Te Whaiao

Te Whaiao

Hirini Melbourne & Richard Nunns

CD $30 BUY




MP3 $15 BUY


Epsilon Blue, Victoria Kelly, Warren Maxwell, Lee Prebble, Farmer Pimp, The Nomad, Unitone Hi Fi, Pitch Black, Sola Rosa, Rhian Sheehan, Salmonella Dub, SJD, Chris Macro

Produced by Chris Macro and Tim Gummer

Best Mäori Album - 2007 NZ Music Awards

While he was still with us, Hirini Melbourne expressed a hope that the waiata would find new voices, new rhythms, and new listeners. And so Te Ku Te Whe (“the woven mat of sound”) is unrolled again in Te Whaiao

Through its layering of digital textures and live performances, Te Whaiao (“daylight”) opens a new window into a space in our shared musical consciousness. The music on the superb CD has been created with respect and aroha.

Ko Te Whaiao he ropu whakaari moemoea e whakahou ana i te hopunga tipua o Te Ku Te Whe a Hirini Melbourne raua ko Richard Nunns, ara, to raua hopu niwhaniwha i nga taonga puoro, i whakaputaina e Rätara i te tau 1993.

I te wa e ora tonu ana a Hirini Melbourne, i whakaputaina e ia töna tümanako kia whanau mai i te waiata he reo hou, he ungeri hou, a, he kaiwhakarongo hou.

Kati, ko te Ku me Te Whe, te whariki raranga o te oro, e wharikitia ana i roto o Te Whaiao. Ma ana oro whakapaparanga me öna whakaputa ora, e whakatawheratia ake ana e Te Whaiao, he tirohanga hou ki te whatu manawa I titoa Te Whaiao i runga i te mauri o te ngakau mahaki i te mauri hoki o te aroha.



In 1994, Hirini Melbourne and Richard Nunns walked into a recording studio to make an album that marked the culmination of 30 years of travel, research, korero, composing and performing. The studio was booked for two weeks, but after a day and a half, the album was finished. Te Ku Te Whe went on to become the definitive recording of taonga puoro (the traditional instruments of Mäori), and a defining statement that foreshadowed the widespread growth of Maori culture in the decades to follow. In 2002 the album reach 'gold status' for sales in New Zealand, and remains Rattle's most successful release.

Richard and Hirini continued to perform over the coming decade, but weren’t to record again until late 2002 when, with Aroha Yates-Smith they recorded Te Hekenga-ä-rangi. At these sessions, Hirini talked about exploring new approaches and contexts for their music, in particular the introduction of beats and digital manipulation. Shortly before the release of Te Hekenga-a-rangi, Hirini died of cancer.

Some years went by and Hirini’s musings stayed with us. It took some time to get our heads around how a remixed Te Ku Te Whe might sound, how to approach such a project, and who to involve. The very thought of ‘messing’ with a recording that in itself was by now a recognized taonga, seemed almost irreverent. Yet, the idea of the sound being frozen like a museum artefact was antithetical to spirit of discovery that drove Hirini and Richard in their commitment to literally unroll their whariki (mat) and bring the taonga to life.

As a hands on ‘art music’ label with an overtly naturalistic acoustic focus, Rattle had never produced anything even remotely downbeat or electronica orientated. Furthermore, we’d determined that the narrative structure of the original Te Ku Te Whe would be vital to the integrity of remixed version. It was only later that we noticed how rare the replication of an album structure was in any of the remix albums we could think of. In asking a dream-team of remixers to reinterpret the music, without reference to the preceding and following tracks, we really were expecting a lot. 

The remixers we approached responded positively, with a generous musicality, and with nothing less than the utmost respect for the wairua of the original music. And so, with the blessing of Richard Nunns and Hirini’s whanau, Te Whaiao opens a new window on taonga puoro for a new generation.


RAT-D014 (September, 2006)

This project was made possible with the support of Te Mangi Paho.


