Kirsten Te Rito is a singer, songwriter and producer from Wellington, the capital city of Aotearoa, New Zealand.


As a solo artist she has released two Māori language albums - Te Rito and Āiotanga and her latest offering Te Kaitiaki is due for release on the 1st of May 2020.

She has received many accolades for her music including Best Female Artist and Best Pop Album at the Waiata Māori Music Awards and her song Tamaiti Ngaro (Lost Child) was a finalist for a Maioha Silver Scroll. Her albums Te Rito and Āiotanga were both finalists for best Māori Album at the Vodafone New Zealand Music Awards.


Kirsten works alongside her husband, pianist James Illingworth to produce and write original music. Currently they're working on a new electronic music project as their duo ILLRIOT with single releases and live shows planned for 2020.

Kirsten is from Rongomaiwahine and Ngāti Kahungunu iwi.

Te Kaitiaki is available here for digital pre-orders.

RELEASES May 1st 2020

Te Kaitiaki is the latest musical offering from NZ artist Kirsten Te Rito.

Featuring five tracks in Te reo Māori, 

Te Kaitiaki is infused with catchy hooks, electronic beats and atmospheric synths culminating into some serious electro-pop feels.

Te Kaitiaki touches on socially conscious topics such as ownership of water and the connection between mental health and homelessness. The lyrics of the lighthearted track Whakaoreore encourage you to get up and move and imbibes musical textures reminiscent of 80's synth-pop.

Te Kaitiaki was produced by Kirsten and her main collaborator and husband James 'Illkeys' Illingworth in their home studio in Wellington. 

Press play below to preview the title track

Te Kaitiaki... 

1. Te Kaitiaki
00:00 / 03:22

Āiotanga is Kirstens' sophomore album and was released in 2015. 

It features 11 tracks laced with backbeat grooves and lush harmonies interwoven with te reo Māori.

1. Te Aroha
00:00 / 03:06
2. Aotearoa
00:00 / 03:47
3. Wā
00:00 / 03:36
4. Tamaiti Ngaro
00:00 / 03:30
5. Pahū
00:00 / 05:20

The complete 11 track album is available here for digital download and available for listening on most streaming platforms.

TE RITO is Kirstens' first solo album. Released in 2012.

1. Oranga
00:00 / 03:07
2. Ne Ra
00:00 / 04:30
3. Tumanako
00:00 / 04:10
4. Te Rito
00:00 / 03:47
5. Aroha Ki A Koe
00:00 / 04:04

The complete 10 track album is available here for digital download and is available for listening on most streaming platforms.

For gig, booking or press enquiries please use the contact form below.