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Red Contributor

Hinewehi Mohi

Composer, Performer

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Hinewehi has tribal affiliations with Ngāti Kahungunu and Ngāi Tūhoe. Born in the Hawke's Bay town of Waipukurau, she attended St Joseph's Māori Girls' School in Napier. Hinewehi attended the University of Waikato in 1982 to study a Bachelor of Arts, majoring in Māori, and graduated in 1985. As a student, she was an enthusiastic learner of te reo Māori and the performing arts, and she was a member of Te Whare Wānanga o Waikato Kapa Haka.

In 2015, Hinewehi was awarded the University of Waikato Distinguished Alumni Award for her commitment to the betterment of her country through philanthropy and performing arts and for her contribution to Māori.

Hinewehi's contribution to New Zealand society began in the television industry, and is still involved with producing Māori content more than 30 years later. She’s worked as a researcher, presenter, director and producer on Māori-focused content that has added to and reinforced the growing movement of Māori culture and language revival. She continues to work in the industry, producing Māori content for television and digital platforms through the production company she runs with her husband.

As a singer and songwriter, Hinewehi has released three albums. Her first, Oceania, was released to great acclaim in 1999. It was described as 'a beautiful collection of haunting melodies' and was the first contemporary Māori language album to be released internationally.

In 1999, while promoting her album in London, Hinewehi was asked to sing the New Zealand national anthem at a rugby game in Twickenham. She chose to sing the anthem only in Māori, attracting media attention in the process. While the anthem had been sung in Māori many times, it was the first time it had been sung at an international rugby match, and it is now customary to sing the anthem in both Te Reo Māori and English at important events.

Hinewehi is well-known for her passion for music, and her belief in its therapeutic power. After her daughter Hineraukatauri was born with cerebral palsy, Hinewehi established the Raukatauri Music Therapy Centre in 2004 to support children and their families with music therapy. The centre helps people with a wide range of special needs including developmental disorders, intellectual and physical disabilities. As a co-founder and trustee, Hinewehi is a tireless fundraiser for the Raukatauri Music Therapy Centre and since its creation the centre has gained ongoing support from several high-profile New Zealanders.

Alongside her achievements in the performing arts and a commitment to philanthropy, Hinewehi has been described by those who know her as a woman of remarkable strength and character. In 2013 she was a semi-finalist for New Zealander of the Year, and prior to that in 2008 had been named a Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit for her services to Māori.

Composed (20)


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Kia Ū

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Toitū te Whenua

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