There’s something about Moana Maniapoto’s music that keeps me coming back. I first heard it in the late 1980s, and have been happily listening to the albums and going to the gigs ever since. We first met in 1992 while working on a television project together, and we got on well. Following that I directed a few music videos for the Moahunters, and interviewed Moana a handful of times for various screen projects, so I felt pretty comfortable about asking her if she was up for doing a long-form filmed interview for AudioCulture.

Thankfully she was, so we sat down together one sunny afternoon in her studio at Muriwai, on Auckland’s west coast, and I filmed while she generously shared many stories – about her early life growing up in Invercargill and then Rotorua, studying in the Waikato and Auckland, singing in Auckland clubs through the ’80s, working with Dalvanius and then recording through the ’90s and beyond, performing internationally, collaborating with artists from around the world – and about balancing family and work, amongst many other things. This interview is now available to you here at AudioCulture.

I shot the whole thing on an iPhone, but with an upgrade in the microphone department. I like the simplicity of this format. It’s easy, flexible and unobtrusive. It was edited simply and minimally, with the intent of preserving a sense of that afternoon in her studio. So if you’re keen on getting a sense of what it might be like to hang out with Moana for an hour and hear some stories, then I reckon that watching the full version of this interview is for you. If you’re a bit more pressed for time, or just want to hear some of the individual stories, then we’ve included a handful of short excerpts from the full interview for you. Hopefully these shorter stories may tease you back to the full version. 

– Ross Cunningham 


Full interview with Moana Maniapoto


Part 1 - The South Auckland club scene


Part 2 - Activism & music


Part 3 - Dalvanius


Part 4 - The Moahunters


Part 5 - The Neville Brothers


Part 6 - Playing outside Aotearoa


Part 7 - Mōteatea


Part 8 - Whānau & mahi


Part 9 - Dalvanius was right