We are excited to announce that Ariana Tikao has been honoured as an Arts Foundation 2020 Laureate receiving the Jillian Friedlander Te Moana-nui-a-Kiwa Award. 

Tikao is a leading player in the taonga puoro revival, and is bringing to life ancestral stories through song.

“He tino nui tēnei hōnore ki a ahau ki te tū iwaekanui i ēnei kaimahi toi katoa. It was such an honour to receive this award, and to get this recognition from my peers in the arts community of Aotearoa” Tikao said.

Ariana Tikao is a singer and composer of Kāi Tahu descent. She writes waiata exploring themes relating to her Kāi Tahu identity and mana wahine, often drawing upon historical kōrero from her ancestors. She is an artist who is amongst the current generation of leaders rejuvenating taonga puoro (the indigenous musical instruments of Aotearoa), following in the footsteps of Hirini Melbourne, and two of her mentors, Richard Nunns and Brian Flintoff.

In 2019 Tikao toured nationally with Atamira Dance Company, for the dance show Onepū, choreographed by Louise Potiki Bryant. Tikao co-composed the show’s soundtrack with Paddy Free, and also performed as Hinearoaropari, the atua of echoes. Onepū is based on an origin story that came from Tikao’s great-grandfather Teone Taare Tikao, about female atua (gods) of winds and other elements. Tikao says “we see these atua and this story as being able to connect us with our environment and whakapapa as well – very important in this day and age, in terms of the issues that we face, that we remember that we’re connected to our environment and not separate from it.” Tikao, Free, and Potiki Bryant are working on a new project together this year relating to Climate Change, on the theme of water, called Te Taki o Te Ua.

Tikao also works regularly with other taonga puoro exponents such as Alistair Fraser, sharing their knowledge through wānanga and performances. Tikao and Fraser are releasing an album together later this year, through Rattle Records.

Below is a link to the Arts Foundation website where you can find out more and also watch a video.

About Ariana

Ariana Tikao – Biography

Ariana is a singer, composer, and leading player of taonga puoro (indigenous musical instruments of Aotearoa). She writes waiata exploring themes relating to her Kāi Tahu identity and mana wahine, often drawing upon historical kōrero from her ancestors.

She has been mentored by Richard Nunns and Brian Flintoff, two of the people who have led the taonga puoro revival – after the instruments fell silent for generations. She regularly works with other taonga puoro exponents, such as Alistair Fraser and Ruby Solly, collaborating and sharing her knowledge through wānanga.

She started performing in 1993 with the folk group Pounamu, and has subsequently released three solo albums: Whaea (2002), Tuia (2008), and From Dust to Light (2012); and has been involved with many collaborative projects, including Emeralds and Greenstone, Auaha, and Ihimaera.

In 2008 she was a soloist in the World of Wearable Arts show in Wellington, and that same year performed in the Pao Pao Pao festival at the Wellington Town Hall, where she was presented with an achievement award from Toi Māori.

In 2015 Ariana and Philip Brownlee were commissioned by the Christchurch Symphony Orchestra (CSO), to compose the first concerto for taonga puoro ‘Ko te tātai whetū’. Ariana performed it with the CSO that year, and later with Stroma and the Nelson Symphony Orchestra. She was set to perform it with the NZSO in April 2020, but these performances were postponed due to the Covid-19 pandemic. She has also performed with the Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra, the New Zealand String Quartet, and in 2016 was a featured singer in John Psathas’s epic international collaboration ‘No Man’s Land’.

In 2019 Ariana toured nationally with Atamira Dance Company, for the dance show Onepū, choreographed by Louise Potiki Bryant. Ariana co-composed the show’s soundtrack with Paddy Free, and also performed as Hinearoaropari, the atua of echoes. Ariana and Louise have been long-time collaborators, and their music video for Tuia won the best music video award at imagiNATIVE film + media festival in Toronto in 2009. Ariana, Paddy and Louise are working together on a new project in 2020, Te Taki o te Ua, about the importance of water, in the context of the Climate Crisis.

Ariana’s music has featured on television, film, theatre, dance, and in online videos. In 2019 Ariana worked with Karl Steven on the soundtrack for the documentary Fools and Dreamers, which highlights the work of the Hinewai Reserve. The pair have made the soundtrack album Hinewai available as an online fundraiser for the ecological reserve.

