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Waiata for Papatūānuku

This month our guest writer is David Ridler, Head of Music at NZ On Air (Irirangi Te Motu). He has selected three of the best recent New Zealand music videos for us. The videos for these songs work to entwine and celebrate two of the pillars of New Zealand culture – powerful waiata and our beautiful natural landscape.

Here are three New Zealand music videos that feature our stunning landscapes and scenery as an integral part of the visual representation of the song. Music videos are such an important way to help connect fans (and potential fans!) with music, and I think all three of these clips do the job in a really effective way. They also showcase the seriously incredible natural beauty we have here in Aotearoa.


Shayna – ‘Miles Away’

This is the official video for the very new debut pop single from Shayna, a solo artist from Canterbury. The clip was shot in various locations around Northland and directed by Shae Sterling who is amassing a formidable body of work at the moment! It’s all about the artist and the landscapes and settings, with Shayna featured in various natural backgrounds with varied lighting through different times of the day. There’s sand dunes and there’s flora and fauna, rocks and waterfalls and ocean shots – a whole array of simply stunning images. The artist looks amazing and it all flows superbly well with the music. It will make you stop in your tracks and marvel at the beauty of this country, and how beautifully it’s been captured in this clip.


Lontalius – ‘Kick In The Head’

To start with you wouldn’t think this clip from Phoebe Gittins and Arty Papageorgiou will have much to do with landscapes and natural beauty. It opens with the four chaps from the Lontalius live band sitting side by side in semi-darkness watching a flickering screen from a distance. But as the song builds cuts of breathtaking scenes from around the Queenstown Lakes area start flashing between shots of the guys. Meanwhile they are snacking on movie munchies and looking transfixed, but also somewhat detached. It’s that juxtaposition of images and mood that I find striking. It’s a really great song and this clip absolutely does it justice.


Stan Walker – ‘New Takeover’

Director Shae Sterling does it again with this powerful music video, which is now approaching a million views on YouTube! Stunning beach and estuary landscapes feature strongly with Stan Walker and his tribe of young Māori moving through various shots of haka-inspired dance, before we bring in the horses! Walker on horseback proudly and defiantly holding up the Tino Rangatiratanga flag galloping down the moody beach on horseback is a pretty epic image. The gorgeous cinematography is charged and dramatic, with lots of slow motion for added effect. It really was one of the stand out music videos of last year, and also happens to be the last official music video Stan Walker was in before his recent serious health battles. We’re very grateful he’s on the mend and releasing more music this year!