 1 Takapau Horanui 1:14      Chris Macro
 2 Raukatauri 3:36      SJD
 3 Tumatakökiri 4:07      Unitone HIFI
 4 Hau 4:25      Chris Macro
 5 Köau 3:41      Rhian Sheehan
 6 Porotiti 4:55      Epsilon Blue
 7 Tangi Köauau 4:05      Lee Prebble
 8 Pürerehua 3:07      James Duncan
 9 Poiäwhiowhio 4:13      Sola Rosa
 10 Wai 6:51      Warren Maxwell
 11 Ororuarangi 4:20      Farmer Pimp
 12 Te Pö 5:07      Pitch Black
 13 Tangimokemoke Ä Raureka 4:12      The Nomad
 14 Homai Ö Ringa 3:23      Victoria Kelly
 15 Te Ao Takapau Tuwhara 4:25      Salmonella Dub


album contributors

epsilon blue

Aotearoa's most luscious dance producers. The debut Epsilon Blue album Waterland was released in 1998 and took our ears on a journey from urban adrenalin to the spacious west coast beaches.

'Waterland' featured the student radio hit 'One In A Million' which enchanted the Summer on '99 and Gathering favourites 'Two As One' and 'Seed' (which also featured on the first Gathering CD).

Of the album We Have A Responsibility To Our Shareholders, he says: "I really wanted to bring this music back to the body, back to a body in motion... that's why there's chunky beats for the first half of the CD. I wanted to get out of the head and into the body for awhile. So I started out writing body music then of course the head had something to say... I started thinking about the body and I thought about this body of earth flying through space that we call our planet earth.

"Then coincidentally I heard a CEO on the radio talking about having to restructure their company, how he had a responsibility to his shareholders. i.e. generating them a dividend by generating a profit. I thought how much this line was used by those that see money as the only valuable bottom line to measure things... how it can discharge them of any responsibility to our shared environment, community, and basic rights.

"When there are other equally if not more appropriate bottom lines. Then I thought how we (humans/animals/insects/plants/birds etc) are all shareholders in one giant planet called earth in a big dance called life, and how we have a responsibility to those shareholders.

Techno-trance group epsilon-blue is one of the most established and popular groups amongst the NZ electronic dance music scene. epsilon-blue has a reputation for creative, uniquely beautiful music and strong ethical and political views. They are enjoying both critical and underground success as a recording and performing electronic group.

Playing to thousands around New Zealand from full club performances, to massive open air parties, to intimate private excursions over the last 4 years. (

farmer pimp

Brainchild of producer Mark Michel, Farmer Pimp comprises vocals (Claire Holmes), upright bass and spoken word (Mark Michel), synths and keys (J.P Muir), violin (Mahuia Bridgeman-Cooper) and drums (Alex Simeti), this fresh mix of instruments and styles is sure to move body and soul.

Farmer Pimp have received strong B-net support starting with their first demo, ‘Good Thing’, reaching #10 on the Alternative National Charts where it remained for 13 weeks. The song, subsequently snapped up by Loop, and released on their compilation ‘Loop #5’, also reached #2 on Radio Active in Wellington. Most recently, new song ‘The Little Death’ has reached #8 on the Alternative National Charts, and the EP already the 25th most bought release on The NZMIC Charts.

Having received a new recording grant from NZ On Air, Farmer Pimp released their second single ‘Celebrate’ in conjunction with their video, enjoying a good deal of airplay over all the major television networks. Since then Farmer Pimp have seen numerous songs charting well around kiwi stations.

Farmer Pimp have returned from a successful tour of Wellington and Palmerston North playing with Shihad, Rhombus, Odessa and Module. The band clocked up a good range of gigs around Auckland in the last year including appearances at the Studio, Rakinos, Safari Lounge, BFM’s Summer Series, a New Years appearance at Resolution ‘05’, and New Years ‘06’ at the Aotea Centre. With TV appearances on Coast and Top of the Pops, a gig at NZ Musicians 100th Issue Anniversary party, and nominated for ‘Most Promising New Act’, at the B-Net Awards, and playing launch of NZMIC Music Month, Farmer Pimp are ready to spread their bitter sweet sound all over NZ.

hirini melbourne

Hirini Melbourne is from Tuhoe and Ngati Kahungunu. A writer of stories, a composer, singer and academic, Hirini is a significant figure in the revival of the Maori language, with dozens of his now classic waiata sung in classrooms throughout Aotearoa.

