Te Aupouri, Ngāti Maniapoto, Ngāti Wai, Armstrong clan, Aotearoa/New Zealand
“In my whānau, there are no strangers, just family we haven't met. This must be how we tell our stories, sing our songs... so that the audience feel the power of the waiata(song) as if they were one of us.”
- Waimihi Hotere
Waimihi Hotere is a creative connector. Her whakapapa - genealogy anchors her in the far north harbour of Hokianga, sweeps across to collect the tide of the east coast at Matapouri Bay then rides along the mighty Waikato river to Ngāti Mahuta and settles in the heart of the King Country in Ngāti Maniapoto. Waimihi began her training in voice from a young age whilst attending hui (gatherings) and tangihanga (mourning ceremonies) with her mother, grandmothers and great-grandmothers. Their innate ability to vocalise their emotions were the foundations of Waimihi’s sonic world. Waimihi uses those sound memories to build vocal scales and soundscapes for audiences to connect with te ao Māori (a Māori perspective) and the land.
Waimihi trained at the NZ Drama School and has a Master’s degree in Applied Indigenous Knowledge. She performed in and produced the Māori Troilus and Cressida, and recently appeared in the celebrated feature length film by wāhine Māori, Waru. Waimihi is also the vocalist for Nga Tae; an eclectic mix of taonga pūoro (traditional Māori instruments) by Richard Nunns and Horomona Horo and electronica by Paddy Free.
Back in Aug' 2016 at Pirongia Forest...
Our memories of Waimihi are sitting amongst Maungatautari and the Pirongia Forest, in stillness as she sung the Waiata Tangi out to the Kahikatea and Kauri trees, hanging out at her groovy flat above the downtown shops and inspiring raves with her partner and son, oh and fitting in with her schedule as Maori cultural teachers dropped by to structure the next cultural workshop and she organised her son’s Mahutonga’s upcoming acting film debut. (Which is out now so look out for – Waru). It was heart warming to hear from Waimihi that Mahutonga asked in a concerned tone are they homeless people, to which she had to answer yes! But don’t worry Mahutonga we are loving the lifestyle, we got to meet you.
An actor herself Waimihi is also respected Maori singer inspired by Waiata Tangi, which is a vocal style sung from the depth of spirit, a full bodied rich sound similar in the mood and style we heard Kekuhi sing in Hawai’i.
Waimihi also recorded three other songs in the Pirongia Forest Park which are soulful and moving, keep following the songlines evolution, as they will appear sometime, you have to hear them.
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