I am releasing my waiata ‘Fly You Home’ which explores friendship across distance and indigenous solidarity for NZ Music Month. The song was playing on the radio in a dream that I had during the first lockdown in 2020. When I awoke, I remembered the first few lines and jotted them down. It was produced by my friends Brooke Singer and Ben Lemi (of French For Rabbits) who also perform on the track.


‘Fly You Home’, is written in a mix of English and te reo Māori, was funded by the Waiata Takitahi initiative jointly funded by NZ on Air and Te Māngai Pāhō. I see the waiata as a musical bridge to connect to her friend, the internationally renowned Lakota/Kiowa Apache storyteller Dovie Thomason.


I started writing it during our first lockdown, and felt we were in a relatively privileged position here in Aotearoa. I was really concerned for other indigenous communities around the world. Dovie said in a comment on Facebook that she was ‘lying prone’ with a back problem at the time and that really spoke to me about the vulnerability of indigenous peoples worldwide, particularly at that time before Covid vaccines were available.


The video director and animator, Jacob Perkins was living in Melbourne at the time the song was written but has recently returned to Wellington. He teamed up with local artist Emma Kitson who created the visual landscapes and artworks. The video features migrating birds, and landscapes of Aotearoa as well as Thomason’s high desert homelands in the Southwest of the States. The kōtuku, or white heron is a bird that features in Māori traditions as being very prized, and often an important manuhiri is spoken of as a “kōtuku rereka tahi” a bird of a single flight, as they are not often seen. This whakataukī and imagery is prominent in the video.


The waiata is being released by Oro Records, my label that I started last year with fellow musicians Alistair Fraser and Ruby Solly. We started up the record company to support the release of their band Tararua’s album Bird Like Men, and have since released several other albums and videos.


‘Fly You Home’ lyrics, vocals and taoka puoro by Ariana Tikao

Translation and te reo support by Ross Calman (Ngāti Toa, Ngāti Raukawa, Kāi Tahu)

Co-produced and recorded and mixed by Brooke Singer and Ben Lemi

Backing vocals, keys, guitar by Brooke Singer

Bass, drums, keys by Ben Lemi

Mastered by Mike Gibson, Munki Music


Video and animations and cover composition by Jacob Perkins, RDYSTDY

Illustrations by Emma Riha Kitson (Kāi Tahu)


Graphic design by Hannah Howes

Promotion and label support by Oro Records NZ

Project management by Horomaka Productions

Release date 20 May 2022.

Funded by NZ on Air and Te Māngai Pāho, ‘Waiata Takitahi’ initiative


Please check back soon for concert news.

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

29/08/21 6pm


The Piano

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.