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Protest song Maranga Ake Ai re-released

A 1980s Maori protest song used to revitalise the 2020 Maori Party movement will be re-released — 35 years after it first hit the airwaves.

Released in 1985 by pioneer Maori reggae band Aotearoa, Maranga Ake Ai features now Supreme Court judge, Justice Sir Joe Williams on vocals, who also co-wrote the song.

Maori Party Tamaki Makaurau candidate John Tamihere knew the lyrics would strike a chord and approached Sir Joe’s representatives for permission to use the track to galvanise the new Maori Party movement.

“Maori have always gravitated to reggae music and Sir Joe’s lyrics are as relevant today as they were when he penned this in the 1980s,” said Tamihere.

“Sir Joe was among a new wave of young, educated Maori behind our cultural revival.”

The job of refreshing the waiata was given to Whanganui musician Baz Muir who heads reggae band, NLC.

Muir spent a lot of time listening to the original recording before adding the “NLC” flavour to it.

“We worked on it in our studio in Whanganui for about a month, listening to the original track numerous times, making sure we can get that same sort of feel,” he said.

Muir was lead vocals on the song and had help from NLC band members, including his daughter Shaye Muir (keyboards, vocals) and Marcel Martin (guitarist, vocals).

A video was also released for the waiata.

RISE UP: This is the original album cover design for Maranga Ake Ai, the eponymous title of the recently released Maori protest song. Picture supplied