8 Dec 2023

The Barber Shop Sessions | Episode 5: Rachel

From The Barber Shop Sessions, 6:00 am on 8 December 2023

For English translations, turn on by clicking 'English Subtitles' when hovering over the video

Series Classification
G (General Audiences) | Watch the series here

Rachel Hall (Ngāpuhi) arrives at the barber shop to catch up with her whanaunga (relative), Chop. She’s an artist who has toured Aotearoa as a backing vocalist with Troy Kingi. In her first performance, Rachel tells the story of Matiretoha.

“Matiretoha was a woman of substance from Ngāti Rēhia. She was a woman of great strength and courage. This song tells her story, and she was the guarantee of enduring peace.”

As a descendant of the Ngāti Torehina sub-tribe, Rachel is closely linked to Matiretoha.

“Matiretoha, you are the burning fire of the North. You planted the seed; it has now blossomed. Here are your mokopuna, paying tribute to you. Tears of joy flow. Matire, you are the example of love and sacrifice.”

Rachel on the barber's bench

Rachel on the barber's bench Photo: Tai Huri Films / Claire Gordon

Rachel grew up with her nan, who was her favourite singer. In 2022, Rachel completed her studies as a kaiako at Te Wānanga Takiura in Tāmaki Makaurau. But it is singing that makes her truly happy.

“When I sing, I feel free. Yes, that’s it. Whenever I sing, I feel like I’ve been cleared.”

At Kerikeri High School, Rachel was a lead singer in the school's Rock Quest band, where she composed and performed her original waiata, "In the Dark," a lament about love and loss. Rachel's wish was to perform the song in te reo Māori, and she called on her cousin to help translate it, resulting in a beautiful new waiata tangi titled "I te Pō."

“This song relates to anyone that is experiencing grief.”

Standing alongside two young musicians and close friends, Rawiri and Darrah, Rachel gives a heartfelt performance that shows she has all the talent needed to step forward and take the spotlight.

Rachel sings a waiata by Troy and Huia Kingi

Rachel sings a waiata by Troy and Huia Kingi Photo: Tai Huri Films / Ryan Alexander-Lloyd

Rachel Hall

Rachel Hall Photo: Tai Huri Films / Claire Gordon

Te Māngai Pāho

Te Māngai Pāho Photo: Te Māngai Pāho