Kia Kaha - Aaron Hardy
Aaron Hardy talks us through the Kia Kaha album...
When I first heard the dream of the Huia, I knew that my life would never be the same. It sounds so dramatic, but my life since that point has drastically changed. The community that I am part of has been on this journey of cultural reconciliation for a while now and in light of the journey we have released an album!
This album has come out of an incredible journey of Māori and non Māori figuring out what it means to be here and what it means to be in partnership. To be fair my people Tangata Tiriti* have needed the most learning and need still to learn what it means to be here. These songs are more than nice melodies and good ideas, they come out of a journey, through and by God towards te ao Māori, towards land and sea and towards cultural hope and reconciliation.
These songs came out of a desire to see Māori be all that they were meant to be...
to see Samoans become all they were meant to be...
to see Pākehā become all they were meant to be...
God has called us to be unified in story and sound, captivated by the story in the soil beneath our feet, recognising our place in that story whether as tangata whenua or as tangata tiriti, beauty all the same.
My deepest desire is that if this album means anything to people, that it won't urge people to find cool sayings or ideas in te reo and use them, but it would encourage people to go on a journey like we did, so that using doesn't happen but engaging does, honour does, understanding does, humility does, repentance does, and forgiveness does.
I have asked forgiveness much in this journey...the saying "I once was blind BUT NOW I SEE" rings true.
We asked the question...what does it mean to be here in Aotearoa? We are still convinced that it is to be engaged with the old story and the new, the Māori world and ways, the language and the whakaaro. That a cultural collision can happen when we honour and engage with the people and story of those God placed here first.
We can redefine what it means to be here, we just have to have enough courage to do it.
Songs and sounds that are truthful can't precede journey, they have to be birthed out of journey. So, we keep journeying, and as a white middle class male, with every privilege, it is a constant challenge to do this journey well and to understand, to learn where to be quiet, to learn where to stand, to love and serve and not to colonise and conquer, for love and service was always and will always be the true heart of Io Mātua Te Kore.
I am privileged to be in the journey with many graceful Māori, and many eager non-Māori. I am lead on by many amazing Māori men and women, and many of my own too. We are in a new day. Once you have been marked by this story, you can never be the same. What sounds so foreign today, can become the most transformational revelation tomorrow. Kia kaha.
Tūturu whiti whakamaua Kia tina! Tina! Haramai te toki, haumi e, hui e, taiki e!
If you want to listen to the Kia Kaha album by Link:
or find it on Spotify.
To hear more of Aaron's story tune in to: https://soundcloud.com/user-227472867/aaron-hardy-the-sound-has-a-story
*Tangata Tiriti = People of The Treaty. In other words, those who aren't Māori, but who belong to Aoteoroa through the partnership and spirit of The Treaty of Waitangi.