'Te Ahi Kai Pō' - a song which tries to find resolve through times of despair.
Ria Hall's new single is one of two songs in Te Reo Māori taken from her debut album. 'Te Ahi Kai Pō' means 'the fire burning away the darkness' and is in reference to finding peace following the aftermath of war. 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.
"Written by my close friend Te Ori Paki & I, and beautifully produced by the incredible Tiki Taane, ‘Te Ahi Kai Pō’ speaks to finding strength through times of extreme adversity.
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…"
Drawing on the themes of not only love and war, but also revolution and change, the album Rules Of Engagement was initailly conceived in Wellington and completed in Hall’s ancestral home of Tauranga. The album’s inspiration and concept stem from the New Zealand land wars of the 1800’s, specifically 1864’s Battle of Gate Pā (Pukehinahina).
The inspiration behind the concept comes from a letter written from Henare Taratoa to Sir George Grey, outlining the manner in which the Battle of Gate Pā should ensue, and how both parties should conduct themselves during war. This code of conduct was known as the Rules of Engagement, and is where this project takes its name from.
Made with funding thanks to Te Māngai Pāho