Sa­cred mo­ment

Singer-song­writer Em-ha­ley Walker, who per­forms as Theia, is a fi­nal­ist in this year’s Voda­fone New Zealand Mu­sic Awards in Sin­gle of the Year, Best Pop Artist, and Peo­ple’s Choice Award cat­e­gories. She’s pic­tured with her kui ( grand­mother) Ran­gi­rara Rob

The Dominion Post - Your Weekend (Dominion Post) - - A Day In The Life -

“It was the first and only time I was able to go there with my kui. It was her brother’s 80th and she had in­vited me to come with her. We went to all of our marae and it was amaz­ing hav­ing her show me where she grew up. She grew up on Tau­ran­ganui Marae – a beau­ti­ful, pic­turesque marae on the banks of the Waikato river – in an army hut, from what I’ve been told. Her mother, Mite Kerei Kuku­tai, was a renowned com­poser. There was a gar­den that’s no longer there; they lived off the land. In the off-sea­son, they’d be in Kaikohe and var­i­ous other places with the muster, so they kind of lived with the sea­sons. That was un­til she was about 14.

It was amaz­ing meet­ing her older brother and also her sis­ter. I stud­ied and learnt the lan­guage at univer­sity; my kui was raised in Te Reo Māori. It was such a rare op­por­tu­nity to sit and hear Te Reo be­ing spo­ken and to speak with the aun­ties, and Kui, in Te Reo, was re­ally beau­ti­ful.

It was such a sa­cred and poignant mo­ment that I didn’t want any pho­tos taken – I didn’t want to kind of, break, that mo­ment – but I’m so glad some were taken, be­cause it was the first and only time I would get to be there with her.

Her ca­pac­ity for lov­ing was un­real. She was very tiny, short in stature, but huge in heart. She was very funny, and her laugh would res­onate as the Māori laugh does… She was very hos­pitable – who­ever she met, they’d al­ways be greeted with a huge hug. She was full of knowl­edge, but very hum­ble. You had to wait for the right mo­ment – she’d only say what she felt.

Her birth­day was the week be­fore she passed, and on her birth­day, she watched the Roam video. It was filmed in Kāwhia, part of the Tainui re­gion, and not too far from Port Waikato.

She was such a huge sup­porter of mine. She al­ways told me I was beau­ti­ful, and that was re­ally amaz­ing be­cause, I’m sure like ev­ery girl does, you strug­gle with your self-es­teem. So that was so cool, be­cause I thought she was most beau­ti­ful and sweet and qui­etly con­fi­dent per­son I knew.

At her tangi, I didn’t re­ally say any­thing, be­cause I found it so hard. But I sang Whakaaria Mai, which is How Great Thou Art in Te Reo. We did a haka as she was go­ing into the ground. Britt Mann

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from New Zealand

© PressReader. All rights reserved.