"I grew up around haka, moteatea and waiata. My father, uncles and others of their generation performed these art forms with absolute passion. I enjoy pulling together creative elements from the past and mixing them with contemporary artistic styles. So I surround myself with musicians and performers who can move me towards that vision. When it works, it's like being at the centre of a creative vortex. It's moments like that when I love what I do and who I do it with."

Described in the US magazine The Beat (2006) as a ‘truly inspiring performing and recording artist', singer/songwriter Moana has been credited by Songlines (2006) with ‘laying the foundations for the recent international exposure of N.Z acts like Te Vaka, Fat Freddy's Drop and Wai.'

Admitting she gets more nervous singing in front of her aunties at Waitetoko marae, Moana Maniapoto says her father and his brothers provided early inspiration with their legendary combination of live performance and hospitality at the marae. She also credits her time at St Josephs Māori Girls College for honing her love of vocal harmony and performance.

Moana paid her way through law school by singing covers in the highly competitive Auckland club circuit. In 1990, Moana & the Moahunters released the feminist anthem Black Pearl which shot to No. 2 on the national charts, earning Moana her first gold.

Since then, she has released albums Tahi, Rua, Toru, Wha and the DVD Live & Proud as well as a retrospective album 'The Best of Moana & the Tribe'.

Moana has consistently pushed the boundaries of Māori music in both recording and live performances, fusing taonga puoro, haka, and chants, with soul, reggae and classical ‘to produce her own blend of traditional and contemporary styles without compromising either.' (N.Z Herald, 2003).

In 2004, Moana became the first non-American to win a major U.S.A based song-writing contest with her song Moko. Moana beat over 11,000 compositions to win the Grand Jury Prize of the International Songwriting Competition.  She was appointed as a Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit in Queen's Birthday Honours List in that year.

Formed in 2002, Moana & the tribe have played hundreds of international concerts on stages in Budapest, Istanbul, Moscow, Berlin, Toronto, Venice, Shanghai, Seoul, Toronto and more.

She cites meeting and singing for Nelson Mandela during his Auckland visit as a personal highlight.  

Moana is a recipient of the New Zealand Order of Merit (MNZM), a Life Time Recipient of the Toi Iho Māori Made Mark and received the 2005 Te Tohu Mahi Hou a Te Waka Toi Award from Te Waka Toi (Creative N.Z), in recognition of outstanding leadership and contribution to the development of new directions in Māori art.  Moana received a Music Industry Award at the Maori Waiata 2008 Awards, an Award for an individual who has been active in the New Zealand music industry and who has made a positive impact on Māori Music.

Moana received an Arts Foundation Laureate Award in 2007. The Laureate Award is an investment in excellence across a range of art forms for an artist with prominence and outstanding potential for future growth. Their work is rich but their richest work still lies ahead of them. The Award recognises a moment in the artists' career that will allow them to have their next great success. 

Off stage, Moana is one half of an award-winning documentary team led by her partner, producer/director Toby Mills. Their documentaries screen on television and in international film festivals. The couple also led two significant national mentoring projects aimed at inspiring Maori whanau, the most recent being the Maori FutureMakers digital resource that profiles 30 Maori individuals and 15 Maori Whanau business owners.

In 2012, Moana and her sister Trina joined four other women to stage a production at Message Sticks (Sydney Opera House). The same year they co-founded the Muriwai Waitangi Day Festival, a biennial grassroots event that uses music to promote the notion that Every Day is Waitangi Day. 

Currently in production for her 5th album RIMA, Moana is also working with Scottish and indigenous Australian musicians and dancers in a highly anticipated tri-nations collaboration.

1961
    Born, Invercargill, New Zealand/Aotearoa
1990
    Black Pearl No. 2
1993
    Tahi released (Gold disc) - as Moana and the Moahunters
1998   
Rua released - as Moana and the Moahunters;Represented NZ at Cultural Olympiads in Sydney
2002
    Formed Moana & the Tribe
2003 
   Toru reached No.17 on the European World Music Charts - as Moana;Live & Proud - as Moana & the Tribe;Represented NZ at Cultural Olympiads in Athens;Won the grand prize at the International Songwriting Competition
2004
    Live released - as Moana & the Tribe;Appointed Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit in Queen's Birthday Honours List
2007
    Recipient of Arts Foundation Laureate Award
2008
    Wha released- as Moana & the Tribe;Music Industry Award -Maori Waiata  Awards
2009 
   Performed at opening of the Venice Biennale
2010
    Acoustic released - as Moana & the Tribe;Performed at Shanghai World Expo
2012
Retrospective album 'The Best of Moana & the Tribe'