New Album Chart Success - Tomokia
Toni Huata
/ Categories: Updates, Press Release

New Album Chart Success - Tomokia

Wellington singer-songwriter Toni Huata is capitalising on the chart success of her dub, dance and electronica sound with an encore collection of bilingual tunes.

The 10-track ‘Tomokia’ is Huata’s fifth album but her second in the dub and electronica genre in collaboration with celebrated Piha musician and producer Paddy Free of Pitch Black fame.

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‘Tomokia’ was launched at a Matariki showcase of Ngāti Kahungunu talent at Wellington’s Wharewaka Function Centre, Te Raukura, on Thursday 5 June 2014 from 5.30 pm. Then Huata set off on a Matariki Tour back to her homelands of Ngati Kahungunu.

Presented by WaaHuu Creations with the support of Ngāti Kahungunu ki Te Whanganui-ā-Tara and the Wellington City Council, ‘Ngā Tukemata o Matariki’ marks the official launch of three music releases funded by Te Māngai Pāho.

As well as ‘Tomokia’ by Huata supported by Free, PAO members Karl, Te Manea and Tangaroa Teariki will unveil their debut album, ‘Te Manu’, alongside Adrian and Marc Wagner with their new EP, ‘The Wagner Brothers’.

Huata (Ngāti Kahungunu, Rongowhakaata) is executive producer of all three recording projects - another first for the indigenous diva.

Her last album, ‘Hopukia’, was her first in two languages, Māori and English, her first to crack the music charts on its release in 2012 and her first to win at the Waiata Māori Music Awards for Best Māori Pop Album in 2013.

‘Hopukia’ debuted at number seven in the official New Zealand album charts, rising to number three over a four-month period, and also went as high as number three in the Top 20 Independent Music NZ albums.

According to producer Paddy Free, Huata has always been adventurous in exploring new styles and genres of music - “which is testament to her huge vocal skills in soul, R’n’B, pop, haka … you name it, she can probably sing it!

“On the new album, she branches out into everything from dance-pop and moody, deep dub tracks through to ambient ‘tone poems’, strum-along ballads and feel-good reggae. If the last album was a new direction, then this one furthers that exploration along many diverse paths.”

According to Huata, ‘Tomokia’ represents accomplishment, completion and bravery with the concept originating from an ancestral proverb: ‘E rere e te huata hopukia, e rere e te manuka tomokia’.

It refers to a young warrior – Whakaaha – who caught a huata (spear) in mid-flight and, in doing so, gifted her family with the surname, Huata.

Whakaaha gave his eldest child, Tamihana, the surname Huata. Tamihana then fathered Hemi Huata who passed on the name to Te Okanga (Aussie) Huata. His offspring, Ropine Huata, gifted the name to Toni Huata who has since had two children of her own: Te Okanga and Ropine Huata-Wagner.

As well as her Māori ancestry, Huata can claim Lebanese, German, Irish and Scandinavian descent. Her birth mother, Hera, was 20 when she was born and willingly allowed her parents to whāngai or adopt the baby girl.

During the making of ‘Tomokia’, Huata’s birth father, Jeff Beacham, passed away from throat cancer in New Jersey, New York, USA.

Huata immediately wrote three songs in Beacham’s honour – ‘Legacy’, ‘Warrior’ and ‘Dad’ – and then visited his resting place in New York with her family before carrying on to the United Kingdom and Wales via Asia and Germany.

As well as aiding the grieving process, the aim of the journey was to build relationships and connect with their wider heritage and whānau (families) in those regions.

She says this is also symbolic of the new album – “acknowledging everyone that contributes to you, that makes you complete. Tomokia is a dedication to Jeff’s undying nature to continue even when times are tough - to always strive for truth, justice and excellence.

“It is our hope that the music will invoke an uplifting feeling for the listener - a feeling of encouragement, enlightenment, growth, walking the talk, turning dreams to reality and a feeling of completion.”

Entry to ‘Ngā Tukemata o Matariki’ is by koha (donation); however, RSVPs are essential as seating is limited. To book, contact WaaHuu Creations on mobile +64 21 639 790 or email

Production Credits

Executive Producer: Toni Huata – THC Limited and WaaHuu Creations, Wellington
Producers: Paddy Free, Toni Huata

Recorded at Ōtari Studio, Wilton, Wellington
Mixed by Paddy Free - Piha Studio, Piha, Auckland

Mastered by Chris Chetland - Kog Studio, Tītīrangi, Auckland
Language Consultant: Hira Huata

Artwork: Alan Tawhi-Amopiu
Distribution and Sales:




Toni Huata (lyrics, lead/backing vocals); Paddy Free (keyboards, programming); Adrian Wagner, Te Okanga Huata-Wagner, Ropine Huata-Wagner (backing vocals); Al Fraser (pūkaea) “Mana Motuhake is a celebration of one’s own prestige, power, talent, charisma and connection to all things - land, each other, who we naturally are and fulfilling our own destiny with self-determination. I always envisioned this song as a four-on-the-floor dance number so I re-worked Mana into Mana Motuhake with Paddy in order to let this message fly. I think the song really grabs you and solidifies the Tomokia kaupapa (theme) of entering, landing and planting the seeds for our future generations.”

