First released in 1991, Toiapiapi astonished the musical world of Aotearoa. Never before had such a range of taonga puoro (customary musical instruments) been heard, alone or together, in recorded music. It signalled the arrival of new ways of making music here.
Toiapiapi combined poetry and musical performance. It joined the voice of reo Maori with the voices of nature, the sounds of customary Maori musical instruments with those of modern acoustic and electronic ones.
Now, 25 years later, when taonga puoro have again become a natural part of the musical scene in Aotearoa, we celebrate that pioneering recording in a CD compilation with this new edition of the original Toiapiapi publication.
It is also a tribute to the legacy of Hirini Melbourne (1949–2003), poet, musician, composer, scholar, and advocate for Maori language and culture and the creative arts.
Along with his deep engagement with the worlds of education and the arts, Sydney Hirini Melbourne (1949–2003) immersed himself in the creative expression of Maori language and culture and its musical forms. ‘Whose living breath will give you voice again?’ he asks in the waiata ‘Taku Putorino’, as he recalls his first encounter with an encased putorino in a museum.
Toiapiapi offered the first fruits of a journey of musical discovery, as well as an extension of Hirini’s exceptional writing and composing talents.
Today, his waiata are embedded in the repertoire of musical performance in schools and cultural groups in Aotearoa, and in the hearts of his whanau, his people and the many other lovers and admirers of his work throughout the land.
Whiti Ao Turoa
Waitangi te Tiriti
Te Kokota o Parengarenga
Tangi Mokemoke a Raureka
Pouri Nei te Rangi
Taku Putorino (sung by Hinewehi Mohi)
Te Hau, te Wai
Kia Kotahi Mai