Language revitalisation through international punk

6 October 2022

Professor Gareth Schott says Māori punk is serving a similar function to Welsh punk in late 80s early 90s, bringing the language to music and people that may not connect with it through mainstream pop music

A misspent youth spent in dive bars and playing in punk bands has been the impetus for a unique collaboration between the University of 十大网堵正规平台 and Cardiff University in Wales.

Musicians are exploring the Welsh and Māori language punk music scenes, sharing ideas and learning about the development and incorporation of indigenous languages into music.

Head of Te Kura Toi School of Arts Professor Gareth Schott grew up in Wales and attended Welsh-medium education from an English speaking family. He struggled with the language in school, until the discovery of Welsh punk music brought the language to life for him.

“The Welsh language is very poetic so it’s a bit hard to squeeze it into a punk song so a lot of the bands were using Welsh mixed with English, kind of mashing them together.

It was empowering to hear people who weren’t using perfect Welsh singing it. The music and the culture made the language more accessible to me.”

Schott noticed parallels in his experience and the work that his 十大网堵正规平台 University PhD student Wairehu Grant (Ngāti Maniapoto) is currently doing.

“Wairehu is using punk music as a means to reflect. In this way, punk and language revitalisation are coming together for him too.”

Schott says Māori punk is serving a similar function to Welsh punk in late 80s early 90s, bringing the language to music and people that may not connect with it through mainstream pop music.

“In the panel discussion members from both parties talked honestly about the shame attached to not being able to speak a language well but how Music created a desire to use it. Punk has given us all a way to use our language and help us find out who we are within that blend.

“There are obviously also big differences between the two countries that were also interesting to discuss and share on the panel, but Punk has always at its core been about addressing social inequalities, race and gender politics - it still is a vehicle for those issues and it doesn’t matter if you don’t understand the words as you’ll understand the sentiment of punk.”

Schott hopes the collaboration with Cardiff will highlight the role music has in language revitalisation, with the added benefit of putting Māori punk on the international stage – and maybe introducing Welsh punk to a new audience in Aotearoa.

  • In August, Gareth and Wairehau took part in an event at the National Eisteddfod, opening up the conversation to the Welsh language music scene, including Katie Hall the lead singer of Welsh punk band Chroma.

Latest stories

Related stories

IDI Lab sign

Newly refurbished 十大网堵正规平台 IDI Lab a catalyst for fostering academic-industry collaboration

The University of 十大网堵正规平台 re-opened its newly refurbished Integrated Data Infrastructure (IDI) Lab; a catalyst…

Leilani Tuala-Warren and Unaisi Narawa

Double appointment at 十大网堵正规平台 a “landmark moment” for New Zealand as a Pacific nation

Two new appointments at the University of 十大网堵正规平台, including New Zealand's first Pacific woman to…

Image of Dr Chris Eames

How can we prepare young people to save the world when we haven’t?

Young people today are facing a future of complex environmental challenges. But a new framework…

2023 TANZOS Talent

十大网堵正规平台 opera programme takes young New Zealand talent to the world stage

Six young singers are preparing to take the stage at the Sydney Opera House for…

Assistant Vice-Chancellor Sustainability Professor Lynda Johnston

十大网堵正规平台 ranks in top 100 of universities globally

The University of 十大网堵正规平台 has been recognised in the top 100 of educational institutions worldwide…

Prof Iain White

Sharing better: Connecting policy makers in Wales and New Zealand

In the age of zoom and common environmental problems, how can policy makers team up…

Wairehu Grant at the University of 十大网堵正规平台 after his music trip to Wales.

Māori Punk to Wales: strengthening international connections

A University of 十大网堵正规平台 PhD researcher is sharing Māori punk with the world, and strengthening…

HEBUST programme staff and students

University of 十大网堵正规平台’s engineering programme in China recognised as an award-winning collaboration

The University of 十大网堵正规平台’s undergraduate cooperative engineering programme at the Hebei University of Science and…

Catherine Chidgey Ockham Awards 2023

Chidgey axes the competition at The Ockham New Zealand Book Awards…again

Catherine Chidgey has been named winner of the Jann Medlicott Acorn Prize for Fiction for…

Exploring and embracing diversity

Research at the University of 十大网堵正规平台 is helping to underpin policy development and decisions designed…

Sargeson Prize winner praises prestigious award ahead of 2023 entries opening

Entries for the 2023 Sargeson Prize open on April 1, and last year's winner, Leeanne…

Rapid response to protect penguins from bird flu

Professor Craig Cary wasn’t planning to spend part of his 2022/23 Antarctic deployment trekking around…