Dame Hinewehi Mohi received her status as Lady at Government House on Thursday. She was criticized when she sang the national anthem in te reo in 1999, but was invited to join Governor General Dame Cindy Kiro in singing both versions of the anthem during the inauguration ceremony on Thursday. .
As the shrill chords of the New Zealand national anthem echoed during the investiture ceremony at Government House on Thursday morning, they marked more than 22 years since Dame Hnewehi Mohi decided to sing the anthem in te reo in the opening match of the Rugby World Cup. at Twickenham in 1999.
Since that day, and the controversy that followed, Mohi said New Zealanders have done a lot to embrace the idea that language is a “unique and special part of us all.”
“The discussion he urged people to take into account, on the priority of te reo Māori, was at times heavy. Every now and then there are a few steps back, but overwhelmingly there are many steps forward to create a truly bilingual, bicultural and multicultural acceptance of who we are in Aotearoa, ”said Mohi.
Mohi was inducted as Dame Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit on Thursday.
* Te Hīkoi Toi: Nuanced Pathways – Privilege and Integrity in the Arts
* Songs can keep any of our languages alive
* The detail: bring Lorde’s vision of waiata to the world
A descendant of Ngāti Kahungunu and Ngāi Tūhoe, Mohi was honored for her contributions to music, television production, charity work and advocacy for te reo Māori me ōna tikanga.
Mohi said she was puzzled by the controversy over the anthem te reo, saying in 2011 that she felt honored and proud and did not expect a negative reaction to her performance.
On Thursday, Governor General Dame Cindy Kiro asked Mohi to return to the stage to sing the hymn again with the assembled guests and dignitaries.
When asked what it was like to hear the anthem played in his honor this time around, Mohi tucked his chin to his chest and laughed.
“Gee that’s awesome, isn’t it. It was a beautiful thing to see. I am delighted that in my life I can see the blossoming of this, ”said Mohi.
Mohi was a pioneering promoter of te Reo on the popular Aotearoa music scene. In 1999, she released the album Oceania which would achieve double platinum status.
In 2004, she and her husband George Bradfield opened the Raukatauri Music Therapy Center. Since then, the initiative has grown to provide music therapy to over 500 people per week at three centers in Auckland, Whangārei and Hawke’s Bay.
“I have truly had the privilege of being a part of using music as a platform to change lives and help people. It’s so wonderful to see the empowerment that can be given to them. It’s transformational, ”Mohi said.
Recently, as the development leader of Apra Amcos Māori, Mohi led the production of Lorde’s EP te reo Māori. Te Ao Marama as part of the Waiata / Hymns countryside. She also contributed vocals to the song Hua Pirau / Fallen fruit on the PE.
Mohi was named a Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit for her service to the Maori in 2008 and her promotion to the Dame Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit was announced in June 2021.
“I am preparing and planning for world domination by waiata. I think it’s a really wonderful way to connect with the rest of the world. It’s something we can share and something that defines our true identity in Aotearoa, ”said Mohi.
The following were also recognized during the ceremony on Thursday:
- The late David Cull. The former mayor of Dunedin became a Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit for service to local government.
- Catherine Rooney. The Director of Nursing and Midwifery, then Managing Director of the Lakes District Health Council, became a member of the New Zealand Order of Merit for service to health and the community.
- Margaret Hopkins of Stewart Island became a member of the New Zealand Order of Merit for conservation and community service.
- Colleen Lyons, of Dunedin, became a member of the New Zealand Order of Merit for her service to netball and education.
- Ken Trinder, President of Muru Raupatu Marae in Bell Block, Taranaki, received the Queen’s Service Medal for service to Maori and to the community.
- Gordon Wu, president of the Tung Jung Association, received the Queen’s Service Medal for service to the Chinese community.