News: Introducing Ria Hall New Single ‘Hawaiki’ Premiere



Hawaiki is Ria Hall’s fifth single in the build-up to Rules of Engagement, her long-awaited debut album.

The track, released 13th October, is a reflection of the themes that feature throughout the entire album – love and war in both traditional and contemporary contexts.

‘Hawaiki’ is an ode to our ancestors who traversed the great seas in the hope of new beginnings. It was initially conceived with neo-soul group Electric Wire Hustle, and was completed with Tiki Taane from  Salmonella Dub.
The concept of the album draws on themes of not only love and war, but also revolution and change. The inspiration and concept for the album comes from the New Zealand Wars of the 1800’s, specificially 1864’s Battle of Gate Pā (Pukehinahina). Known as one of the most important battles of the New Zealand Wars, the Battle of Gate Pā saw hugely outnumbered Māori defenders managing to hold off an experienced British force, and secure a famous Māori victory.

The inspiration comes from a letter from Henare Taratoa to Sir George Grey, outlining the manner in which the Battle of Gate Pā should ensue, and how both parties should conduct themselves during war. This code of conduct is where this project takes its name from.

As a descendent of the Tauranga tribes, Rules of Engagement will see Hall bring this to life both live and on record. The album features performances and production from Tiki Taane, Kings, Laughton Kora, Che-Fu and Electric Wire Hustle.

Rules of Engagement has been over five years in the making for Hall.
It is a piece of work which challenges the status quo, at times asking the hard questions, not in confrontation, but rather from an honest and deeply raw perspective. From the aftermath of war through colonisation to her own internal battles, it is an open expression, speaking to society on numerous levels.

The release of her debut self-titled EP in 2011 announced her arrival to the NZ music scene as a solo artist, and saw her win the New Zealand Music Award for Best
 Māori Album. Her infusion of hip-hop beats and layered vocals in both Māori and English signalled an artist both embracing and challenging multiple genres.

Staunch and resolute, Hall is an artist who is both fearless and comfortable in her own skin. The impending release of Rules of Engagement affirms Hall as one of the NZ music scene’s strongest voices with an album which moves effortlessly from hip- hop and pacific inspired beats to lush soundscapes and soulful crooning.

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