Whatever the setting for her music, Ariana always brings artistic integrity, and what one reviewer described as “depth and dignity,” making her a sought-after talent and collaborator in the arts scene in New Zealand today.

“…a magical and at times mystical trip… like being bundled up in a big feather cloak and transported to another world” (Review of Tuia album)

“This was a moving collaboration by both composers… Ariana has an other-worldly beauty, singing with purity and spirit” (Review of the NSO performance of ‘Ko te tātai whetū)

Website:          www.arianatikao.com

Email:              ariana.tikao.nz@gmail.com

Phone:             0274535738

Licensing:        https://songbroker.nz/ariana-tikao

Awards/Achievements

Hineraukatauri Achievement Award, Toi Maori, 2008

Finalist Waiata Maori Awards 2008/2009

Finalist in RIANZ Folk Album of the Year Award 2009, for Emeralds & Greenstone album

Musician in Residence, Centre for NZ Studies, University of London, 2008 (Funded by Te Waka Toi, Creative NZ)

Winner best music video, imagiNATIVE film + media festival 2009, Toronto

Live

Bill Hammond: Across The Evening Sky Launch  

Date City Venue Country
08/25/21 Christchurch, Canterbury Christchurch Art Gallery New Zealand
Time: 6:00pm. Admission: Free. Age restrictions: All Ages. Address: Corner Worcester Boulevard and Montreal Street. In 2020, Christchurch Art Gallery Te Puna o Waiwhetū began working with Bill Hammond on “Across the Evening Sky”, a new book on the artist’s spectacular bird and cave paintings. Join us as we launch Bill’s book and raise a toast to the memory of an artist with a singular vision, one of the greats of Aotearoa’s art history. Hosted by WORD Christchurch’s Marianne Hargreaves, and featuring readings from authors Nathan Pōhio, Paul Scofield, Ariana Tikao, Rachael King, Nic Low and Peter Vangioni—and more. Tickets are not required to attend free events. We do recommend arriving early to secure a place. Please note that if COVID-19 alert levels change, online registration for free events will be required.

Kā Wai o Tahu: Marlon Williams, Ariana Tikao, Ruby Solly  

Date City Venue Country
08/29/21 Christchurch, Canterbury The Piano New Zealand
Time: 6:00pm. Admission: $45/43. Age restrictions: All Ages. Address: 156 Armagh Street. The hammer of rain, a river’s murmur, the roar of a flood. Cicada song and parched hills. Crystal clear streams, and drained swamps and poisoned lakes. Come swimming with us through songs and stories of the beauty, power and threat of water as it moves through our lives and southern lands. This spectacular closing event features performances from Marlon Williams, Ariana Tikao, and Ruby Solly, plus exquisite new work from special guests. Buy Tickets

Te Piki o Tāwhaki  

Date City Venue Country
08/26/21 Christchurch, Canterbury Tūranga Library New Zealand
Time: 6:30pm. Admission: Free. Age restrictions: All Ages. Address: 60 Cathedral Square. For one night only, WORD transforms Tūranga to bring to life the ancient story of Tāwhaki that is woven into the building itself. Using the spectacular central staircase as the stage, with audiences ranged around the balconies on all sides, this not-to-be-missed transformation of Tūranga will fly you to the heavens in pursuit of matauraka, the knowledge of the gods. Presented by master storyteller Joseph Hullen (Ngāi Tūāhuriri / Ngāti Hinematua), taonga puoro virtuoso Ariana Tikao (Ngāi Tahu) and Juanita Hepi (Kāi Tahu, Ngāti Mutunga, Ngāi Tukairangi), this is your chance to hear a uniquely Murihiku Ngāi Tahu telling of a story that is well over a thousand years old. Please note that while some seats are available, most audience members will be standing for thirty minutes. Tickets are not required to attend free events. We do recommend arriving early to secure a place. Please note that if COVID-19 alert levels change, online registration for free events will be required. Buy Tickets
08/26/21 Christchurch, Canterbury Tūranga Library New Zealand
Time: 8:00pm. Admission: Free. Age restrictions: All Ages. Address: 60 Cathedral Square. For one night only, WORD transforms Tūranga to bring to life the ancient story of Tāwhaki that is woven into the building itself. Using the spectacular central staircase as the stage, with audiences ranged around the balconies on all sides, this not-to-be-missed transformation of Tūranga will fly you to the heavens in pursuit of matauraka, the knowledge of the gods. Presented by master storyteller Joseph Hullen (Ngāi Tūāhuriri / Ngāti Hinematua), taonga puoro virtuoso Ariana Tikao (Ngāi Tahu) and Juanita Hepi (Kāi Tahu, Ngāti Mutunga, Ngāi Tukairangi), this is your chance to hear a uniquely Murihiku Ngāi Tahu telling of a story that is well over a thousand years old. Please note that while some seats are available, most audience members will be standing for thirty minutes. Tickets are not required to attend free events. We do recommend arriving early to secure a place. Please note that if COVID-19 alert levels change, online registration for free events will be required. Buy Tickets

