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'Raukatauri-Te Puhi o te Tangi', Hinewehi Mohi's new album has been recorded to celebrate the artist's 20 year musical journey - from school concert party to celebrated Maori songstress.
A quiet, courageous and generous soul, Hinewehi has been the driving force behind the establishment of New Zealand's first independent music therapy centre. She has had a long career in television production and has raised a severely disabled daughter.
After meeting UK composer Jaz Coleman at the opening of his York Street Recording Studios in Auckland, the two began to explore fusing traditional Maori music with western sounds and rhythms. She continued to write and perform and work in television until the birth of her daughter Hineraukatauri in 1996. It was a difficult birth, the baby suffered brain damage and was later diagnosed with severe cerebral palsy.
Jaz Coleman told Hinewehi about how music therapy helps people with special needs and suggested it could be something significant for Hineraukatauri. Then, an opportunity brokered by Jaz and Universal Music led to the international release of 'Oceania', a first for a contemporary Maori album. While in London, Hinewehi and her whanau visited the Nordoff-Robbins Music Therapy Centre. It was immediately evident to her that music 'struck a chord' for Hineraukatauri and that therapy through music created an exciting platform on which to realise self-expression and communication.
On their return to New Zealand, Hinewehi and her husband George resolved to find a way to make music therapy available to Hineraukatauri and other children with disabilities. With the support of friends, the Raukatauri Music Therapy Centre was established in 2004 and now provides services for 200 children and adults with special needs.
Hinewehi has continued to write and record music for various projects, including more recent collaborations with musician Joel Haines. She continues to perform her music at special events around the world. Her latest album is a celebration of 20 years of Hinewehi's music making under the guidance of many mentors and is a tribute to Raukatauri - Te Puhi o te Tangi (the personification of music). She says she was particularly keen to do the album to pay tribute to two of her mentors who have since passed away: Drs Hirini Melbourne and Hone Kaa.
"My favourite song on the album is 'Hineraukatauri'. When Jaz first played me the tune on the piano, I immediately felt the emotion of it and wrote the words accordingly."
It is a measure of the woman's generosity of both spirit and means that all profit from her new album are being donated to the Raukatauri Music Therapy Trust.
4. Toitu Te Whenua
8. Kia U
1 sound disc : digital, stereo.
Raukatauri Productions Limited