Dean Hapeta, the staunch frontman of Upper Hutt Posse went solo as Te Kupu – the word. “Vision” is a smooth tune reaffirming his social and political stance. Te Kupu’s vocal style goes from a raspy growl to a spoken word drawl to cool chanting.
The video, directed by Chris Graham, focuses on Te Kupu in various locations around Wellington. Wearing a trenchcoat, sunglasses and beret (Cold War chic), he hangs around an alleyway where a small girl joins him, nicely diffusing his menace. But just in case you thought he was too soft, he sets fire to a table. And it’s a hearty blaze, making me wonder if there was any nervousness at the time on the video set.
We also see Dean in casual streetwear, sitting outside the old National Museum building. It now houses Massey University, but back in 1999 it was empty, with the museum having moved down the hill to its new home at Te Papa. It’s all highly symbolic – an angry young Maori man holding ground outside an empty symbol of a colonial institution. There are also scenes of protest, breakdancing in downtown Wellington and an urgent run along under the motorway.
We find Cold War spy Dean also hanging around an abandoned industrial site, all overgrown and exposed. Again, it’s a good symbolic location, a sign of something from a previous New Zealand that doesn’t have a place any more. Well, either that or it’s just a cool place to shoot a music video.
Best bit: the giant fiery flames of the table.
Director: Chris Graham
Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision