'Te Ahi Kai Pō' - a song which tries to find resolve through times of despair.
Ria Hall's has released the stunning video for her single, 'Te Ahi Kai Pō', meaning 'the fire burning away the darkness'. The video arrives on the anniversary of the Battle of Te Ranga (June 21, 1864), which was a key inspiration for the track. The Battle saw an unplanned slaughter of many of the local Māori by the invading British, two months after their success at the Battle of Pukehinahina.
“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
Co-written with her close friend Te Ori Paki and produced alongside Tiki Taane, the track is an epic and bold tale, with the lyrics combining with the soundscape to creating a hauntingly-emotive aesthetic, which is further shown through the official video.
Directed by Shae Sterling, the video was shot on location at Auckland’s Ihumātao, also known as the Otuataua Stonefields Historical Reserve. It is a location which has been occupied by the local Māori since the 11th Century, and is steeped in significant Māori stories and histories, spanning over generations.
While 100 hectares of this land is today protected, it has been a hard fight for Tangata Whenua and conservationists to save this land from the growing urban sprawl. It is a battle which is ongoing, and one with Hall and Sterling offer unwavering support towards.
“It’s a space where you feel its wairua as soon as you enter onto the whenua. We felt compelled to shoot our video at Ihumātao to carry on the message of resilience, reaffirming the fire burning within that will never be extinguished.” – Ria Hall
“I wanted to symbolise 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
The battle of Te Ranga in June of 1864 is the inspiration for this song, which was an unplanned slaughter of many Māori. This spiritless attack was in retaliation to the battle of Pukehinahina, where the British found themselves at a loss to the Māori.
"The Battle of Te Ranga is the inspiration behind this piece. This battle was the price my people paid for victory against the British at Gate Pā some 2 months earlier....
Nā te aha rā koe i moumou atu ai?
Ko te kura koti whero
He onekura toto te whakangarotanga
Ki te riu o te whenua
Why was your life wasted in this battle?
The sea of red coats
The land stained with blood
Lost you are, to the pits of the earth…" - Ria Hall
Made with funding from and thanks to Te Māngai Pāho.