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Riqi Harawira - Single/Video Review: Walk of Freedom




Musician, Support Worker, Maori Customs Teacher, Non-violence Facilitator, and basically all-round amazing human being Riqi Harawira (aka ‘Creative Native’) presents his new single Walk of Freedom with accompanying music video on 24th June 2022. This will coincide with the release of the full-length feature film Whina – ‘A biopic of the trailblazing Maori leader, Dame Whina Cooper, whose extraordinary life saw her break gender boundaries, champion the rights of Maori, and fight for the land - all the while staying true to her heart and her beliefs.’


It's truly something special to write songs about our heroes. It is a form of story-telling that, to my mind, puts a song like this into the realm of folk music; a tradition that dates back to our ancient roots. But the thrust of this song is definitely Rock Anthem!


Walk of Freedom opens with the blaring of sirens and the voice of a newsreader reporting on the breaking story; over 4000 people are descending upon Wellington, undeterred by the rain. Dame Whina Cooper then appears, declaring “We are marching to Parliament!”. Rock guitars roar and slide into an energetic drum riff, and the song is away galloping. Harawira relays the story of Dame Whina Cooper in both English and Te Reo Maori, and the video clip helpfully includes subtitles in English, ensuring that none of the message is lost.


The clip is a montage of historical footage, photographs, and sound bites from Dame Whina, that make clear her message and her mission, interspersed with footage of Harawira singing and slamming on his Guitaiaha (Guitar -Taiaha).


The track has passion and energy and is an easy and enjoyable listen. It will serve as a great tool to educate New Zealanders about our history and the events that have taken place, leading us to where we are today.


I, too, believe it’s important to elevate those who have stood up and fought for their beliefs; in this case the rights of those who have been disenfranchised from their land and culture in the wake of colonisation. These wounds have been far-reaching and still remain, affecting present generations.


And Harawira doesn’t just make music about these things, he is hands-on, putting his mana where his mouth is, working alongside those who are struggling, and educating people in traditional Maori ways. It is highly commendable work and I can’t overstate the amount of respect and love I hold for a person such as this. Fantastic job Riqi, keep rocking that Guitaiaha!


Ed's Note: Walk of Freedom does not feature in the feature film Whina.


Rating: ☆☆☆☆☆ ( 4 / 5 )








Ngā mihi Cathy Elizabeth

And @music.net.nz


Whina - walk of freedom review


Riqi Harawira (Te Aupōuri, Te Rarawa, Ngāpuhi) has shared stages with some of the world’s biggest acts, Guns N Roses, Pearl Jam, Soundgarden to name a few. The former lead guitarist and co-songwriter for popular 90’s grunge band Dead Flowers. He has collaborated with numerous kiwi artists across his career such as Kings, Stellar, DLT, Che Fu and Dam Native. Riqi Harawira is a Māori fusion artist and a guitar virtuoso who is passionate about telling stories about Aotearoa through his original music.


With the full tautoko/support of the Cooper whānau and 

Te Rarawa elders, Riqi Harawira ‘Creative Native’ presents 

his new waiata alongside the music video 

‘Whina - Walk of Freedom’. 


Dame Whina Cooper (Te Rarawa) was known as 

‘Te Whaea o Te Motu’, The mother of our country. 

She was an inspirational leader who spearheaded a hikoi/march from Te Hapua in the far north to the steps of Parliament in 1972. ‘NOT 1 ACRE MORE’.


STREAM ‘WHINA - Walk of Freedom’ -  Here  

WATCH a tribute to Dame Whina Cooper - MUSIC VIDEO - Here


“I hope everyone does not miss this amazing waiata presentation, a grand man singing the most historical story in music, “FREEDOM” so much aroha and koi I te hinengaro. CONGRATULATIONS RIQI”

Hinerangi Puru (daughter of Whina Cooper)


Official release party Fri 8th July at Common Room Hastings


“And Harawira doesn’t just make music about these things, he is hands-on, putting his mana where his mouth is, working alongside those who are struggling, and educating people in traditional Māori ways. It is highly commendable work and I can’t overstate the amount of respect and love I hold for a person such as this. Fantastic job Riqi, keep rocking that Guitaiaha!” REVIEW - Cathy Elizabeth - Muzik.net review 4 stars


This track has a fusion rock vibe, which is key to Riqi Harawira's sound. Adding layers of guitars and a steady rock rhythm, Harawira has a knack for the new. His musical ability to share a kaupapa Māori message with his ‘Guitaiaha’ is a fresh addition to our changing Māori Music scene. Made with the support of Te Māngai Pāho, we were able to create something that celebrates a wahine with mana and a vital message. 


