Te Kaitiaki touches on socially conscious topics such as ownership of water and connections between mental health, poverty and homelessness. The lyrics of the lighthearted track Whakaoreore encourage you to get up and get moving and imbibes musical textures reminiscent of 80's synth-pop.
Kirsten has received numerous accolades for her music. Her debut album Te Rito - released in 2012 - was a finalist at the Vodafone NZ Music Awards for Best Māori Album, and she won Best Female Māori Solo Artist at the Waiata Māori Music Awards. Released in 2015, her sophomore album Āiotanga was a finalist at the Vodafone NZ Music Awards, and she won Best Māori Pop Album and Best Māori Urban Album at the Waiata Māori Music Awards. Her waiata Tamaiti Ngaro was a finalist for the APRA Maioha Silver Scroll Award.
Kirsten has also worked broadly within the New Zealand music industry, lending her vocals to The Little Bushman – with the NZSO and Auckland Philharmonic, WAI – with tours in Europe and NZ, Award winning jazz album Resonator – by Reuben Bradley, Māori female a’capella group Whiri Tū Aka, tours of NZ and Australia with The Pink Floyd Experience, support vocals for Rob Ruha, Louis Baker, Tama Waipara, Ria Hall and the NZSO, performances as a vocalist with Orchestra Wellington and was part of the cast of Disney’s The Lion King in both Melbourne and Shanghai. She is the live vocalist for Australian hip hop group Bliss n Eso and has toured with the band for the past six years. She is also the proud owner of gold and platinum records for her contributions to their albums Circus in The Sky and Off The Grid.
Currently Kirsten is working on a new electronic music project ILL RIOT and plans to release singles later in 2023 as well as a concept album titled COLLISION.
Kirsten Te Rito is a singer and songwriter of Rongomaiwahine and Ngāti Kangungunu descent. As a solo artist she has released two Māori language albums, Te Rito and Āiotanga, and her latest offering - a five track EP titled Te Kaitiaki was released on the 1st of May 2020 which she co-produced alongside her longtime music partner and husband James Illingworth from their home studio in Wellington.
Featuring five tracks sung exclusively in Te reo Māori, Te Kaitiaki is infused with electronic beats, atmospheric synths and catchy hooks culminating in some serious electro-pop feels.