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Listen/Watch ‘Kia Mau’ HERE

Artwork by Mike Looker

Inspired by recent events and experiences the pair have released their stunning new Waiata and video clip for ‘Kia Mau’. Aro, proudly brought together, for this very special video, their family and friends - coming together to emphasise the importance of maintaining relationships and respect for people even if we don't agree with them.

‘Kia Mau’ comes off the back of their Top 10 NZ single ‘Tohorā’, released earlier this year. ‘Tohora’ captured hearts & minds around the Motu with the pairs stunning vocals, the videos quintessential, breathtaking New Zealand imagery and the delightful young cast.

Timed perfectly for NZ Music Month, they further this recent success with ‘Kia Mau’, featuring ‘Aro’s’ signature playful and uplifting sound, with vocals melding together perfectly and with an awareness of recent covid related divisions between families and friends, nationwide, at the forefront.

“Our waiata "Kia Mau" is about maintaining relationships and respect with people even if we don't agree with them. "He tapu te tangata ahakoa ko wai" is a mātāpono from the founding document, Te Aho Matua, of kura kaupapa Māori that Charles learnt while at school. It means that a person is sacred no matter who they are or where they come from - or what their opinion is.”

Silver Scroll APRA Maioha Award and APRA Best Children’s Award Finalists, ‘Aro’, are made up of husband and wife Charles (Ngāpuhi, Te Rarawa, Ngāti Te Ata, Te Ati Awa) and Emily Looker (nee Rice). The Auckland based pair share a passion for the power of language and music to tell stories and remind us of our cultural identity. The pair have become well known for their multi-genre offering of storytelling pop, RnB, electronic and jazz, fusing vocals, tāonga puoro and chants, and for often exploring the ideas of kaitiakitanga and manaakitanga - looking after ourselves, looking after each other and looking after our environment.

The duo are also taking their music on the road through June in celebration of Kia Mau and their recent releases. This will be the first time fans and music lovers around the motu will have the chance to hear these songs live , due to covid 19 cancelling 3 of their tours over the past couple of years. The pair are performing from Auckland to Bluff during and around Matariki 2022, as part of the Te Waipounamu Matariki programme - where they will be bringing workshops to schools and public spaces as well as being part of Matariki festivals, and a few ticketed shows along the way. Tour Details below

For the ‘Kia Mau’ video, the pair proudly brought together some of their whanau & friends to put differences aside and unite for this ever-important message. Directed and produced by Tom Grut - who they had the pleasure of working with in the past on projects like their charming single Baby Beat.

“The cast consists of our real family and friends, some of who were a little hesitant to be on camera but tautoko the kaupapa, each with our own beliefs and political views to truly represent what we’re singing about. ‘Kia Mau’ is an encouragement and an invitation to engage in conversation with others, listening to try to understand each other, eye to eye, face to face - kanohi ki te kanohi, and it doesn't mean we have to agree with each other either.”

Photos by Cara Graham

HUGE thanks to NZ on Air & Te Māngai Paho for the support of Waiata Takitahi funding on this project!!

Aro 2022 Matariki Tour Dates:

Tour details - Details and tickets can be found at

Sat 4th June | Taste of Pasifika - 3pm on Queens Wharf, Auckland Details

Friday 10th June | The Raumati Social Club - 7pm Tickets

Tuesday 14th June | The Academy, Geraldine - 7pm

Sat 18th June | Bellamys Gallery, Dunedin - 7pm

Friday 24th June | Murihiku Matariki, Queens Park Invercargill 6 - 8pm

Saturday 25th June | Invercargill Public Library 11 am

Saturday 25th June | Winton Public Library 3 pm

Saturday 25th June | Murihiku Matariki Queens Park Invercargill 6- 8pm

Thursday 30th June | Puketeraki marae Karitane - public workshop and show from 6.30 pm

Friday 1st July | Araiteuru marae - public workshop and show from 6.30 pm

Sat 8th July | Auckland Art Gallery - family show 10.30am

Tēnā koutou katoa!

