Aro consists of husband and wife Charles (Ngāpuhi, Te Rarawa, Ngāti Te Ata, Te Ati Awa) and Emily Looker.
The pair share a passion for the power of language and music to tell stories and remind us of our cultural identity.
The duo were finalists for the Maioha Award at the Silver Scrolls (2019) and the APRA Best Children’s Song Award for their song Korimako (2020).
Aro have been performing nationwide in Aotearoa since 2017 when they were established after meeting while both studying Music at Auckland University. The pair have completed three nationwide tours, and played to thousands at numerous festivals including Auckland Arts Festival, Wellington Gardens Magic, Auckland Folk Festival, Festival One, Okura Forest Festival, Waitangi Day Festival (Paeroa), Kauri Karnival, Flava Urban Beats and Music in Parks with several more lined up for 2021-2022. They have also been featured on RNZ, have been consistently broadcast on Māori Television, and have been featured on and performed on radio & TV stations across the country. Consistently growing their audience over the past few years, the pair have reached 200,000 streams over their waiata on Spotify, and have released several music videos which have been broadcast nationwide.
As the band have a strong focus on tamariki and encouraging young people to be proud of who they are and their unique identities, In 2018, Aro developed an education programme delivering workshops, informed by mātauranga Māori of our natural environment in Aotearoa New Zealand, to schools and kura kaupapa Māori. They have taken this resource to communities around Aotearoa with their past projects, and will continue to build on this with ‘He Wai’, visiting coastal communities in particular in 2021. Feedback from the past workshops was immense and overwhelmingly positive, resulting in the 2020 & 2021 education programmes growing year on year and taking place with the support of Creative NZ in 2020 and the NZ Music Commission 2021. Aro aim to keep building on this success, and to increase the number of schools & kura kaupapa Māori visited in 2022 threefold.
“The musicianship throughout – haunting and interlocking vocals, stick percussion,
evocations of taonga pūoro, touches of Latin rhythms – is clever and diverse”
– Graham Reid, Elsewhere - Manu album review