Kiwis perform 'cool' Te Reo rendition of Six60 hit at US station in Antarctica

Breanna Barraclough
Source: 1News

A Kiwi crew have taken Six60's Don't Forget Your Roots to the extreme, performing it "kapa haka-style" at a New Year's festival hosted in Antarctica.

The Kiwis were working at Scott Base, New Zealand's scientific base in Antarctica, and were invited to the neighbouring US McMurdo Base for the Icestock festival this year.

It's an event that's usually just performances by American bands, but the New Zealanders wanted to join in this year, according to one of the participants.

Science technician Wills Dobson was one of the people who helped put together the performance, which he describes as "kapa haka-style".

"We just thought it would be something really neat to share with the Americans down there," he told 1 NEWS today.

"There's a lot of interaction with them but they don't really see a lot of different facets of New Zealand culture."

Six60 released the Te Reo version of Don't Forget Your Roots, Kia Mau Ki Tō Ūkaipō, as part of Te Wiki o Te Reo Māori/Māori Language Week in 2019, complete with the Ka Mate haka.

Dobson says they chose that rendition instead of the English version to highlight the importance of te ao Māori in New Zealand. 

Performing in Antarctica comes with its own difficulties; Dobson says the temperature "wasn't too bad", at -5C.

Comparatively, Dobson says they arrived in Antarctica to temperatures of around -40C.

"My fingers felt like they were bleeding as I was playing [the guitar], which made it really hard," he says.

"Having hands trying to move when just getting hit by this cold breeze is... I don't know how the other guitarists did it, but out in the front there in front of the stage it was not easy."

He admits they were "terrified" before the performance, none of them used to performing publicly, but it was something they wanted to do.

"It meant a lot to us. We were all really determined not to disgrace ourselves... No pressure or anything, but I don't want to be hated by the people of New Zealand for butchering something that ought to be really special!"

Introducing the performance in Antarctica, Dobson spoke about the importance of Māori culture in New Zealand and why Don't Forget Your Roots has almost become an anthem for Kiwis overseas.

"The cool thing about [the Te Reo version] is that it actually changed the meaning of the song a little bit," he added. 

"Instead of it being about travelling but don't forget where you're from, it's actually about, go out and travel but take your experience with you."

Video of the performance was released by Antarctica New Zealand on Facebook last night.

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