Chris Cudby / Photo credit: Gil Hanly
/ Thursday 1st April, 2021 8:46AM
Written by te reo advocate, linguist and composer, Ngoi Pewhairangi (BSM) and Dalvanius Prime with the aim "to encourage young Māori to be proud of being Māori," Patea Māori Club have been announced as this year’s recipients of the IMNZ Classic Record Award for their groundbreaking 1983 single ‘Poi E‘. Sung entirely in te reo and set to an incredibly infectious groove, ‘Poi E’s iconic video co-directed by Waka Attewell and Paul Carvell notably anticipates the impact of hip hop in Aotearoa, showcasing breakdancing by young Wellingtonian Joe Moana.
Released by Maui Records, ‘Poi E’ reigned supreme at the number one spot on the NZ charts for four weeks and stayed in the top 40 for 22 weeks in 1984, a first for a song in te reo, and later re-entered the charts in 2010 after being celebrated in Taika Waititi’s film Boy. The song also received significant global recognition — NME named ‘Poi E’ its Single of the Week and Patea Māori Club toured the UK in 1984, playing at the London Palladium, the Edinburgh Festival and giving a Royal Command Performance. The subject of 2016 documentary Poi E: The Story of Our Song, Patea Māori Club will receive their much-deserved award as part of the 2021 Taite Music Prize presentation ceremony, happening at Tāmaki Makaurau’s Q Theatre on Tuesday 20th April.
Patea Māori Club member Maryanne Broughton remembers: "The release of ‘Poi E’ was a huge milestone for Māori music and was an extended dream of Dals and Aunty Ngoi’s to get our language back out there, to encourage young Māori to be proud of being Māori. It actually wasn’t popular with the older generation as it was not the traditional way of singing our songs but it was released at just the right moment, when young kids were learning and relating to te reo Māori via Te Kohanga Reo and our teenagers were jumping on the break dancing craze. Singing ‘Poi E’ meant the kids were using our language every day"
For more on Dalvanius Prime and ‘Poi E’ head over to Murray Cammick’s AudioCulture profile HERE.