Emma Paki Profile

Gary Steel
5 Sep 2013

An amazing one-off in NZ pop culture, Emma Paki’s ‘System Virtue’ still sounds like nothing else, and its haunting tones still have the capacity to send shivers down the spine.

When it was released in 1993, few could decipher the cryptic lyrics, but the searing emotion was undeniable, as was the uniqueness of this Māori singer, born in Whakatane in 1968. It was something about the unfettered way she sang. No artifice, clear as a bell, straight from the heart, intense.

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APRA Silver Scrolls, 1997
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System Virtue
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Emma Paki at Te Papa - Stand Alone, 2009
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Emma Paki, Dave Telea (from D-Faction) and Matty J, 1996
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Standalone (DAM N8V remix)
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Emma Paki, 1995
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Interview and Century Sky performance on Balcony TV
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Greenstone
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Emma Paki at the 1995 NZ Music Awards
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Emma Paki at the 1996 NZ Music Awards
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Labels:

Virgin


Tangata Records


Heartmusic

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Trivia:

Paki is a multi-instrumentalist who asked for piano lessons as a young child, instinctively learned how to play guitar, and wrote her first song at the age of 10.

After she dipped out of the music industry, she waitressed and odd-jobbed, and eventually, spent a time living on the streets.

A new album was due at the end of 2010, but has yet to emerge.

Her first recording at 19 was Wanea Ngakau (Deep Emotion). Privately released, it received some student radio airplay.

System Virtue was voted the 40th Best New Zealand Song of all time by APRA members for the society's 75th Silver Scrolls Awards