Dame Hinewehi Mohi to be inducted into NZ Music Hall of Fame

Music legend Dame Hinewehi Mohi will be inducted into the New Zealand Music Hall of Fame.

She's known for her incredible contribution to not only waiata Māori, but also music therapy and her work with artists to reimagine their songs in te reo Māori.

But being inducted into the Hall of Fame hasn't sat easily with Dame Hinewehi, who is of Ngāti Kahungunu and Tūhoe descent.

"It's pretty overwhelming. I feel very honoured and grateful but not entirely comfortable if I'm honest," she told Newshub.

And that's because she said her mahi involves many others.

"In all ways it's a collective effort and desire, to create beautiful opportunities for waiata reo Māori and empowering others through music," she added.

Dame Hinewehi began her solo career in the 90s, writing hit song 'Kotahitanga' (unity) with English producer Jaz Coleman.

The same year that was released, Dame Hinewehi performed the national anthem at the Rugby World Cup in Twickenham in te reo Māori in 1999.

"We've come a long way in a quarter of a century, that's for sure," Dame Hinewehi said.

"I would like to assure people you will not lose anything by gaining the language."

Music was a vehicle for Dame Henewehi to express her emotions.

She discovered the power of music therapy with her daughter who was born with cerebral palsy.

It was so impactful that 20 years ago Dame Hinewehi founded the Raukatauri Music Therapy Trust - named for her daughter.

"It was wonderful then and it's still wonderful now," she told Newshub.

"Having 1000 people a week experiencing music therapy in our four centres… it really is the gift that keeps on giving."

Much like Dame Henewehi's contribution to music.

It's been five years since the first Waiata Anthems album was released, featuring hit English-language songs reimagined in te reo Māori.

"It doesn't matter how much you speak Māori, or you can't speak Māori at all - you can still feel the sense of music and music touches people in different ways," she said.

This year it will be released onto vinyl - a throwback to when Dame Hinewehi first fell in love with music, listening to waiata Māori on LP records as a 10-year-old.

It's a fitting reflection in the year she's inducted into New Zealand's Music Hall of Fame.