writer, musician, producer
'Tēnei au e mihi atu nei, tēnā koutou katoa ngā kaitautoko kua tau mai nei ki tēnei whārangi, me kii, ki tēnei kāinga ipurangi.
He uri ahau nō Ngāi Tahu ki te moutere ātaahua rā, ki Te Wai Pounamu. Nō Ngāti Raukawa hoki, nō Ngāti Toa Rangatira, Te Āti Awa i te taha o taku pāpā. He Pākehā hoki ōku mātua - nō Ingarangi ērā tūpuna ā, i tētahi taha o te whānau o taku whāea, nō Tiamani (Oberammergau, Bavaria). I whakatipu ahau i Whakatane me Whakatū, ā, ka noho mo te wā roa ki Te Whanga-nui-a-Tara me Kāpiti.
Nō reira tēnā koutou, tēna koutou, tēna tātou katoa.'
Greetings! I descend from the Ngāi Tahu tribe in the beautiful South Island, and from Ngāti Raukawa, Ngāti Toa and Te Āti Awa in the North Island. My Māori heritage is from my father's side. Both of my parents also have non-Māori heritage, from England and in the case of my mother's family, Bavaria (a little place called Oberammergau).
I was raised in Whakatane and Nelson, and have lived for over 20 years in Wellington and Kāpiti. Thanks for stopping by.'
Hinemoana Baker has published, produced and performed as a singer songwriter and poet since the early 1990’s in New Zealand, Indonesia, Australia and the USA. She writes lyrical poetry and folk-based acoustic music. She also works as a producer, with a special passion for spoken word and sonic experimentation. Sometimes she works as a features producer for Radio New Zealand - many people remember her programme 'Waiata', a weekly feature about Māori Music which is still running on Radio New Zealand National.
Her work as an editor has included the anthology 'Kaupapa: New Zealand Poets, World Issues' (2007) and '4th Floor', the annual online literary journal of Whitireia Polytechnic. She lives and works on the Kāpiti Coast in the North Island of New Zealand, where she freelances as a writer, musician, producer and teacher of creative writing.
Her writing and music have taken her all around New Zealand for readings and performances, and offshore as well. Recently she spent three months in the United States as a writer in residence at the University of Iowa, as part of their International Writing Programme. A highlight of her time in the United States was a performance alongside Pulitzer Prizewinner Yosef Komunyakaa in Pittsburgh, with the Oliver Lake Big Band. In February 2012, she returns the the US, to read and perform in New York City as part of the Phantom Billstickers Poetry on Posters launch.
Hinemoana is a graduate of the prestigious Master of Arts programme at the International Institute of Modern Letters at Victoria University, Wellington.
Hinemoana's first album ‘puāwai’ (Jayrem Records , 2004) was a finalist for the folk category of the NZ Music Awards in 2005, and the title track was a finalist for the Māori language category of the prestigious APRA Silver Scroll Awards that same year.
She has shared stages with a range of well-known performers and writers, from poets laureate Bill Manhire and Jenny Bornholdt to iconic New Zealand musicians Don McGlashan, Mahinaarangi Tocker and Kiri Te Kanawa.
'A must-have piece of New Zealand.'
(review of 'puāwai' in Air New Zealand Magazine)
A noteable feature of Taniwha’s sound is a percussion instrument they call The Workbench – purpose built by Christine out of a Black and Decker workbench, some small contact microphones and a range of kitchen utensils, including a cheese grater and a couple of oven racks.
'Taniwha' released their first album, 'Snap Happy', in 2008.
Hinemoana's first book of poetry,‘matuhi | needle’ (2004) was published in Aotearoa New Zealand by Victoria University Press, and in the US by Lord of the Rings star Viggo Mortensen’s publishing house, Perceval Press. Viggo became aware of Hinemoana's writing at an poetry event in Wellington in 2003. 'mātuhi' is a hard-cover, full-colour production, featuring artwork by Ngāi Tahu artist Jenny Rendall, and a CD of Hinemoana reading some of the poems (plus a bonus song from 'puāwai').
'...a CD recording of Baker reading a few of her poems is pocketed in the back of the book. It reveals that she has a remarkable voice, velvety and musical, cool and laconic all at once. This sensuousness is reflected in the verse, but...undercut by a sense of smouldering emotion.'
(David Eggleton, New Zealand Listener)
'mātuhi | needle' is a beautiful book of poems about finding your way in the world - in the words of Bill Manhire, it's 'a very handsome Global Positioning System'.
'Each poem is not an exercise in what words can do but is a carefully crafted lyric that sings small parts of the world into shimmering life.'
(Paula Green, New Zealand Herald)
Hinemoana says 'I feel my varying creative pursuits are really just story-telling, coupled with a passion for sound: whether it’s the sound of words, music, waiata tawhito (traditional chants), my diving gear, whatever. It's just the delivery mechanism that changes.'
It was a more traditional kind of story-telling that kicked things off for Hinemoana in the early 90's - a tour around Northland with four-woman story-telling ensemble 'Te Torino'. Since then her live shows have evolved to incorporate everything from scuba tanks, looping pedals and taonga puoro, traditional Māori instruments, as well as her own poetry and songs.
'It's a fine wine of a voice...the sort you might buy once in a lifetime, just for a taste of how the other half lives...' (Nelson Evening Mail)
'Her voice was at times haunting and eerie, at other times breathy and whispery. Some songs had an easy sweetness, others were declamatory and staunch.' (Golden Bay Weekly)
'This was an utterly spellbinding performance.' (Oamaru Mail)
'You have been warned of a major talent.' (NZ Herald)