Thursday, 21 June 2018 marks the 154th anniversary of New Zealand’s Battle of Te Ranga. The Battle saw an unexpected slaughter of many of the local Māori by the invading British, just two months after their success at the Battle of Pukehinahina. To honor the resilience of her people in the wake of this historical event, Māori singer/songwriter Ria Hall debuted the official music video for “Te Ahi Kai Pō” via The Spinoff last week, ahead of the anniversary and her four city tour in the Land Down Under.
“I’ve used this battle as a metaphor for the composition, contemplating on how to find solace and peace after the onslaught and dispossession. This song is applicable to anyone through any phase of their lives where times are challenging, and encourages an introspective look to find the fire burning within. It is a constant reminder that no matter how tough it gets, there is always a way to achieve resolution and peace within.” – Ria Hall
Directed by Shae Sterling, the stunning visual was shot on location at Auckland’s Ihumātao, also known as the Otuataua Stonefields Historical Reserve. It’s a location which has been occupied by local Māori since the 11th Century. While 100 hectares of this land is currently protected, it has been a hard, ongoing fight for conservationists to save the land from a growing urban sprawl.
“I wanted to symbolize the aftermath of war, the loss of life, and loss of culture with this video. We used infrared to help take the audience to a surreal place, like a vacant memory, a place of purgatory.” – Shae Sterling
“Te Ahi Kai Pō” means “the fire burning away the darkness.
Link to premiere of “Te Ahi Kai Pō” on The Spinoff: https://goo.gl/vHdsRm
Stream/Purchase Rules of Engagement here: http://hyperurl.co/RulesOfEngagement
More About Rules of Engagement
Drawing on themes of love, war, revolution and change, Ria Hall’s Rules of Engagement album is a concept project inspired by New Zealand’s Battle of Gate Pa in 1864. Featuring production by Electric Wire Hustle, Kings, Laughton Kora, and more, the album is an epic collision of traditional ways of thinking and modern musicianship, aiming to create an honest dialogue about both the good and bad aspects of the history of Hall’s cultural background. Tinged with woozy rhythms of trip-hop, and the elasticity of funk emboldened by Hall’s soulful vocals, the album aims to uphold the integrity of Māori culture amidst historical inequalities and a recent resurgence of Hall’s native language Te Reo Māori, which is used throughout the album. Archival recordings from 1968 of Hall’s great-uncle, Turirangi Te Kani, add a level of personal authenticity to the album, as well. With historical parallels of racial inequalities in New Zealand and the U.S., and the current conversations about race, the soulful and compelling project speaks to global issues that are universal. Nearly five years in the making, Rules of Engagement serves as the full-length follow-up to Hall’s 2011 self-titled EP. The album debuted atop the iTunes charts in Australia and New Zealand (right behind Kelly Clarkson) upon its release in October, 2017.