Hirini’s early musical experimentation soon extended to a fascination with the traditional Maori instruments which he had initially seen only in museums. He subsequently met Richard Nunns, and since 1989 the two have regularly performed together on marae, and in galleries, in concerts and in festivals such as WOMAD and the New Zealand International Festival of The Arts.

As Associate Professor Te Tari Maori at the University of Waikato, he was a respected scholar and his prolific writings form the core of Maori language sections in libraries throughout the country. A member of the NZ Film Commission and of the NZ Music Commission, Hirini also composed music for various festivals, productions and orchestras. He served with Te Waka Toi and on the Arts Board of Creative NZ. His extensive knowledge of te reo, the history of Tuhoe, and of music has enhanced the profile of Maori arts.

Hirini died early in 2003 after a year-long battle with cancer.

james duncan

As the song shudders towards a close, SJD's guitarist, James Duncan, crouches over a row of effects pedals, batting them with his hand, twisting knobs that give his chords a glossy sheen and make them stretch out like well-chewed toffee. Audience incomprehension is now total." ('Top of the Pops' review by

After various bands James went on to creating demented soundscapes and wild plasti-pop crossover tunes with a simple home PC and an electric guitar. Nowadays when he is not playing effected guitar for SJD, he can generally be found hiding out in his home studio where he is currently producing his first album, which is shaping up to be a strangely cohesive collection of the melancholic to the triumphant.

lee prebble

Lee’s track record includes engineering and co-producing albums for: The Black Seeds, Trinity Roots, Fat Freddy’s Drop, The Phoenix Foundation, Cornerstone Roots, Twinset, and more. Prebble also mixed Dave Dobbyn’s recent album the highly successful Available Light.

He grew up in Central Hawkes Bay, in the small town of Waipawa, before studying radio broadcasting and working at Marmalade Audio for 3 years. He likes fruit, whiskey, dogs and cars but is not a bogan anymore.

pitch black

Having pumped their way through New Zealand's electronic music scene since their inaugural performance at the annual Gathering New Year's eve festival in 1997, Pitch Black has spent the last eight years rousing dance floor punters, generating rave reviews, winning awards and gaining thousands of fans across the world.

Hard to box into a single audio 'genre', Pitch Black is a combination of musical journeys, created by Paddy Free and Michael Hodgson. Their sound is distinctive; ranging from organic ambient beginnings and layered soundscapes to skanking keyboards, cutting acid riffs and thumping rhythmic grooves, with dub being the glue that holds their sound together. One critic has described them as like "Richie Hawtin meets King Tubby, or Rhythm and Sound in Technicolor".

Debut album Futureproof was released in September 1999 and rose to the top of the New Zealand electronic charts, despite no marketing or advertising. The second album, Electronomicon, followed in August 2000, and led to a sell out 30-date tour of New Zealand and Australia. Both albums spawned remix projects, featuring mixes by local luminaries such as International Observer, Epsilon Blue and Downtown Brown.

In 2004 Pitch Black released Ape to Angel to critical acclaim and the subsequent Ape tour was the biggest yet with 42 shows across the world, including debut performances in America.

While the remix album, Halfway: Between Ape & Angel has now been released in New Zealand, the original album will be released in America, Europe and Japan in summer 2005.

Halfway offers a diverse range of musical styles created from the beats, noises and sounds of Ape to Angel. Maintaining the original Pitch Black grooves and dub fx’s, the broad range of remix artists have deliciously layered the beats and influences of deep tech, drum & bass and ambient rhythms to their tunes. (

rhian sheehan

Rhian Sheehan is an acclaimed New Zealand based producer of sublime downbeat cinematic-style electronica and expansive multimedia live performances.

  • · He has released three albums. His debut album Paradigm Shift has been released in the UK and throughout Europe to critical acclaim. His second album Tiny Blue Biosphere is due for release in UK/Europe.
  • · Rhian Sheehan’s music has appeared on an array of major international compilations including the massive selling legendary Café del Mar series (volumes 10 & 11). His music has also been heard on MTV and BBC television.
  • · Leading UK magazine Future Music recently tipped Rhian Sheehan as “The Next Big Thing” in electronic music.