The Music video is a tribute to Dame Whina Cooper and her mission to raise awareness around Māori land rights. She brought together a raft of kaupapa around racial equality, kaitiakitanga, the right to govern our land, the loss of mana, and many grievances. She put all her mauri/energy into a revolutionary Māori hikoi/march and galvanized it with the term ‘NOT 1 ACRE MORE’.  


Bro ... just seen the clip. I loved it. Really did. Great beats and anthemic feels. Given real weight and mana with the choice use of archive footage and sound. Yeah! Mahi tika ana e Riqi. Perfect timing for the release. Sits alongside the story we told in the film really nicely. I hope it goes well for you e hoa. 


E mihi nui ana ki a korua Tainui Stephens (Director of Whina-movie)



“In July of 2020, I rang my partner to tell her that Dame Whina Cooper had come to me in a dream. She said ‘Whakanui tēnei pūrakau’ (tell the story about the march to Parliament). Coincidentally my partner reported that she had just met a kuia that day in the hospital ward convalescing next to her sick mother. The kuia regaled her with the memory of being on the march with Dame Whina, and the experience of walking over the harbour bridge. At that moment we knew he tohu pai (this is a good sign) to develop this waiata and music video”. Riqi Harawira

The production for ‘Whina - Walk of Freedom began in 2020, to Harawira it is a tohu/sign that the single and movie are coincidentally released. The original release date for the single was summer 2021, then postponed until Feb 2022. The next barrier was the anti-vaccine, anti-mandate occupation of the grounds of Parliament House and Riqi did not want to release this song during this occupation in Wellington.  The decision was made to launch the day after Whina the movie was released, to uphold the mana of the film and to make it clear that the waiata has its own journey/haerenga however supporting this film and kaupapa.

Riqi is a lover of guitar and passionate about playing it. A multi-instrumentalist, Riqi frequently melds te reo Māori and English with rock and grunge music, dabbling with covers of Jimi Hendrix, Tama Renata, Joe Satriani and performing the NZ national anthem and the Last Post with the healing voice of his guitar he calls Mareikura (named after a Ngati Kahungunu princess).

In 2016 Riqi Harawira released his first solo album, ‘Sound of the Long White Cloud’ 

spawning the singles ‘Greenstone & Gold’, ‘Oxygen’, ‘Te Aroha’ & ‘Goddess’, which was gifted to the ‘men against sexual violence’ campaign of that year. This album also featured an indigenized version of ‘Gutter Black’, Produced by Kings featuring Dave McCartney the original writer from Hello Sailor. 


​Riqi’s second album, ‘Mauri’ brought forward tracks like ‘Wairua Tūturu’ and ‘Kia ora’. His last single 'Ruapekapeka' is a powerful Guitaiaha (Guitar -Taiaha) driven rock anthem with tribal chorus chants that hook you in immediately. A reminder of the famous northern battle between the colonials under Governor-General Grey and the combined forces of Kawiti and Hone Heke. 


​June 24th, 2022, see’s Riqi Harawira release a new single ‘Whina - Walk of freedom’. 

A track about Dame Whina Cooper. 

The record release party will be supported by  Mel Woodham at The Common Room, Hastings July 8th 8pm.

Whina-walk of freedom will be serviced to worldwide media through Huia Hamon and www.integritypromotion.com // FB


​​Special thanks: Hinerangi Puru(nee Cooper) Moka Puru, Joseph Cooper, the Cooper whanau, Panguru community, Flossie Drake, Huia Hamon, Te Hiku Media, Greenstone pictures, NZ Herald, NZME, Te Karere, Screentime NZ, Greenstone pictures, Communicado, Rukuwai Allen, Lance Kingi (engineer) Taupiri sound, Rongotai Lomas (videographer) David Duckworth (editor) South Island media productions, Dannii Vallely Te-Kani and Nadia Marsh.


For more, haere ki - https://www.riqiharawira.com/ FB / Instagram 


Bookings - Jep Savali admin@manatua.co.nz  +64212720901 / Interviews -  riqiharawira@gmail.com / +2421666799 (Aotearoa/NZ) 

  • Previously Released Tracks: Riqi Harawira | Linktree

  •  Riqi Harawira - Creative Native – YouTube





Creative Native is a kaupapa Māori online store.


We print T shirts and hoodies with Māori kaupapa themes.


Proceeds from Dame Whina Cooper T-Shirts go back to the Cooper Whanau and community of Panguru.


Te Kaupapa: It is a great honour for me to have my name associated with Dame Whina Cooper and Te Roopu Matakite. I only ask that if you wear these taonga that you understand what you are supporting. It is the hikoi that Dame Whina Cooper and te Roopu Matakite embarked on in 1975. It was a march asking the state to preserve the mana and turangawaewae of Tangata whenua.


It was 45 years ago that this seed was planted. It was galvanised by the saying "NOT ONE ACRE MORE". Walk of freedom is my interpretation, my expression from my generation and what it means to me.