Maori artist Theia releases his new album Te Kaahu

Te Kaahu, which artist Em Walker calls his “beautiful haven” for his compositions in te reo Māori.

By Stefan Dimitrof of Maori Television

The talented Maori musical artist Em Walker (Waikato-Tainui and Ngāti Tipa), known as Theia, releases her new album te reo, Te Kaahu today.

She released her debut single, Roam, in 2016 and was nominated for three awards at the Vodafone New Zealand Music Awards in 2017.

Walker began her musical journey when she posted her music on SoundCloud and through “major determination” sent her music to be played on iwi stations and student stations “and it naturally took off from of the”.

Walker says she has two musical projects underway: Theia with alternative pop music, plus Te Kaahu, which she calls her “beautiful refuge” for her compositions that are in te reo Māori.

Walker says she grew up around kapa haka and that helped her create Theia and Te Kaahu.

“Te Kaahu is the combination of mātauranga that I was blessed with by my ancestors and kuia.

“When you are a passionate young Maori, it comes naturally.”

Te Kaahu’s album cover has a distinctive New Zealand style similar to colonial portraits. “Through this art, I want to present the embodiment of te kaahu’s kaupapa, which is to heal my people and heal this trauma that we have been through.”

“My aim and what I really want to show with Te Kaahu is to counter a lot of the tropes that we get from just being Maori and instead show the intelligence, vulnerability and passion of our people.”