Upper Hutt Posse

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Upper Hutt Posse
OriginWellington, New Zealand
GenresReggae - Rap Fusion
Years active1985–present
LabelsJayrem Records
Southside Records
Tangata Records
Universal Music
Kia Kaha Productions
  • Te Kupu aka D Word
  • MC Wiya
  • Des Mallon
  • Jeff Henderson
  • Julian Taylor
  • Lincoln Hapeta-Timoteo
  • Ātaahua
Past members
  • DLT
  • Teremoana
  • Aaron Thompson
  • Maaka Phat
  • Nathan Warren
  • Acid Dread
  • MC Beware
  • Enoka Love
  • Kiki Marama
  • Voodoo Chile
  • Taki Matete
  • Rhys B
  • Earl Lee Dee
  • Dready

Upper Hutt Posse (UHP) is a musical band in New Zealand. The progenitors of hip hop music in the South Pacific originally formed as a four-piece reggae group in 1985, the Posse emerged at the forefront of the local response to emerging rap culture. Their unique fusion of rap and reggae (in both English and Māori languages) has been an inspirational injection into the national music scene, and a powerful vehicle for their revolutionary socio-political perspectives. Influenced primarily by socio-politically conscious reggae and rap music, from Bob Marley to Gil Scott-Heron to Public Enemy. The band name is derived from Upper Hutt, the city in which they formed.


UHP formed as a four-piece reggae band in 1985. Since their inception, Dean Hapeta (also known as D Word or Te Kupu) and the Posse have been fighting racial injustice through their music. In 1988 they released New Zealand's first rap record and their first 12-inch hip hop record, "E Tū", through Jayrem Records. The song combined African American revolutionary rhetoric with an explicitly Māori frame of reference. It pays homage to the rebel Māori warrior chiefs of New Zealand's colonial history, Hone Heke, Te Kooti, and Te Rauparaha.[1]

Releasing their debut album, Against The Flow in 1989 through Southside Records, the group performed nationally and the following year in Sydney, Australia, and in Detroit, USA. Against The Flow consists of sequenced/programmed rap and reggae songs and a political slow jam titled "Stormy Weather", the unique lineup of two rappers, a reggae toaster, a female singer, a male singer, and a DJ allowed main songwriter D Word to compose without having to use 'featured' vocalists outside the group. In 1990, the group toured marae (Māori community centers), and supported Public Enemy when that group visited New Zealand, and performed with the ragga artist Macca B and the Zimbabwean group the Bhundu Boys in Australia.[1] October 1992 saw the completion of a music-documentary, Solidarity, showing the UH Posse's visit to the U.S. Co-directed by Dean Hapeta and Rongotai Lomas, the music-documentary was aired on TV ONE's Marae. With the departure of Darryl Thompson around this time, and then Teremoana Rapley 1993, who became a member of Moana and the Moahunters, and a presenter on television series Mai Time, being joined later by MC Beware who had left the group back in 1990. D Word formed Kia Kaha Productions Ltd and continues up to the present day as the leader of UHP through various lineup changes. Upon the release of the movie Once Were Warriors, the group's single "Ragga Girl" appeared on the soundtrack, with MC Wiya and D Word making cameo appearances.

The new lineup in 1994 of live musicians produced the 1995 album Movement In Demand, mixing their signature hip hop style with their reggae roots, and adding the distinctive raggamuffin rap of Wiya. In 2000 album Mā Te Wā saw the re-introduction of founding member Blue Dread, and also Katarina Kawana who had 'jammed' with the group in their formative years in the mid 1980s. Mā Te Wā is a digital reggae album completely in the Māori language. In 2002 UHP released Te Reo Māori Remixes, a 10-track album of earlier favourites remixed and featuring only Māori-language lyrics. This album received a Tui Award at the 2003 NZ Music Awards for 'Best Mana Māori Album'. In 2005, the group released a double album titled Legacy which includes two tracks performed by Te Kupu's daughter Ataahua, notably a Māori-language version of "The Greatest Love Of All". Disc One, Ngāti is predominantly in English language, while Disc Two, Huia, is all in Māori.

In 2007 another 'live' lineup was formed including Maaka McGregor (drums) who had performed live with the group at various gigs since 1995, Dez Mallon (guitar) and Nathan Warren (bass), Te Kupu and MC Wiya made up the five core members at that time which also included additional musicians. In July 2008 the first recording session for a new 'live band' studio album commenced at Trident (now Munki Studios) and in September 2008 "Ka Whawhai Tonu Mātou" from this first recording session was released digitally (alongside a music video) as a special song denoting 20 years since the release of debut recording "E Tū". While production continued for the live band album through 2009, production began also on a bi-lingual (Māori & English language) electronica album titled "Tohe" released in July 2010. In October 2011 the "live band" album "Declaration Of Resistance" was released.

Upper Hutt Posse lineups[edit]

Member Founding members
Against The Flow
Movement In Demand
Mā Te Wā
Te Reo Māori Remixes
Declaration Of Resistance (2011)
Dean Hapeta
Matt Hapeta
Darryl Thomson
Aaron Thompson
Steve Rameka
Teremoana Rapley
Bennett Pomana
Kiki Marama
Taki Matete
Earl Robertson
Rhys Bell
Emma Paki
Katarina Kawana
Ataahua Hapeta-Taereau
Des Mallon
Jeff Henderson
Jeremy Coubrough



Year Title Details Peak chart
1989 Against the Flow
  • Label: Southside Records
  • Catalogue: L 30177
1995 Movement In Demand
  • Label: Kia Kaha Productions
  • Released: 2 June 1995
2000 Ma Te Wa
  • Label: Kia Kaha Productions
  • Released: 2 June 2000
2002 Te Reo Maori Remixes
  • Label: Jayrem Records
  • Released: 31 May 2002
2004 Dedicated '88-'91
  • Label: Posse Songs
  • Released: 3 May 2004
2005 Legacy
  • Label: Kia Kaha Productions
  • Released: 13 November 2005
2010 Tohe
  • Label: Kia Kaha Productions
  • Released: 11 July 2010
2011 Declaration of Resistance
  • Label: Kia Kaha Productions
  • Released: 24 October 2011
"—" denotes a recording that did not chart or was not released in that territory.


Year Title Peak chart positions Album
1988 "E Tu" Non-album single
1989 "Do It Like This" Against The Flow
1990 "Against the Flow" 44
1991 "Stormy Weather"
1992 "Ragga Girl" 48 Non-album single
1996 "As the Blind See" Movement In Demand
"—" denotes a recording that did not chart or was not released in that territory.


  1. ^ a b Mitchell, Tony. "Kia Kaha! (Be Strong!): Māori and Pacific Islander Hip-hop in Aotearoa-New Zealand." In Global Noise: Rap and Hip-Hop Outside the USA, ed. Tony Mitchell, 280-305. Middletown: Wesleyan University Press, 2001.
  2. ^ "DISCOGRAPHY UPPER HUTT POSSE". charts.nz. Retrieved 3 May 2013.

External links[edit]