Seeing the silly side of life with the depth of a life lived.
Anika Moa is a New Zealand recording artist and television presenter born in the South Auckland suburb of Papakura on May 21, 1980. She headed down country soon after and was raised on the flatlands of Christchurch where her love of music bloomed as her teenage years kicked off.
Music: Anika began writing her own songs at 13. She studied Music and performed in musicals and choirs right throughout secondary school in addition to trying out with several fledgling bands. In 1998, while still at high school in Christchurch, Anika entered the nationwide Smokefree Rockquest. One of only a handful of solo performers amongst hundreds of bands who entered the competition, Anika won the Most Promising Female Musician Award and her song ‘Flowers For You’ was selected for inclusion on a compilation album featuring Rockquest finalists. A copy of the Rockquest disc was sent to the managing directors of the local branches of the international major record labels and caught the attention of the Head of Warner Music NZ who, after hearing ‘Flowers For You’, arranged for Anika to record a demo tape at a Christchurch studio. Following this Anika’s demos were handed to Atlantic Records, the Warners-affiliated, New York-based label that was once home to Aretha Franklin. Invited to the Big Apple to meet the boss, Anika performed a bunch of her songs barefoot in his plush office and landed herself a record contract.
Since then, in a career spanning 20 years, Moa has released six studio albums, including two wildly successful children’s albums- Songs for Bubbas - inspired by the birth of her twin sons, and won four New Zealand Music Awards (along with many nominations). Her most recent album ‘Anika Moa’ was recorded in a former Presbyterian church in New Orleans and released in October 2018. Anika has toured her music and stories to every corner of the country; and some corners of the world too.
Television: With a constant drive to push out her own boundaries, Anika accidentally transcended from musician to one of Aotearoa’s best-loved television personalities, starting with ‘Face to Face’ in 2015 - a frank and funny online interview segment. This led to her own live studio show, ‘All Talk with Anika Moa,’ which aired on Maori TV in 2017 before moving to TVNZ in 2018 with ‘Anika Moa Unleashed.’ The show featured Moa visiting the homes of notable New Zealand celebrities, public figures, and personalities and was viewed by half a million New Zealanders.
Activism: Anika Moa is a vocal advocate for the LGBTQI community in New Zealand and in December 2012, starred in an online video campaign supporting gay marriage, alongside New Zealand singers Hollie Smith and Boh Runga, as well as Olympian Danyon Loader and former Governor-General Dame Catherine Tizard.
Photograph by Sacha Stejko