Lorde Releases Album in Māori Language

The revival of an indigenous language.


Lorde has re-recorded five tracks from her recent Solar Power album in the indigenous language of New Zealand, te reo Māori. The title of the album is Te Ao Mārama, the literal translation being "world of light". She reportedly consulted many people for this project, including Māori elders, to learn more about the language and respect the views of the indigenous people. 

As someone who doesn’t speak the language, Lorde said she wasn’t well prepared for the recording however it was a powerful and emotional experience for her. Due to her lack of background with te reo Maori besides a few songs in school, Lorde told Spinoff, a pop culture website, “It wasn’t something that was a big part of my life, and it was something that I had a sort of sadness and a little bit of guilt around.”

This comes with a recent move toward use of indigenous Māori vocabulary to promote cultural diversity and recognize the history of Aotearoa (New Zealand) before it was colonized. In 2020, multiple large companies including Vodafone changed their name from New Zealand to Aotearoa as a sub-tribe in Auckland urged them to make this revision. An Indigenous rights activist, Tina Ngata, expressed to The Guardian how the use of Aotearoa is more inclusive as it affirms the story of people who were living there before colonisation and does not erase who was there.

Lorde’s new album is an exciting advancement for the revival of te reo Māori and the proceeds of the sales will go to two Aotearoa New Zealand charities: Forest & Bird and Te Hua Kawariki Charitable Trust.