A group of rangatahi who are studying or working in healthcare are being supported by Te Aka Whai Ora to develop waiata known as Hauora Melodies as part of a tuakana-teina initiative to bolster mental health and wellbeing. 

Over the past few months, the 26 young people have been involved in wānanga with industry professionals including WAHA music director DJ Sir Vere (Tūwharetoa), international dancer Renee Salesa (Ngā Puhi, Samoan), RnB artist Jordyn with a Why (Tainui), hip-hop artist Sid Diamond (Ngā Puhi, Te Rawara), medical expert Dr Jess Keepa (Ngāti Porou), Mātanga Reo Tawaroa (Te Arawa, Rangitāne, Muaūpoko), and Tapeta Wehi (Ngāi Tūhoe, Mahaki, Te Whakatōhea) from Te Wehi Haka, to whakawhanaungatanga, share their stories about studying or working in healthcare, and take part in lyric writing workshops. 

The experiences and insights they shared have resulted in the development of four waiata in the genres of RnB, hip hop and haka pop, which are currently being composed by the industry professionals. 

The initiative, funded by Te Aka Whai Ora, is being run by WAHA, The Māori Creative Agency.

Maiaka Hāpori Deputy Chief Executive Public and Population Health, Selah Hart says Te Aka Whai Ora is pleased to be investing in the mental wellbeing of our health workforce. 

“We know that waiata is rongoā for the soul. Hauora Melodies is giving rangatahi an opportunity to channel their experiences into waiata and boost their mental health through music.” 

WAHA director, Tuteri Rangihaeata (Ngāti Ruanui, Ngā Rauru and Ngāruahine and Taranaki, Ngā Puhi), says Hauora Melodies was born from a desire to support those in the healthcare sector who were feeling mamae or burnt out.  

“Hauora Melodies is an opportunity for rangatahi to connect, talk about their good and bad experiences of working or studying in healthcare in a supportive environment, and share their visions for the future health workforce in Aotearoa.  

“As well as supporting the mental health of rangatahi who were involved in the creation of these waiata, we aim to distribute the songs to others working or studying in healthcare to give them a mental health boost. 

“I have no doubt that these inspirational and unique waiata have the potential to be number one hits in Aotearoa.”  

The waiata are expected to be composed and ready for release by early 2024.