhakaata, Ngā Ariki, Te Arawa, Tainui, Ngā Puhi – Tahiti, Scotland, England and Ireland.
I love music in all its forms but I especially love group singing. The way it brings people together is powerfully beautiful. Ko taku whānau te hao o taku ngākau, nā, ko tā mātau ao Māori te puna o te oranga mō wā mātau mahi katoa. When I’m not doing my own music, I am helping out with kapa haka teams all over the country and especially at home on the coast.
I love Māori visual art and am a weaver and painter myself.
As a solo recording artist, I haven’t been in the game that long, only 5 years, but I have loved every second. I do music full time as an occupation and I think beyond any of the awards I have been fortunate enough to pick up, is my greatest musical achievement to date. I am currently in Tokyo Japan, collaborating with a Japanese J-Pop artist called Jay’ed and building opportunities for Māori Music in Japan.
Please choose 2-3 of your works/albums and tell us about them.
Kalega is a song inspired by hundreds of trips home to Te Whānau a Apanui for kapa haka training. At that time our whānau was living in Rotorua. On one occasion, I asked my children to take over the playlist for the trip. And as we headed down the windy roads to cross the Motu river they started singing their favourite songs to the top of their lungs. “Tangaroa whakamautai” by their aunty Maisey, “Aotearoa” by their uncle Stan, uncle Troy, aunty Mase and nanny Ria, “Maimoatia” by their idols and Paremata mēne by Parps.
Paremata mēne was lyrically inspired by a Tuini Ngāwai ditty about the relationship between the Ringatū faith and the great prophets of the West. My spin was around Māori relationships with crown regarding water rights and the role of Māori MP’s in navigating those dynamics. The skipping in the video by World Jump Rope Grand Champions is a metaphoric depiction of that navigation.
What are you working on at the moment?
I am always creating. Writing new waiata for others, for kapa haka, for choir, for me… my main focus music-wise for the rest of this year is to create for the sake of creating. In doing that, I have already written many many new works, i roto i te reo Māori me te reo o Tauiwi.
I have 3 international collaborations on the boil with A Tribe Called Red (Canada), Josh Tatofi (Hawai’i) and Jay’ed (Japan) who are all working towards releasing singles in 2020. I am also a part of some awesome community kaupapa like Te Paki o Autahi – a kapa haka hub based in Whangaparaoa, Ka Hao – a Tairāwhiti based, rangatahi lead youth choir initiative and Te Oati – a faith led music kaupapa I am collaborating with to release works in November.
Where can people connect with you?
My music is also available for streaming or download on all major online music platforms.
Would you like to tell us anything else?
He waka te waiata mō ngā whakaaro me ngā wawata o te iwi. He reo hoki mō te reo iti, he waha mō te wahangū. Ka mutu, he rongoa te waiata mō te hunga e mamaeroa ana, he okiokinga hoki mō te hunga e pōkaikaha ana. Inā te hirahira o ngā mahi a te kaitito: Te aronga nui o waku mahi katoa. Aku mihi aroha.
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