Toni Huata
/ Categories: Updates, Press Release



 A music makeover has paid off for an indigenous diva after her first ever chart success.

Wellington-based singer-songwriter Toni Huata launched her fourth album, ‘Hopukia’, late last month (July) – her first in the dub and electronica genre, her first bilingual collection of songs and her first in collaboration with top New Zealand musicians Paddy Free and Gareth Farr.

The 10-tracks in two languages – Māori and English – debuted at number seven in the official New Zealand album charts and rose to number 3 over a four-month period from July to November in 2012. <‘Hopukia'  also went straight to number five in the top 20 Independent Music New Zealand album charts.

After performances at the recent Pacific Festival of the Arts in the Solomon Islands and the album launch at the beginning of Māori Language Week in Wellington, Huata has toured countrywide and is planning an international tour to the Aistral-Asia-Pacific territories.

Toni attended the Australasian World Music Expo in Melbourne – an event which attracts industry buyers from local and international music markets as well as concert goers – and she recently showcased at Sounds Aotearoa in Auckland during the Auckland Festival. Toni also was a feature on the Aotearoa stage at the Pasifika Festival whilst she was there.

Huata (Ngāti Kahungunu, Rongowhakaata) says her first three albums – ‘Te Māori E’, ‘Mauri To’ and ‘Whiti’ – were unique contemporary Māori language recordings which were well received on the national and international world music circuit.

Hopukia is an exploration of talent, genre and culture – there is something which will appeal to any taste – and I feel honoured that we have struck a chord with our audience as well as our new followers.

“To rate on the Kiwi music charts is a great achievement for a Māori album and testament to everyone’s hard work – from those involved in the production to the pre-launch season of shows to the ongoing distribution and sales.”

Funded by the Māori broadcasting funding agency, Te Māngai Pāho, ‘Hopukia’ is available in record stores or online at;;;; and

The track, ‘Arise’, is also available as a free download through, and

For more information including interviews and review copies, email '; document.write( '' ); document.write( addy_text4701 ); document.write( '<\/a>' ); //--> or

For performance and event inquiries, contact Toni Huata via the CONTACT page.

For media inquiries, contact Huia Hamon on email

For distribution and sales, contact Roger Marbeck at Ode Records,

Production Credits

Executive Producers: THC Limited, WaaHuu Creations

Producers: Paddy Free, Toni Huata

Mixed by Paddy Free, Chris Chetland.

Mastered by Chris at Kog,

Language Consultant: Hira Huata

Artwork: Alan Tawhi-Amopiu

‘Tohu’ design: Maakarita Paku

Distribution and Sales:,



Toni Huata (lead/backing vocals); Paddy Free (keyboards, programming, percussion); Brannigan Kaa (haka vocals); Adrian Wagner (haka vocals); Te Okanga Huata-Wagner (haka vocals)

“I originally wrote this song for Merenia’s dance piece, ‘Te Mana’. I saw women dancing free like birds, men doing slow martial arts taiaha with a sense of connection, strong and anchored. At the beginning of this album and during the Rugby World Cup, this song developed into an upbeat dance piece thanks to Paddy. Its debut – in the Cloud in Auckland prior to an All Black’s game – was by the Māui whānau under the direction of Tānemahuta Gray as a contemporary dance and aerial piece. I love the energy that this song evokes – calling to the spirit and human qualities of growth, strength, love, peace and unity.”



Toni Huata (lead/backing vocals); Paddy Free (keyboards, programming)

“I wrote this song for moments when we feel life is overwhelming at times, too fast when faced with challenges internally or from others. All we need to do is to take a moment, breathe and trust that we will get through this and rise again. I also think of those that contemplate or have taken their own lives because of these pressures and the families left behind with only memories and the guilt and grief this causes. ‘Breathe’ reminds us all about getting back to a positive, progressive place knowing that life is always an experience.”


Toni Huata (lead/backing vocals); Paddy Free (keyboards, programming)

“This song is about a collection of dreams I have had that are sometimes obscure, realistic but also happy. It includes life direction messages, my continued relationship with my late grandparents, my children and when I’ve realised I am astro-travelling.”



