Moana (singer)

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Birth name Moana Maniapoto
Born (1961-06-22) 22 June 1961 (age 55)
Invercargill, New Zealand
Origin New Zealand
Genres Pop
Occupation(s) Singer, songwriter, Film-maker
Labels Black Pearl / Sony BMG /Ode /Rhythmethod
Associated acts Moana and the Moahunters

Moana Maree Maniapoto MNZM (born 22 June 1961) is a New Zealand singer, songwriter and documentary maker.[1] Widely considered as one of New Zealand's most successful indigenous acts,[2] her music is described as a fusion of traditional Māori haka, chants and taonga puoro, with contemporary soul, reggae and classical styles.[3]


Maniapoto was born in Invercargill, New Zealand[3] and attended St Joseph's Māori Girls' College in Napier.[4] She is said to have paid her way through law school by singing covers in the highly competitive Auckland club circuit.[3]

In 1987, Moana released "Kua Makona", as part of an effort to show New Zealand youth the consequences of alcohol abuse. The song featured in the RIANZ Top 50 singles chart.

In 2002, Moana formed Moana and the Tribe which consisted of a large group of musical performers who promote Maori culture. Since their formation, the band has performed worldwide at over 120 international concerts, cementing their reputation as one of the most successful indigenous bands to emerge from New Zealand.[5] Prior to 2002, Moana’s former band, Moana & the Moahunters released two albums, Tahi and Rua.[6] Their feminist anthem Black Pearl reached no. 2 on the national charts in 1991, earning Moana her first gold.[3]

Moana won the grand prize at the 2003 International Songwriting Competition with her song "Moko".[7]

Moana has developed a high international profile, being described as ‘brilliant’ by The Beat (USA, 2004),[citation needed] ‘New Zealand's most exciting music export’ (Marie Claire, 2002),[citation needed] ‘music of great depth and beauty’ (New Zealand Herald, 2003)[8] and gaining rave reviews from one Germany's more critical columnists in its largest daily newspaper (Süddeutsche Zeitung 2002, 2004),[citation needed]

In the 2004 Queen's Birthday Honours List, Moana was appointed Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit.[9] She is also a Life Time Recipient of the Toi Iho Māori Made Mark and received the 2005 Te Tohu Mahi Hou a Te Waka Toi Award from Te Waka Toi (Creative N.Z), in recognition of her outstanding leadership and contribution to the development of new directions in Māori art. Moana received a Music Industry Award at the Maori Waiata 2008 Awards, also for her positive contribution to Māori Music.[3]

In 2006, Moana and the Tribe completed a 25 gig tour of Europe and had the distinction of being the first New Zealand band known to have performed in the former Soviet Union - playing at a private party hosted in Moscow's First Club, then at Le Club.[citation needed]

Moana released her fourth album Wha in May 2008.[1] She toured in 2008 and 2009 Germany, Australia, Netherlands, Turkey, New Zealand and performed at the opening of the Biennale in Venice / Italy in June 2009.[citation needed]

Moana is one half of an award-winning film-making team led by her partner and band member Toby Mills. Their documentary work includes Guarding the Family Silver, which screened in the National Geographic All Roads Film Festival and The Russians are Coming, which played at the Sydney Opera House during the Message Sticks Indigenous Film Festival in 2012.[5]




  1. ^ a b Kara, Scott (31 May 2008). "Just wha enough". The New Zealand Herald. Retrieved 16 February 2010. 
  2. ^ "Moana Maniapoto | NZ Artist Directory". NZ Music Commission. Retrieved 27 July 2013. 
  3. ^ a b c d e "The Arts Foundation : Moana Maniapoto - Biography". The Arts Foundation. Retrieved 27 July 2013. 
  4. ^ Bridgeman, Shelley (4 November 2007). "Singing the same song". The New Zealand Herald. Retrieved 16 February 2010. 
  5. ^ a b "Moana Maniapoto - Profile". Retrieved 27 July 2013. 
  6. ^ "Moana And The Tribe - New Zealand Musicians & Bands". Retrieved 27 July 2013. 
  7. ^ "ISC IS PLEASED TO ANNOUNCE THE 2003 WINNERS". International Songwriting Competition. Archived from the original on 13 December 2005. Retrieved 2003-12-17. 
  8. ^ Reid, Graham (12 September 2003). "Moana: Toru". The New Zealand Herald. Retrieved 16 February 2010. 
  9. ^ 2004 Queen's Birthday Honours List