Writing "We know the way"

December 2013 - January 2014  
Opetaia had just spent 3 whirlwind days being immersed in the Disney process. He was moved and inspired, mind buzzing with ideas. Needing to be out of the city, to connect with the elements, the culture and the Moana story he returned to New Zealand to be with family, elders and the original inspiration for Te Vaka music. Grabbing his guitars and recording equipment he headed to Waihi, a rural area several hours out of Auckland to be surrounded by land and nature, animals and water to a small cottage with an old woodstove and an outside bathroom. Back to basics you could say. A sign was put up blocking visitors from using the driveway so there would be no interruptions to the songwriting flow. There he continued to write and record the demo for “We know the way” Those of us who were allowed to hear what was coming out of the studio knew that this was something special. 

Cottage in WaihiNight time in Waihi

 Opetaia writing for Moana Night in Waihi

 Opetaia in Waihi Opetaia in the Waihi River

During the months in New Zealand many trips were made to Auckland recording song demos and ideas for the movie. Below laying down the vocals at Malcolm Smith's studio in Auckland amidst ancient Kauri trees really provided inspiration and helped to set the scene to sing vocals for "We know the way". The version Opetaia sang here looking out into the Kauri forest was the version that ended up in the movie.

Opetaia and Malcolm SmithOpetaia recording

 Opetaia recording with Kauri trees Organic instruments



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TE VAKA BEATS - 25.02.17

"TE VAKA BEATS" is a 10 track album of new percussion tracks written by Te Vaka's master percussionist - Matatia Foai and produced by Opetaia Foai.  "Te Vaka Beats"is for dancers, choreographers and anyone who loves log drums, skin drums and adventurous percussions. Mastered at "The Bakery" in LA by grammy award winning mastering engineer, Eric Boulanger you have not heard log drums like this before. First single coming soon.....                                                 

Te Vaka Beats - new album


NEW ALBUM!!! Release date - 25th February 

Click to hear interview with Matatia

Soundtrack album

Moana soundtrack Album                                                                                         

The Moana soundtrack album made it to No.2 on the Billboard 200 album charts and No.1 on the Billboard sound track album charts.

Other news





The making of Moana’s music [An interview with composer Opetaia Foa’i of Te Vaka]

Telling the stories of their ancestors, the voyagers and way-finders, through music


The Te Vaka singers arrived at Warners Brothers Recording Studios in Burbank to add the Te Vaka magic to the Moana soundtrack click here for pics and more




Great news - The Amataga album wins "Best Pacific Music Album" ( Recorded Music NZ award) and "Best Pacific Song" for Papua i sisifo" the song written in support of West Papua and their struggles for freedom.
Read more.


FROOTS MAGAZINE give "Amataga" a big "Thumbs up" read review HERE



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Hightlights of 2015 and what's up next



Disney D23 Expo announces Opetaia Foai as songwriter for the upcoming Disney feature film "Moana" 

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