Less than 4% of New Zealanders can speak Maori, the indigenous language of the country. There are heaps of places trying to preserve and revive the language, but one source sticks out like a sore thumb: Alien Weaponry, the thrash metal band raging out over New Zealand’s colonial past.
In Thrash Metal and Te Reo Maori, VICE New Zealand’s new episode of Zealandia, VICE meets with Alien Weaponry in the build up to the release of their first album, from the garage on the de Jong family farm where brothers Henry (drums) and Lewis (vocals and guitar) and their friend Ethan Trembath (bass) rehearse, to catching the bus to high school, working at the local mechanics and bringing in the washing for mum.
We also road trip to Lake Rotoiti for an overnight visit to Otaramarae where the brothers reconnect with their iwi [tribes] Ngāti Pikiao and Ngāti Raukawa. It’s a chance for the band to immerse themselves in the culture and history at the core of their music, and consider their personal part in the resurgence of te reo Māori as the language struggles for survival.
Watch the fascinating new episode of Zealandia below:
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This article originally appeared on Noisey AU.