Toni Huata (lead/backing vocals); Paddy Free (keyboards, programming, percussion); Alistair Fraser (pūkaea/trumpet, pūtatara/conch shell trumpet, ororuarangi/flute); Brannigan Kaa (haka vocals); Adrian Wagner (haka vocals); Te Okanga Huata-Wagner (haka vocals); Te Okanga Huata-Wagner (haka vocals); Kereama Hape (hī hā vocals)

“This song was composed during the ‘Hopukia’ project – it was very quick and to the point from the beginning where the lyrics came very easy to Paddy’s beats. I wrote it in simple reo Māori with a clear message that evokes emotions of unity and to rise above all challenges the world has for us.”


Toni Huata (lead/backing vocals); Gareth Farr (keyboards, programming, backing vocals); Paddy Free (keyboards, programming); Alistair Fraser (porotiti/humming disc, karanga manu/bird calling flute); Brannigan Kaa (backing vocals)

“I wrote this song as a legacy – these are my thoughts, hopes and dreams for the wellbeing of my children and my descendants, wishing for balance, strength and happiness in their lives. There are also other contemplative thoughts of identity, culture and concern for the environment and our future. I’d like to thank Gareth for capturing the essence of my emotions in this song; Paddy for massaging the textural layers; and cousin Hira for embracing us with the reo of our tīpuna from Rāmoto. Ngā mihi aroha kia koutou mō ake tonu atu.”



Toni Huata (lead/backing vocals); Gareth Farr (keyboards, programming, tom toms; haka vocals); Paddy Free (keyboards, programming); Alistair Fraser (hue/gourd instrument); Brannigan Kaa (haka vocals); Adrian Wagner (haka vocals)

“This song is how I relate this kaupapa into my life in the present – a song of belief, loyalty and being proactive in oneself and family, not to sit on the fence but to action your words and do what you say ... seizing opportunities when they come! The reo component in this waiata does not take a direct literal translation but has a personal conception of translation using language familiar in the Huata whānau.”



Toni Huata (lead/backing vocals); Paddy Free (keyboards, programming, backing vocals); Adrian Wagner (guitar, backing vocals); Brannigan Kaa (backing vocals); Pat Siolo (bass)

“This is simply about home: my family and what I cherish about the comfort of being home. Travelling overseas certainly showed me how lucky we are here in Aotearoa but this is more personal and something that makes me warm and contented inside – home!”


Toni Huata (lead/backing vocals); Paddy Free (keyboards, programming); Ned Ngatae (guitar); Pat Siolo (bass)

“I wrote this for my husband, Adrian, and I thought of the journey we have had from the first time we met. It’s fondly reflective of mid-nineties funk when we first laid eyes on each other. Ka nui tāku aroha kia koe tāku whaiāipo.”


Toni Huata (lead/backing vocals); Paddy Free (keyboards, programming); Alistair Fraser (porotiti/humming disc, karanga manu/bird calling flute); tui birds (Karekare, Otari)

“This is a wonderful return to a song which debuted on ‘Te Māori E’. The title meaning ‘my voice’ is a celebration of my family dialect and cultural heritage of Māori, Lebanese, Irish and German. It’s a journey that sheds enlightenment for those seeking their own voice, their own language, their own connection to their identity. I love the more gentle treatment vocally and musically with both elements having a more floating quality which is my approach to my voice and language now. This is our after midnight in the chill-out lounge version – cheers Paddy.”



Toni Huata (lead/backing vocals); Gareth Farr (keyboards, programming); Paddy Free (keyboards, programming); Alistair Fraser (poiawhiowhio, tumutumu koiwi hue, tumutumu kōhatu, panguru)

“I wrote this for our star constellation, Matariki (Pleiades), and to the time that marks the beginning of a new year. The celestial feeling is enhanced by the close vocal harmonies of Gareth while the minimalistic, ambient musical features that Gareth, Paddy and Al have played give it a sense of continuation and renewal.”

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