Sheehan creates hauntingly beautiful electronica. A voice asks; “How did the universe arise?” and the response is a vast field of sound breaking into oceanic sweeps of rhythm. High concept perhaps, but Rhian keeps his feet on the ground, and blankets the listener in warm fields of tone, bleeps and pulses.

Rhian blends the acoustic with the electronic to create a rich melodic journey with broad emotive sweeps of real strings that marshals a world of sound from both machines and acoustic instruments, and creates a unique sense of his own musical geography.

richard nunns

Richard Nunns has been researching and performing on traditional Maori instruments for many years. He has performed solo and with Hirini Melbourne on marae throughout the country, as well as in galleries, concerts and on ceremonial occasions, including the opening of Te Papa.

Richard was born into brass bands, but as he grew older sought refuge in jazz and improvised music. His interest in indigenous music led to a more specific passion for traditional Maori instruments. In twenty-five years he has collected a family of over seventy traditional Maori instruments representing thirty-four distinct types.

Touring regularly, he has been able to collect many stories, exploring the instruments’ ritual and ceremonial use. In taking them back to the people, a considerable body of knowledge has been revived.

His musical and ethno-musicological expertise has seen him perform around the world. As well as authoring literature about the instruments, he has performed with such varied artists as Moana and the Moahunters, Deborah Wai Kapohe, Pitch Black, Evan Parker, Marilyn Crispell, Alexa Still, Mike Nock, the NZ String Quartet, The NZSO and film projects including Lord of the Rings. He has appeared on a number of Rattle releases, including Tühonohono. with Judy Bailey and Steve Garden.

salmonella dub

Salmonella Dub blends a hybrid of skanking roots reggae, low rolling dub bass lines with drum n bass breaks in a distinctly Pacific style. Salmonella Dubs 4th LP "Inside The Dubplates" is by far the most seamless recording to date. The LP captures the bands diverse musical styles with elements of the X factor from the groups live shows. The LP has been released in New Zealand, Australia, France and Belgium through Virgin Records, and has gone double platinum in New Zealand. The group have also received awards for Top live band, Best international achievers and for the engineering work on Inside the Dubplates.

The LP has just been also completely remixed released as "Outside The Dubplates" by Groove Corporation, Dj Digital and Spirit, Dreadzone, Mad Professor, Adrian Sherwood, 10 Sui, David Harrow,ZionTrain, DLT and Jagwah for a European release and tour in July.

The bands 3rd LP Killervision produced by David Harrow saw the band further dabble into the world of versions, teaming up with Mad Professor, James Hardway, Pitchblack, DLT, The Nomad Son.Sine and others to rework tracks.

These dub and dance versions combined with video releases saw Killervison go Platinum in NZ. It picked up a number of prizes at campus radio B-net awards and was released in Australia, France and the Middle East. The bandsupported these releases with tours through Australia on the "Big Day Out" circuit, a tour to France for the Transmusicales Festival and a mission to Dubai.

Salmonella Dub began in the summer of 1992/1993 when Andrew, Dave and Mark applied reggae rhythms and bowel stirring basstones to a handful of bad taste covers. Salmonella Dub's first show was a mixture of covers from Fred Dagg to Nancy and Lee plus some original material in the Westport Racetrack tearooms with EST on January 13th 1993.

Over the course of 1993 the band with the aid of Ice Mac and his soundsystem worked the Dux de Lux and Steel Magnolia bars with percussionists Marcus Puentener and Craig Allen. Later in the year they hooked up Pete Wood on Keys and Trumpet and Conan Wilcox on Sax and percussion.

This line up remained constant for their first 3 independent recordings and releases. The band toured NZ regularly and teamed up to do shows with Mad Professor, African Headcharge, Alex Patterson, Infectious Grooves amongst others.

Around the time of the THC Winter release Pete Wood left the band to move to Auckland and their current sound engineer David Wernham left to work with Shihad. Tiki Taane was the last member to join the band and was quick to learn the Dub ethic extending the mixing desk further into the realms of musical instrument.