Toni Huata (lyrics, lead/backing vocals); Paddy Free (keyboards, programming); Al Fraser (pūkaea) “This is a message for everyone to acknowledge the tohu or signs in life and to invite the journey whatever it may be. Self-belief and security are really important in order to evolve and to be clear about life’s direction - fundamental things we as humans all seek is freedom. This song is inspired by He Tohu from my first album, Te Maori E, but the remake is so beyond its original that it has become Tohu. There’s the inclusion of English lyrics as well as a different melody and, again, a four-on-the-floor dance song. I feel inspired and ready to take on life’s signs and challenges when I hear this song, and I hope others can experience a similar energy.”


Toni Huata (lyrics, lead/backing vocals); Paddy Free (keyboards, programming); Karl Teariki (acoustic guitar); Class of Tui – Te Kura o Ōtari (shout-outs)  “Taihoa is a message for parents to think about the consequences of over-indulgence with drugs and alcohol - the impact it has on our tamariki (children) and whānau (families) and how this has affected our people, our relationships and our health. Parents need to stop and think about their actions before they have a drink and party, particularly when children are around. Thanks to the tamariki from Tui Class at Otari School, Te Kura o Ōtari, for the Taihoa shout-outs!”


Toni Huata (lead/backing vocals); Paddy Free (keyboards, programming); Karl Teariki (acoustic guitar); Al Fraser (kōauau pongaihu/wane) “Tipuranga is a song about growth and expansion - from the nothing to the spirit, the seed to the spark – the growth of human to the qualities of the person. It is written as a mōteatea (lament) fused with a dub vibe that is infinite and continuous. When I composed this song, I was thinking about my children and planting the seed of thought for them - then reflecting on our evolution as humankind.”

Toni Huata (lyrics, lead/backing vocals); Paddy Free (keyboards, programming); Karl Teariki (acoustic guitar); Al Fraser (pūkaea) “Warrior is the third song I composed for my father, Jeff Beacham. After his death, we watched his service live online and later transcribed what was said so some of the lines here are literally from his mouth. The comments about Jeff being a spiritual warrior who fought for his beliefs is so true that this is written in the language of haka. The comment from Jeff that I love the most is, ‘Run the race of your life - not apologetic, not disqualified but as champions!’”

Toni Huata (lyrics, lead/backing vocals); Paddy Free (keyboards, programming); Karl Teariki (acoustic guitar); Al Fraser (hue, kōauau pongaihu, tumutumu)  “E Whakaaha is about the feats of our ancestor. This composition was inspired by my walks through the Ōtari bush and I now call the track Whakaaha in his honour. Musically, the song has an urban, dark, tribal feel reminiscent of stalking, seeking, creeping and surviving. Whakaaha left a huge legacy for all our family in his short but brave life.”


Toni Huata (lyrics, lead/backing vocals); Paddy Free (keyboards, programming); Karl Teariki (acoustic guitar) “Legacy is for my father, Jeff Beacham. In his earlier years, Jeff was a drummer who played in a number of Kiwi and Māori show bands touring the country before he moved to Australia to advance his music career. He co-founded a band, Southern Cross, recorded an album, appeared on television and also worked as a projectionist. He began studying the world’s great faiths after years of indulgence and eventually became a very successful minister. This eventually took Jeff and his family from Sydney to New York. Before he died, he wrote an autobiography, In the Shadow of Eternity - however, he didn’t finish the last chapter due to his demise from cancer. An amazing read and something that gives me strength when I need it. Thank you Jeff, we are forever thankful.”


Toni Huata (lyrics, lead/backing vocals); Paddy Free (keyboards, programming); Karl Teariki (acoustic guitar); Marika Hodgson (bass) “I wrote Dad when I received the news that Jeff had died on 9 August 2013 (NZ time). I started to write down simply what I felt, reflecting on my grief and shock. The verses are about Jeff while I wrote the chorus when I was thinking about my life with my grandfather, Te Okanga (Aussie) Huata, whom I also called dad. This song is for those of us that have lost our fathers - losing a parent is a milestone moment that we must all face. Miss you both always.”


Toni Huata (lead/backing vocals); Adrian Wagner (lyrics); Paddy Free (keyboards, programming); Posenai Mavaega (acoustic guitar, ukulele); Patrick Siolo (bass)
“My husband Adrian wrote Tahuri Mai for me while I composed the tune. I love the happy, sunshine feeling in this song which reminds me of our honeymoon and travels to sunny places in Aotearoa as well as throughout the world. This is also about our enduring relationship - like many, we have our ups and downs but we are still happy and together. I thank Patrick, Posenai and Paddy for embracing the track with this sound.”


Toni Huata (lyrics, lead/backing vocals); Paddy Free (keyboards, programming); Karl Teariki (acoustic guitar); Al Fraser (pūmotomoto, poiawhiowhio, pākuru, throat-singing) “Whiria is a sense of connection - strong and anchored, female and male energies, the union of Papatūānuku and Ranginui, mother and father, spirit to human and what remains is love.

This is my spiritual piece that I can meditate to and go to another world - recording this song was like that! It’s important to remember to look after your spirit, your wairua.”



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