'It's a way of thinking' - Maimoatia

5:27 pm on 11 July 2016

A reo Māori song, urging people to speak the language regardless of their ability, has topped the New Zealand iTunes chart.

Featuring 12 singers, Maimoatia encourages everyone to speak te reo Māori despite their ability.

The waiata released last week knocked Justin Timberlake off the top of the download charts.

With the help of te reo Māori expert Te Haumihiata Mason, it was written by the presenters of the rangatahi television show Pūkana for their Māori Language Week special.

Pūkana producer, Marama Gardiner, said she always believed it would do well.

"I always knew it would be catchy and people would love it, hitting number one on iTunes, I always knew it had the ability to do that but as soon as it did I was like 'OMG it actually happened'."

She said the whanau of Pūkana were very proud of the song.

"It just goes to show that you can record a song with a catchy tune and all be in te reo Māori and it can still do great things, it doesn't have to be in English and it doesn't have to be sung by Beyonce."

Ms Gardiner said they wanted a song about te reo Māori with a positive spin.

One of the writers and Pūkana presenter Nathaniel Howe, said he feels very blessed with the songs achievement and all the support the song has recieved.

He said they used their own te reo Māori journey as inspiration for the song.

"We sat down with Te Haumihiata Mason and talked about our own reo journeys and where we've been with te reo Māori, what were our struggles as rangatahi and what are some of the things holding us back from speaking."

From there they developed the idea that regardless of whether or not you make mistakes, just don't be afraid to speak Māori.

Mr Howe said it was awesome working with so many people.

"It was a cool experience and a very Māori experience," he said.

"When we were developing the song we had nothing - we had a track to go by, but we threw it away and said 'lets just see where we can go with it'."

Mr Howe said he believed that if you were making great music and had a good story there would be interest.

"We're just blessed everyone has jumped on the Maimoatia movement."

"It's not just a song, it's a way of thinking, when we were writing this song the minimum we wanted to achieve was to change one persons mind or whakaro on te reo and if we can achieve that then it was all worth it." said Mr Howe.

Maimoatia, meaning "Cherish it" is had since dropped to number three on the New Zealand iTunes chart.