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Dame Hinewehi Mohi into Hall of Fame

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Dame Hinewehi Mohi, a renowned musician and producer, has been inducted into the New Zealand Music Hall of Fame. She is best known for her double platinum album Oceania (1999) and its hit single “Kotahitanga”.

Dame Hinewehi (Ngāti Kahungunu, Ngāi Tūhoe) learned te reo Māori from her father, who wanted to reconnect with his cultural identity. This journey began when she was 10 years old, listening to Māori records and mimicking singers like Isabel Cohen, which helped her develop her mezzo-soprano voice.

Her passion for music and language grew during her time at St Joseph’s Māori Girls’ College in Napier, under the guidance of Dame Georgina Kingi. Later, she studied Māori language and waiata at the University of Waikato with tutors like Sir Tīmoti Kāretu and the late Dr. Hirini Melbourne and Wharehuia Milroy.

This year marks a significant milestone for Dame Hinewehi. It is 25 years since her famous performance of the national anthem at the Rugby World Cup and the release of Oceania, an album recorded entirely in te reo Māori and produced by Jaz Coleman of Killing Joke.

Dame Hinewehi also initiated the Waiata Anthems project in 2019, encouraging artists to record their hit songs in Māori. She described this project as a privilege and a special experience for everyone involved.

Dame Hinewehi expressed her gratitude for the recognition of her life’s work, stating that music and waiata have always been her true passion.

She will be honored at the Aotearoa Music Awards on May 30th, with RNZ livestreaming the event on its website and social media channels.

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