Former Pukana presenter Chey Milne adds reo Māori rapper to his impressive CV for Te Wiki o Te Reo Māori

With so many beautiful waiata being released to celebrate Māori Language Week, lovers of reo Māori music have been spoilt for choice. 

One artist carving out a niche of his own is former Pukana presenter, Te Nutube dad and Arataua director Chey Milne who can now add reo Māori rapper to his impressive CV. 

Milne released his debut mixtape Whai Kōrero earlier this month utilising his oratory skills to create a unique take on Aotearoa hip-hop.

"In terms of the whole recording process, it wasn't that hard to be fair, I recorded everything in our spare room. I've been trying to rap forever, and I've been writing kupu for ages so these are just combinations of some new, some old stuff," he told The Hui.

"One of my songs on the mixtape is called 'Me Pehea Rā' which reflects on my own personal growth and the troubles that I encountered, however it's the same issue I believe that all tāne Māori face. When I was writing 'Me Pehea Rā' I felt grief and sadness, so it was written 'how can I? Escape this phase of sadness. Who keeps invading my space of happiness?'"

Milne said although the majority of the time, Māori oratory skills are practised in a formal setting like at the marae but there are other ways to think outside the box. 

"Perhaps we need to stop being so small-minded that the marae is the only place for our orator skills and traditions. Everyone has their own style of oratory," he said.

The musician believes the future for te reo Māori in the rap scene is bright, with more and more rangatahi taking an interest.  

"One of the reasons why I wanted to get this mixtape out so quickly is because all these Kura Kaupapa kids are coming out with like the meanest reo and they're going to bring out their mean waiata and then uncle Chey is going to get kicked back to the benches so I needed to bring it out before they did."

Milne's mixtape was just one of the many projects completed in celebration of Te Wiki o Te Reo Māori and is now available on all streaming platforms.