With the release of their 2nd LP Calming of the Drunken Monkey the band began using Virgin music as a distributor, toured Australia regularly and began links with more European artists.


sjd produces disarmingly music uninterested in high-octane dance-floor posturing, opting instead for beautiful melodies that move in a decidedly more sublime manner. sjd's music is typically a combination of electronic and live instrumentation, with songs featuring a bevy of fine New Zealand musicians contributing.

In 2003 sjd was thrust into the spotlight after years of touring support and assisting production for the likes of Shayne Carters' Dimmer with the debut of his hugely popular Lost Soul Music. Full-length, and increasingly prolific appearances on television and in advertising then followed through to the release of follow-up Southern Lights in 2004, followed by an inspired set of guest remixes of the same under in the Southern Light Pic’n’mix Edition.

sjd has also notably contributed to Dimmer's successful album You've Got To Hear The Music, and with Don McGlashan and Edmund McWilliams, he co-produced Don McGlashan's 2006 album Warm Hand and wrote I Will Not Let You Down which is on the album.

sola rosa

The Sola Rosa story began long, long ago, in the formative mists of 1980s synth-pop and 1990s practice rooms, culminating in the pre-Sola band, Cicada. With the new century breaking its waters and demanding wholesale change, Andrew Spraggon gave the world the Sola Rosa Starter for 4 EP. Hand-made and hand-sold, all copies were successfully merged into discerning CD collections all over New Zealand. So now, the second release –traditionally more of a challenge – really had some work to do.

Entrance to Skyway EP, followed up in style garnering Andrew the Best Independent Release award at the New Zealand’s annual indie-radio awards, the bNets, before being re-released by Festival Mushroom Records and selling four figures nationwide.

One tune in particular, the hypnotic masterpiece, 'hi five', achieved massive airplay and appeared on the Round Trip Mars 'Sideways' collection of Auckland artists going “elsewhere”. The subsequent international release of that compilation (Different Drummer) has seen the track licensed to compilations worldwide and stirring up a storm on its own.

Now safe in the arms of a record label, the debut album, Solarized (FMR), was released in 2001 after 18 months in the making. The album received excellent reviews, proving popular saleswise on both sides of the Tasman, and winning Best Electronica Release at the 2001 New Zealand Music Awards.

The second album, Haunted Out-Takes (FMR, July 2003) was another award-winner, taking the Best Downbeat Release trophy at the 2004 bNets, as well as receiving excellent media reviews and figures to match.

Sola Rosa’s live presence became very much in demand, leading to festival and club dates at home and Australia. And where he couldn’t go, the labels lined up to license tracks. Wherever you live, you can now check out Sola Rosa’s jet-setting reputation both on CD and vinyl, courtesy of the combined power of Ministry of Sound (UK/Australia), Guidance (US), Round Trip Mars (NZ), Different Drummer (UK) Stereo Deluxe (Germany) and Satellite K (Spain).

The latest album, Moves On was released in 2006. The title of this latest CD is an explicit statement rooted in the reinforcement and of the Sola Rosa experience. It’s all about a bigger, more human sound achieved by the recruitment of a full band for both the recording and touring of “Moves On”. No more flying solo, at least, for now.

As tight as the proverbial drum, the Sola Rosa band members are all highly experienced in their individual fields, and those of Dimmer, of Trinity Roots, of Chè Fu, of Nathan Haines, of Fat Freddy’s Drop, of Anika Moa, and King Kapisi . (

the nomad

The Nomad (AKA Daimon Schwalger )is no stranger to New Zealanders that know anything about original Electronica. The Nomad has been around since the late 80's, DJing mainly Hip-Hop and old school beats, in any venue that has a set of speakers. He has toured with many major local and international acts and in 1996 produced his first track with Pearl Runga and Ryan Smith as part of  Locust in Christchurch.

After releasing one track on a compilation titled 'On The Beating Track', Daimon decided to start his own project - The Nomad.

