NEW ZEALAND: Alien Weaponry – Kai Tangata

Alien Weaponry is a heavy metal band who sing in te reo Maori, focusing on Maori history and culture. Kai Tangata follows the bloodbath of the Musket Wars, a series of brutal inter-tribal wars in the early 1800s kicked off by the great Maori chief Hongi Hika bringing muskets back from England. Unfortunately, the Musket Wars were so bloody that, alongside encroaching Europeans and their diseases, they destabilized Maori control of Aotearoa. This eventually resulted in the signing of the Treaty of Waitangi, with the British asserting claims of sovereignty over New Zealand (followed by the New Zealand Wars and land confiscations).

The members of Alien Weaponry are a pair of young brothers and their friend, who all started playing metal at a young age. They’re all of Maori background, and have been singing in te reo to connect to their culture, assert their whakapapa, promote the language, and express deeper ideas and emotions that English can’t articulate. There’s a great little doc below from 2018 following the teens as they prepare to go on tour. Since then, the band has toured Europe and are speaking out about the racism that Maori still face in New Zealand.

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