James Tito, Jayden Daniels and Awhimai Fraser

This week on Shortland Street, Curtis (Jayden Daniels) and his girlfriend Becky (Awhimai Fraser) performed a waiata for singer Kupa Davis.

Forced into having life-saving vocal chord surgery, Kupa was in danger of losing his voice. So the couple wanted to show him that he should keep writing songs for others to sing.

Kupa Davis was played by Modern Māori Quartet member James Tito and the song was the Māori foursome’s previously unreleased song Anei Au.

Watch the episode from Tuesday 10 July where Curtis and Becky sing for Kupa here.

Modern Māori Quartet said Anei Au was sung “beautifully” by Awhimai and Jayden on the show. 

On the same night, they performed the waiata live at their final show at Hobart’s Festival of Voices in Tasmania. 

They have been on the road now for 37 days and said they were “stoked to hear that our waiata had reached and touched so many people, via the New Zealand institution that is Shortland Street.”

Watch the Modern Māori Quartet's performance in Hobart below:

Here are the lyrics, with translation, and Modern Māori Quartet's thoughts on the waiata:



Composed by James Tito, Maaka Pohatu, Matariki Whatarau, Francis Kora & Matu Ngaropo


E te tihi o toku Manawa   //   My dearest,

Anei ahau   //   Here I stand before you

Me oku Tipuna   //   Supported by my ancestors

E tu tahanga nei   //   With no pretense, with nothing


He takoha   //   Accept this gift

Onehera   //   A timeless gift

Mateoha   //   A tender gift

Mohou ra   //   For you

E kore rawa   //    It will never

E taka noa   //   Fade from me

I nga mahara   //   Nor from my thoughts

Mo ake tonu atu   //   Forever


Ko Hinemoana Koe   //   You are as Hinemoana

E pari ana   //   Like the tides

Rere atu   //   That ebb

Rere mai   //   And flow

Ki uta, ki tai   //   In and out


He wai kare-a-roto   //   Controlling the flow

I toku puna aroha   //   Of my love


He takoha   //   You are a gift

Onamata   //   Old and new at the same time

No runga rawa   //   Sent from the Gods

He piringa   //   To unite with me

Tapu rawa   //   In a sacred bond

E hono ana   //   Connecting us

I nga wairua   //   In spirit

Mo ake tonu atu   //   Forever


Mei kore koe   //   Without you

Ka kore te Ao Marama   //   There is no light

Ka Pouriuri Au   //   My world would grow dark

I to ngarohanga e   //   At the loss of you


E te tihi o taku Manawa   //   My Dearest

Anei au   //   Here I am



Anei Au is a waiata aroha.

Aroha is central to a Māori way of life. As a community “ko te aroha tetahi ki tetahi” is a foundation and message we want to promote and something we are constantly striving towards.

Modern Māori Quartet had written this song as somewhat of a signature love song, from our hearts, in Te Reo Māori.

It is important for this waiata to be in Māori because it lends itself to a wairua that has a deeper poetic style of metaphor. It allows us to articulate concepts that have a more spiritual and emotional angle of love as opposed to being simply romantic.

As a rōpū, we have recently been inspired by Māori composers whose work has become well known through Te Ao Kapa Haka. Songs such as E Tama Hikairo by Kahautu Maxwell and Kaore Te Aroha by Rikirangi Gage in particular have redefined the Māori sound for us. They have shown us there is huge potential to transcend genres — a fusion of Traditional Kapa Haka with Māori showband style.

With Anei Au we want to add to this legacy.