The Nomad's first album 'Movement' was released in 1998 ad co-produced by Tiki from Salmonella Dub. It was one of the first drum n bass albums to be released in New Zealand, and also a self-funded, independent album. which gave The Nomad the required skills for producing future albums.

In 1999 The Nomad released his second album 'Second Selection'. A more downbeat, dub type of album. 'Second Selection' demonstrated the importance of changes and movement for The Nomad as a producer. The album features such artists as Farda P from Rockers Hi Fi, Lotus, Charmed 1, and MC Antsman to name a few. Daimon also shot a video for the track 'Where Are You?' and then won an award at the BNet 2000 Music Awards for Best Dub Hip-Hop Reggae Release.

Shortly after came a move to Wellington where he released the 'Concentrated' EP, also through Festival Records. The EP contains three Nomad originals and three remixes from Subtropic (UK), Downtown Brown and 50Hz. In 2001 when he dropped 'Level Three', The Nomad took control again and released the album through his own label Fresh Produce.

'Step 4th' captures an exciting expansion of personal skills, musical ideas and audio production with The Nomad directing the traffic in true beat-scientist style. The foundation is built around layers of live instrumentation fused into tracks that twist and wind over a rugged impulsive body-grooving soundscape. It was time again to focus on his own music and to ensure he brings something new to the party.

'Quinessence' is an excellent example of the growing quality of New Zealand music production and innovation. 'Quinessence' is the product of many years of tinkering and tweaking beats in the studio. A recent injection of inspiration really put the soul into the music. The Nomad has collaborated with an array of local talent, handpicked to compliment each track. "I worked with some really talented homegrown musicians on this album as well as mixing in the distinctive beats and accents of several international artists," he says.

Singers and players featured on the album include British-born vocalist Pepsi of Wham fame, Tehi Mana (Fat Freddy's Drop), Imon Star (Rhombus, Olmecha Supreme), Rio (TrinityRoots, Scribes Of Ra), Mark Tyler (Salmonella Dub), MC Kyla (GND), Hamocane from Samoa and OG, to name a few. (

unitone hifi

Unitone HiFi are Rootsman DJ Stinky Jim, Dutchieman Joost and Mo'Delay Angus McNaughton. All experienced dub-mysters from their past projects, Nemesis Dub Systems, and Sound Foundation. Between the three, releases have been abundant, Unitone tracks can be found on compilations "Deep in the Pacific of Bass" on the Deepgrooves label, Serenity Dub 1.1am, released on incoming!, King Size Dub Volume 2, on Echo Beach records(Germany), Crooklyn Dope Consortium Volume 2, released by Wordsound Records(NYC) and the upcoming release of Trace Pacific Express by Volume records(UK) due for release in January 1997. The Hi-Fiers also go under the alias of 'Crazy Baldheads' more electronik dancefloor orientated toons.

'Boomshot' is the third album by Unitone HiFi released on German label Incoming! who are famous for their outstanding and innovative Serenity Dub compilations. After the huge success of their remix album 'Rewound and Rerubbed', which included remixes by Rockers HiFi and Funki Porcini Unitone continue to push the boundaries of looseness and slide the listener in to fully fledged dubwise ecstasy.

Stinky Jim says: “We are definitely making the music we want to... For me Unitone HiFi is the kind of sounds Id like to be able to DJ with even if someone else was making them. Any Dj who makes music will be motivated by his own turntable perspective and experience, however with the heartical HiFi we also have the benefits of production and musical backup(from Joost and Angus) that easily equals my fifteen years behind the decks”

“If there were four points on the Unitone compass the would probably be New Zealand for the vibes, NYC for the blunts beats and boom, Jamaica for the origins, the future, and the total devotion to sound science and London for the ability to mix all of that shit up and stay standing”

warren maxwell

Warren Maxwell may be best known as singer with TRINITYROOTS which established itself as a leading act in the New Zealand music scene. The band produces a contemporary sound with roots in the guitar/vocal melody and harmony of reggae, a rock-steady groove and the improvisation of jazz-schooled talented.

The band released two highly acclaimed albums, True and Home Land and Sea, which reached Platinum status in New Zealand with virtually no advertising or media attention. The title track from Home Land and Sea is a heartfelt anthem to Aotearoa and refers to the New Zealand Government's refusal to back down over the controversial Seabed and foreshore legislation and the purchase of land from interests overseas.

