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Riqi Harawira - Single/Video Review: Walk of Freedom

26 May 2022 // A review by Cathy Elizabeth

Musician, Support Worker, Maori Customs Teacher, Non-violence Facilitator, and basically all-round amazing human being Riqi Harawira (aka ‘Creative Native’) presents his new single Walk of Freedom with accompanying music video on 24th June 2022. This will coincide with the release of the full-length feature film Whina – ‘A biopic of the trailblazing Maori leader, Dame Whina Cooper, whose extraordinary life saw her break gender boundaries, champion the rights of Maori, and fight for the land - all the while staying true to her heart and her beliefs.’

It's truly something special to write songs about our heroes. It is a form of story-telling that, to my mind, puts a song like this into the realm of folk music; a tradition that dates back to our ancient roots. But the thrust of this song is definitely Rock Anthem!

Walk of Freedom opens with the blaring of sirens and the voice of a newsreader reporting on the breaking story; over 4000 people are descending upon Wellington, undeterred by the rain. Dame Whina Cooper then appears, declaring “We are marching to Parliament!”. Rock guitars roar and slide into an energetic drum riff, and the song is away galloping. Harawira relays the story of Dame Whina Cooper in both English and Te Reo Maori, and the video clip helpfully includes subtitles in English, ensuring that none of the message is lost.

The clip is a montage of historical footage, photographs, and sound bites from Dame Whina, that make clear her message and her mission, interspersed with footage of Harawira singing and slamming on his Guitaiaha (Guitar -Taiaha).

The track has passion and energy and is an easy and enjoyable listen. It will serve as a great tool to educate New Zealanders about our history and the events that have taken place, leading us to where we are today.

I, too, believe it’s important to elevate those who have stood up and fought for their beliefs; in this case the rights of those who have been disenfranchised from their land and culture in the wake of colonisation. These wounds have been far-reaching and still remain, affecting present generations.

And Harawira doesn’t just make music about these things, he is hands-on, putting his mana where his mouth is, working alongside those who are struggling, and educating people in traditional Maori ways. It is highly commendable work and I can’t overstate the amount of respect and love I hold for a person such as this. Fantastic job Riqi, keep rocking that Guitaiaha!


Ed's Note: Walk of Freedom does not feature in the feature film Whina.

Rating: ( 4 / 5 )
 

About Riqi Harawira

Riqi Harawira (Te Aupouri, Ngapuhi) has shared stages with some of the world’s biggest acts, Guns n Roses and Pearl Jam to name a few. The former lead guitarist and co-songwriter for popular 90’s grunge band Dead Flowers. He has collaborated with numerous Kiwi artists across his career such as Kings, Stellar*, DLT, Che Fu and Dam Native. Riqi Harawira is a Maori fusion artist and a guitar virtuoso who is passionate about telling stories about Aotearoa through his original music.

Riqi is a lover of guitar and passionate about playing it. A multi-instrumentalist, Riqi frequently melds te reo Maori and English with rock and grunge music, dabbling with covers of Jimi Hendrix, Tama Renata, Joe Satriani and performing the NZ national anthem and the Last Post with the healing voice of his guitar he calls Mareikura (named after a Ngati Kahungunu princess).

Immersed in music from a young age, his father, Rangi Hadfield (Rangi Harawira) was an international Maori entertainer who performed in over 65 countries and who taught Riqi the guitar.

Visit the muzic.net.nz Profile for Riqi Harawira

Releases

Mauri
Year: 2019
Type: Album
Sound of the Long White Cloud
Year: 2016
Type: Album

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