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Red Contributor

Whirimako Black

Composer, Performer

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Whirimako, of Ngai Tuhoe, Ngati Tuwharetoa, Ngati Ranginui, Kahungunu, Te Whakatohea, Te Whanau-a-Apanui, Te Arawa, and Ngati Awa descent, has performed throughout the country and has six solo albums to her credit in just the last seven years.

Her debut album, Hinepukohurangi: Shrouded in the Mist , despite being independently released, won Best Māori Language Album at the 2001 NZ Music Awards and is now approaching gold sales status. A track Whirimako recorded for concept album 1 Giant Leap called The Way You Dream was subsequently licensed for worldwide use in the movie The Bulletproof Monk and has since appeared on several compilation albums.

Whirimako recorded and released herself a second album Hohou Te Rongo: Cultivate Peace in 2003. She says the inspiration for this album came from her daughter, Mihi Ki Te Kapua. "My whanau (family) are my puna - my source," she explains. "Each whanau member has a quality and values that fits in with me. In each area, they come through and tautoko (support) me. We all love music and I value all their opinions."

On her third album Tangihaku Whirimako Black is presented in an intimate recording with acoustic guitarist Joel Haines (brother of NZ jazz star Nathan Haines) and her long-time collaborator Justin Kereama on taonga pūoro (traditional Māori instruments).

Her fourth album was Kura Huna (May 2006). This extraordinary and evocative soundscape featured her voice and internationally renowned oboe player Russell Walder.

Her ground-breaking bilingual jazz album, Soul Sessions was the fastest-selling New Zealand jazz album of 2006 and earned her a spot as a finalist in the Best Jazz Album category at the 2007 New Zealand Music Awards.

A follow-up album, Whirimako Black Sings continued the successful recipe from Soul Sessions of taking jazz standards and giving them new life with her stunning vocal performances and Māori language translations. This album also subsequently became a finalist in the 2008 NZ Music Awards for Best Jazz Album.

In 2008 she toured with the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra (NZSO) and top kiwi dub outfit Salmonella Dub in an exciting show called Feel the Seasons Change. The show combined modern music and production values with the ancient arts of taonga pūoro, te reo Māori and the NZSO’s classical tradition. She then featured in a musical collaboration with a group of world-renowned Gaelic musicians that toured NZ and performed at WOMAD. Whirimako also performed on her own with the NZSO twice, did three shows at the Southern Hemisphere’s top world music festival THE DREAMING, several jazz festivals, the Anzac commemorations at Gallipoli and shortly leaves for a tour in Asia.

Whirimako Black has receved a number of awards for her music: – NZ Order of Merit (2006) for services to Māori music – NZ Music Award (2001) – Best Māori Album – APRA Maioha Award (2004) for her songwriting in te reo Māori – Te Waka Toi Award (2004) for her contributions to contemporary Māori music

Composed (79)

At Last

4m 52s

Autumn Leaves

4m 44s

Black Coffee

3m 32s

E Hine

6m 10s

E Kui Kūmera

3m 16s

E Kui Mareta

4m 34s

E Te Kai

3m 4s


3m 21s


3m 58s


4m 13s



If It's Magic

3m 32s


2m 14s

Kia Kaua Rā

4m 1s

Kua Tata

1m 42s

Kātahi Ti

7m 55s

Lover Man

5m 16s


4m 56s


4m 34s


5m 13s


1m 1s


4m 29s

On & On

4m 28s


3m 20s

Pou Hihiri

3m 46s


3m 59s

Taku Aroha

5m 57s

Taku Rākau

3m 52s

Taku Rākau E

2m 58s


5m 32s


2m 56s

Te Arohanui

4m 32s

Te More

5m 45s

Te Tini O Toi

5m 19s

Te Toa

1m 51s

Te Whiu

3m 53s

Tini Whetū

2m 59s


4m 20s


3m 9s


3m 10s

Performances (1)

Matariki Starlight Jazz Concert

‘Matariki Starlight Jazz Concert’ is being presented to you as part of Auckland’s Matariki Festiv...