Rising Star Debuts at Waitangi

Feb. 11, 2021, 3:17 p.m.

Waitangi is often referred to as ‘the Birthplace of the Nation’, and for Ngāpuhi singer-songwriter Mohi Allen, it has marked the beginning of a new journey with his music.

He goes under the artist name Mr Rā and describes his sound as a fusion of soul, reggae and roots music. Kapa haka was what inspired his songwriting, first in te reo Māori, forming an outlet to express his thoughts and feelings. Something he says is difficult for rangatahi.

“It’s quite hard for us to speak up about a lot of things. Whether that’s our kare-ā-roto, whether that’s kaupapa that pertain to us as rangatahi, sometimes we’re just too shy or we don’t want to voice our opinion. But through music we’re able to voice those opinions and voice those emotions”, says Allen.

The 24-year-old is studying towards his Master's degree on the role that popular contemporary Māori artists play in Māori language revitalisation. He says a barrier for aspiring Māori musicians is balancing the Māori value of hūmārie (humility) and self-promotion.

After being invited to perform at Waitangi Day and taking part in live-streams by iwi and community-led groups over COVID-19 lockdown, Allen feels supported and ready to share his voice with the world.

His next mission is to connect with the right people to help enable his dream of producing an E.P.


For more on this story, watch the story above.

Tags: Waiata


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