"In the landscape of New Zealand music, one genre stands out: music by Maori artists, which is a solid cornerstone, and within itself powerfully diverse. One of the most distinctive, articulate and significant Maori voices is Moana Maniapoto who - first with Moana and the Moahunters and latterly as Moana & the Tribe - has taken her often politically conscious music to festivals across the world." (Graham Reid)
Long acknowledged for having consistently pushed the boundaries of Maori music in both her recordings and live performances, singer/songwriter Moana Maniapoto is a self-confessed political junkie whose lyrics are rooted in the NZ landscape, culture and experience - inspiring her to "produce her own blend of traditional and contemporary styles without compromising either (Graham Reid, music critic)." The NZ Herald described Moana & the Tribe as "the most powerful, enjoyable and important act on the mainstage at Womad 2014 delivering a thumping, visually powerful and cleverly calculated implosion of waiata, haka and electronic-flavoured soul-funk."
Formed in 2002, Moana & the Tribe has played hundreds of stages in Istanbul, Moscow, Florence, Berlin, Warsaw, Toronto, Venice, Shanghai, Seoul, Vienna, Toronto and Taipei. They have taken their haka-funk-dub-fusion to the Herodus Atticus (Athens), Sydney Opera House (Australia) as well as to the Montreux Jazz Festival (Switzerland), Sziget (Budapest), Sarawak and Norway. In July, the band performed in and around Glasgow 2014 as part of the "Boomerang Project" collaboration with Scottish and indigenous Australian musicians.
In 2004, Moana became the first non-American to win a major U.S.A based songwriting contest with her song Moko. Moana beat over 11,000 compositions to win the Grand Jury Prize of the International Songwriting Competition.
Moana is a recipient of the New Zealand Order of Merit (MNZM), a Life Time Recipient of the Toi Iho Maori Made Mark (denoting authenticity and quality) and received the 2005 Te Tohu Mahi Hou a Te Waka Toi Award from Te Waka Toi (Creative New Zealand) in recognition of ‘outstanding leadership and contribution to the development of new directions in Maori art.’
In 2007, Moana joined four other outstanding artists who were made Art Laureates by the NZ Arts Foundation. The following year, Moana was honoured by the Waiata Maori Music Awards for her special contribution to the Maori music industry.
Offstage, Moana is one half of an award-winning documentary team led by her partner and band member Toby Mills. Recent documentaries include ‘Guarding the Family Silver’, which screened in the National Geographic All Roads Film Festival and ‘The Russians are Coming’ which played at the Sydney Opera House during Message Sticks (2012).
The band toured across Europe in 2013, heading into Korea for the first time. In 2014, the band was invited to represent NZ in the tri-nation Boomerang Project, which was launched at Womad NZ, played at the Sydney Opera House then as part of the Glasgow 2014 Festival.
In an era defined by protest and challenge, singer/songwriter Moana is more compelled than ever to connect with audiences in New Zealand and around the world. Reaching back to her musical and cultural roots, Moana crafts songs destined to get feet moving, hearts feeling and minds thinking.
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