Trinity Roots played alongside international acts including Ben Harper, Lee Scratch Perry, The Mad Professor, as well as local bands such as Fat Freddys Drop, Salmonella Dub and Che Fu.

Warren also plays saxophone with Fat Freddy’s Drop, but his own new band is called the Little Bushmen. "It's a three-piece, more along the lines of a psychedelic, out-of-it styles." he says. Having been blown away by Little Bushman's early tracks, Dave Dobbyn was first in line to get Warren Maxwell's new band to open his latest tour.

victoria kelly

Victoria Kelly is an award winning film composer and musician. After completing her undergraduate degree in Auckland, New Zealand, she completed post-graduate studies in film scoring at the University of Southern California, Los Angeles, under the tutelage of Elmer Bernstein, David Raksin and Christopher Young. Although her focus is film composing, Victoria also works as an arranger, performer and producer. She has collaborated with some of New Zealand’s most renowned artists including SJD, Nathan Haines and Shapeshifter.

Victoria's contemporary classical music has been commissioned, performed and recorded by many of New Zealand’s leading performers and ensembles including NZTrio, the New Zealand String Quartet, Stroma and Michael Houstoun. For her work in film and television, she has received numerous nominations and won two New Zealand Screen Awards. Her most recent work has included co-composing the music for the television series "The Almighty Johnsons" with Sean Donnelly, performing in her band 'The Bellbirds' with Don McGlashan, Sean Donnelly and Sandy Mill and directing the music for the Opening Ceremony of the Rugby World Cup 2011.



Review from NZ Musician, June/July 2006

'Te Ku Te Whe' by Hirini Melbourne and Richard Nunns was an album [that] Rattle initially thought would fall under the radar. It ended up being their biggest seller and going gold, an achievement which might long stand as a milestone for the small Auckland label. Responsible for bringing traditional, pre-European Maori instruments out of museums and into the CD players of music lovers, 'Te Ku Te Whe' also features Melbourne's lilting waiata.

Ever interested in re-contextualising music and encouraging cross-genre experimentation, Rattle has released 'Te Whaiao', a remix album of 'Te Ku Te Whe' with artists working in downbeat and electronica territories, putting a new spin on Melbourne and Nunns' material. Sola Rosa, Pitch Black, Epsilon Blue and Rhian Sheehan are among the artists who have contributed.

The project was the brainchild of Jacquie Baker, partner of Dubious Bros' Chris Macro while she was doing a spot of work for Rattle. "Between Chris, Jacquie and myself, we worked out what artists we thought would be appropriate to contribute," explains Tim Gummer, Rattle label manager. "It was a matter of trying to figure out who would be right for each track." Each artist cunningly comes with a ready-made audience, the perfect springboard to unleash the music of 'Te Ku Te Whe' on a bigger, more mainstream audience.

Gummer says he chose the artists because he felt downbeat music would work respectfully with the original music, and it's the kind of music he gravitates to. "There is a real breadth of sonic textures that aren't in the original mixes, bringing in everything from full-scale electronica to dub. It really adds another dimension but doesn't change the value of the original track," he says. A year and a half in the making, the remixes are varied but all retain a deep, sparse and haunting atmosphere. Completely accessible yet interesting 'Te Whaiao - Te Ku Te Whe Remixed' is the kind of album which rewards repeated listening.

SJD brings his Kraut rock edged soul to Raukatauri, the slightly dark leanings of Pitch Black work beautifully with Te Po and Warren Maxwell's simple, minimal style compliments Wai. Real standouts are James Duncan's blissfully prog, warm rendering of Purerehua and Chris Macro's deep, slow-burning and doomy Takapau Horonui and Hau. Gummer says the only real brief the artists were given was to keep the music downbeat and to be respectful with Melbourne's voice. He also says it is a delight to allow musicians to work with a style of music they mightn't otherwise get a chance to explore. "Some of the artists have said, 'You really pushed me, but I'm grateful,' and that's fantastic," he enthuses.