War and Peace: Ross Calman, Te Maire Tau, with Ariana Tikao  

Date City Venue Country
08/27/21 Christchurch, Canterbury The Piano New Zealand
Time: 4:00pm. Admission: Free. Age restrictions: All Ages. Address: 156 Armagh Street. In the 1990s, Ross Calman (Ngāti Toa, Ngāi Tahu) stumbled on a manuscript in an archive: a 50,000-word biography of Te Rauparaha, handwritten in te reo Māori in the 1860s by his son Tamihana. Realising this was his ancestor’s work, Ross set out to master te reo, and now, decades later, has translated Tamihana’s words – complete with eyewitness accounts and ancient curses – as He Pukapuka Tātaku i Ngā Mahi a Te Rauparaha Nui (A Record of the Life of the Great Te Rauparaha). Ross and tribal historian Dr Te Maire Tau (Upoko of Ngāi Tūāhuriri) discuss these fascinating and turbulent times of warfare between the two iwi, including the saga of Kaiapoi pā, and the peace marriages that came after. With taonga puoro accompaniment from Ariana Tikao.

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Video

Pupuhi Rau – Live at Orange Studio, Christchurch

This is a live version of a whanau waiata ‘Pupuhi Rau’ accompanied by members of Emeralds & Greenstone (Jonathon Hooker, James Wilkinson, and Argene Montgomery-Honger) and Alistair Fraser. The guys from Orange Studio made a beautiful job of filming and editing the performance.

Kā Roimata

Kā Roimata being performed at the Nelson Arts Festival 2010, as a part of the Ōhākī show. Featuring Ariana Tikao, Holly Tikao-Weir, Karuna Karasulas, Richard Nunns, Jon Hooker and Argene Montgomery-Honger.

Tuia

‘Tuia’ is the first track on Ariana’s album also called ‘Tuia’. It’s a beautiful and stunning piece of film by Louise Potiki Bryant . Please check out : www.myspace.com/arianatikao for more of her lovely New Zealand maori music.

Let there be Light (LIVE at Orange Studio)

You can now see the video for Let there be Light, from the concert at Orange Studio, 28 November 2014. I was accompanied by Jon Hooker on guitar, James Wilkinson on bass, Argene Montgomery-Honger on bodhran, and Alistair Fraser on taonga puoro.

This waiata was written as a song of hope for Christchurch after the devastating earthquakes of 2010/2011.

Ōhākī at Christchurch Arts Festival

Te Heke

This is about whakapapa and our responsibilities to it. Whakapapa defines the connection between all things. This song particularly celebrates the lines of descent. The rope represents the lines of descent of whakapapa. So it is a connection between different generations.

Ka Huri te Wa

This is my first music video that I made in 2002 which was released with my first solo album Whaea. The video is for Ka Huri te Wa, which was filmed at Takahanga Marae. It was made by Fisheye Films and funded by Te Mangai Paho. The kaupapa of the waiata is Te Reo Maori revitalisation and was written in 1995 at a Maori immersion hui at Takahanga Marae, and so it was a great experience to go back to that same marae, at a real wananga reo to film the video. My son Tama makes a cameo appearance towards the end – he is the baby in the blue hoodie (nowadays he is a teen, and is taller than me!)

He mihi nui ki nga kaimahi, ki te whanau o Takahanga hoki!

Ōhākī at Christchurch Arts Festival

Contact Ariana

For general enquiries please fill in the contact form on this page.

Get in touchclear

For publishing enquiries contact the lovely people at Songbroker:
http://songbroker.nz/contact-us/
(+64) 9 846 8892