Ngahiwi Apanui Profile

Dr Maree Sheehan
15 Sep 2021

Ngahiwi Apanui emerged in the mid-1980s with Aotearoa, a band that championed te reo Māori in its songs (‘Maranga Ake Ai’) and actions. In the decades since, the roles Apanui has held have continued that vision, in broadcasting, the arts, music, education – and his own music making. Since 2015 he has been CEO of Te Taura Whiri i te Reo Māori, the Maori Language Commission.

Apanui (Ngāti Porou, Ngāti Hine, Te Whānau a-Apanui, Ngāti Kahungunu, Tūhoe) was brought up by his mother on the East Cape, the youngest of several brothers in a large family. “She formed my idea of what strength and power was,” he told Yadana Saw of Radio NZ in 2019.

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Ngahiwi Apanui - Kaupapa Māori and Reggae Music Part 1
Ngahiwi Apanui, far left, performing with his band The Aotearoa Allstars at the Botanical Gardens, Wellington, New Years' Eve, 2019.  
Photo credit: Ngahiwi Apanui Collection
Ngahiwi Apanui (centre) and The Aotearoa Allstars. 
Photo credit: Ngahiwi Apanui Collection
Ngahiwi Apanui, left, with Denys Mason, May 2018. 
Photo credit: Ngahiwi Apanui Collection
Ana Hī! - Ngā Taonga Mai Tawhiti (2016)
Aotearoa - Maranga Ake Ai (live version, 1985)
Ngahiwi Apanui, Tu Mai Ra (Jayrem 7" single, 1988)
Ngahiwi Apanui, Te Hono Ki Te Kainga (The Link With The Homeland) - Jayrem album, 1989
Ngahiwi Apanui - Kaupapa Māori and Reggae Music Part 2
Ngahiwi Apanui on stage at a Waitangi Day concert, Okahu Bay, 2006.
Photo credit: Ngahiwi Apanui Collection
Ngahiwi Apanui - Vision for contemporary Māori music
Aotearoa, from Rip It Up, April 1987. Ngahiwi Apanui is second from right; Joe Williams is on the far left. 
Aotearoa - Maranga Ake Ai (1985)
Herbs, Ardijah, Aotearoa and Dread, Beat & Blood. Taken in Whangarei at the last gig of a national tour with all four bands on 29 July 1986. The promoter was Hugh Lynn.
Photo credit: Simon Lynch collection
Ngahiwi Apanui in his role as CEO of Te Taura Whiri i te reo Māori – the Māori Language Commission –  photographed at the Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa, Wellington, c.2019 
Photo credit: Rebekah Parsons / RNZ
Ngahiwi Apanui performing at Titahi Bay, 2015. 
Photo credit: Ngahiwi Apanui Collection
Aotearoa, He Waiata Mo Te Iwi (Jayrem LP, 1987). 
Ngahiwi Apanui, E Tau Nei (Jayrem CD, 2002)
Aotearoa at the Musicians' Club, Auckland, 1987. In the centre, with guitar, is Ngahiwi Apanui; to the right of him is Moana Maniapoto. 
Photo credit: Ngahiwi Apanui Collection
Ngahiwi Apanui, second from left, with The Aotearoa Allstars, c.2019. 
Photo credit: Ngahiwi Apanui Collection
Trivia:

In 2016 Apanui, with James Illingworth and Kirsten Te Rito, wrote 'Ana Hī!' to support NZ's Olympic Team in Rio de Janeiro. It was recorded by Wellington kapa haka group Ngā Taonga Mai Tawhiti with an all-star group of musicians.

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Jayrem