It's been quite a while since we've put out one of these lil updates, so we thought we'd send one out in the lead up to summer and Christmas! We hope you're doing okay out there, it's been one heck of a weird couple of years on planet earth hasn't it? Who would have thought an international pandemic was just around the corner when we were enjoying summer 2019-2020. Wild. While it has been rather gutting to see all the dates of our nationwide He Wai release tour being crossed off in the diary as each week of the unpredictable lockdown continued, and now seeing the summer shows and festivals we were hopeful might get to happen being cancelled too, we have so much to be thankful for. We were soooo looking forward to seeing you all, and for our first trip around the motu with our little miss Olive who would have been 6 months when it was due to start - little did we know she would get into a habit of waking 5-7 times a night for the next couple of months at that point! - perhaps it was a blessing in disguise, having the comfort of home and no need to be anywhere at all at that time :p Our latest project 'He Wai' was released into the world on September 3rd, an EP of 5 waiata inspired and guided by our relationship to te taiao and what we can learn from it about ourselves and each other - stories of our waters. We had fun celebrating the release from home, and are super thankful for our publicist Cheree Ridder who did an amazing job helping the music find it's fins - here's a link to our media page on the website if you're interested! Spotify informed us we had 124% more listeners once the EP dropped compared to the previous month too - thank youuuu for listening! Apparently there's 11K of you jammin' our tunes which this lil duo is pretty stoked about.

It's been a happy time here. Instead of doing all the live shows, we filmed a live vid for each of the waiata on He Wai which are over

HERE on our FB page. We've been writing too and are excited to announce we have a lil Christmas EP coming out this December! But mostly, we've just been enjoying all this time we've had to spend with Olive, and each other. The early days of parenthood have been an absolute joy, we love this little bean so very much!

Thankful for NZ Music Commission who funded the making of our He Wai Educational resource, which we share in schools - and have been able to do a bunch as online workshops this lockdown. Also thankful to NZ on Air who recently funded the making of a music video which is for Tohorā (last track of the new EP) - which we'll be sharing in the new year before a bunch of shows we can't WAIT to announce!! The amazing film directors who made the gorgeous video for

Tauhou back in 2019 are filming this one - it's guna be spesh!!

We're so looking forward to being able to hug our families and see our friends and travel again to perform live and see YOU all again. But this lil duo/trio are doing good and we just thought we'd drop you a line to say hello. We hope you're all doing okay :)

Aroha nui e hoa mā


Emily, Charles and miss Olive x

Oh and just one final reminder that we have plenty of the new He Wai CD's available - Christmas is comin'

Grab yours HERE



Bilingual duo Aro, are taking their music on the road this spring to celebrate and share the stories of our waters, in support of their latest project, & EP release ‘He Wai’. The tour intentionally coincides with Māhuru Māori and Te Wiki o te Reo Māori which celebrates the Māori language. Aro are performing across the whenua, throughout September & October, visiting coastal communities, big & small, and other intimate venues near bodies of water as part of their ‘He Wai’ National release tour.

During the spring tour, Aro will also continue on with their established education programme within schools around the country, proudly supported by the NZ Music Commission.

‘He Wai’ is the third major project out of five for Silver Scroll APRA Maioha Award and APRA Best Children’s Award Finalists – Aro. Each project has featured a new music release (an album or EP) and these new waiata are then used as a part of the education resources & programme created for schools & Kura Kaupapa Māori.

Husband and wife duo, Charles (Ngāpuhi, Te Rarawa, Ngāti Te Ata, Ngāti Mutunga) and Emily Looker, proudly share a passion for the power of language and music to tell stories and remind us of our cultural identity. The moving new EP, ‘He Wai’ celebrates 5 waiata inspired and guided by our relationship to te taiao and what we can learn from it about ourselves and each other. ‘He Wai’, is the bands 3rd project, following 'Manu’ and 'He Manu Anō'.

The bands latest EP release features Aro’s signature playful and uplifting sound, using a plethora of instruments and taonga pūoro, including guitars, strings and saxophone. A multi-genre offering of storytelling pop, RnB, electronic and jazz, fusing vocals, tāonga puoro and chants, each song also thematically explores the ideas of kaitiakitanga and manaakitanga - looking after ourselves, looking after each other and looking after our environment.

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.

In 2021, Aro will be using the stories of He Wai, of Aotearoa’s native sea/water creatures and the importance of caring for our environment, while making te reo Māori and whakataukī accessible and interesting for young people.

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