Launch of ‘Whakatuwheratia’ single

Today I am launching my new single ‘Whakatuwheratia’. Here is some info about it and where you can get it! Link to ‘Whakatuwheratia’: To celebrate the inaugural Māori Music Month, Kāi Tahu singer Ariana Tikao is releasing her new single Whakatuwheratia recorded and produced by Trinity Roots’ Ben Lemi Wood who also provides backing…

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Ariana Tikao signs to Songbroker

Exciting news! I have just signed with Songbroker as my new publisher, and I am looking forward to working with the fabulous Jan Hellriegal, Mahoney Harris, and other members of the team who are helping New Zealand songwriters to find licensing opportunities for their music. See their website for details.

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Singing in ‘No Man’s Land’

I am really excited to be a featured singer in the epic ‘love-letter to peace’ which is John Psathas’ ‘No Man’s Land’. I met John about a year ago, and didn’t quite know how huge and amazing this project was when I first was asked to join in. This is what it says on the…

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Kia Mataara single fundraiser for KidsCan

Acclaimed performer Ariana Tikao (Kai Tahu) has released Kia Mataara today. The single has been eagerly anticipated by Tikao’s fans and will be supported by a multi-date tour of the South Island, Wellington and Auckland, starting in Wellington on 1 November (see details for tour on the ‘konohete/live’ link on this website). Kia Mataara is…

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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 Horomona Horo, 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’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)



Phone:             0274535738



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


No shows booked at the moment.



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’ 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 : 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:
(+64) 9 846 8892