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Sounds of Tīrama Mai

Music, Ngā Toi Māori

If you have visited Tīrama Mai over the weekend, as ell as the dazzling lights, you will have heard some of the unique sounds accompanying the light festival.

The sounds of Tīrama Mai have been created by local musicians to complement the light  installations and two of the sound artists involved in the festival have shared their thoughts on the compositions:

Henare Kaa’s Waitaha:


A place I call home

I’ll leave this here for someone

Someone new


Kia ora, kia ora



Whanau is where the heart is

It was left right here by you

He Waka eke noa

Whanau is where the heart is

It was left right here by you

He Waka eke noa


Verse 2:

Ko Aoraki te mauka

Ko Waimakariri te awa


Chorus 2:

Whanau is where the heart is

It was left right here by you

He Waka eke noa

Whanau is where the heart is

It was left right here by you

He Waka eke noa


Waitaha is a song about celebrating new beginnings and what Matariki has given us.

The lyrics pay tribute to the Ngai Tahu dialect and to the mighty maunga and strong awa that we hold dear to our hearts.

It is 2022 and what a time to be alive. We have been through a lot in Waitaha but we always bounce back because we work as one whānau.

He waka eke noa! Just like we did in the earthquake, the March 15th shooting, and through Covid. We are strong here in Ōtautahi and I believe it’s because our mana whenua are strong, diverse thinking and diligent.

We are also open minded and Waitaha has been the birthplace of so many legends. The soundscape pays tribute to everything I see as a Cantabrian.

Some of the influences in the soundscape are:


  • The drum and bass vibe represents our biggest genre here In Waitaha
  • The Humming pays tribute to our might tane and wahine of Canterbury rugby
  • The whistling represents the cool breeze that’s rolls through the hills in the Banks Peninsula
  • The layered guitar represents the rakuraku that I heard in kohanga and at Aranui High School growing up. It also represents my late great mentor Aaron Tokona who represented us Māori in Ōtautahi every time he took the stage.
  • The wavey piano represents the ripples of the Avon river and the Waimakariri river
  • The lyrics are a tribute to Matariki and what she has left for us and what we as the people of today will leave behind for the whānau of tomorrow


Anita Clark

Anita is a sound artist and composer based in Ōtautahi. She created two pieces of music for the installations and hopes that sound can become more appreciated as an art form.

Her inspiration came from the installations themselves.

“The large koru surrounded by reeds gave me the idea of movement. I wanted it to sound like an ambient piece of music, where it felt like you were actually in the swamp, with the reeds and the wind moving around you. I wanted it to feel dense and rich.

I went to Zealandia in Wellington, which is a bird sanctuary and recorded samples of the birdsong. I also incorporated samples from the DOC website  – so you can hear native frogs and ruru and other bird songs.

The other piece is completely different – a mirror ball installation. But the two pieces are within earshot of each other, and hopefully the compositions work together well. While the Koru is dense and full, the mirror ball is sparkly and light.

I think adding sound to any other media really uplifts the whole experience and helps anyone seeing the work really immerse themselves in it.”


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