Hip hop was here…from Day 1

Hip hop was here…from Day 1

November was World Hip Hop History Month 2014. It was celebrated at Te Papa by Family Fun: Aotearoa Hip Hop 101 with special guest hip hop pioneers KOS 163, Rhys B and other members of the local hip hop community. The event celebrated 20 years of Wellington hip hop collective Footsouljahs and 30 years since the release of the hip hop movie Beat Street.

Part of the Rhys B hip hop collection
Part of the Rhys B hip hop collection

DJ Rhys B gave a public presentation where he talked about his extensive collection of hip hop memorabilia. He pointed out that when Te Papa had its opening weekend in 1997, he was a guest artist and still had his backstage pass to prove it. Hip hop has been part of Te Papa since Day 1.

Te papa pass day one for Rhys B
Over the years, Te Papa staff have worked with the community to create events and develop a collection representing the vibrancy and history of hip hop culture in Aotearoa.

As a curator my engagement with hip hop began in 2000, when I sat with DLT (Darryl Thompson) one of the founding members of Upper Hutt Posse, and wrote down his Hip Hop whakapapa (genealogy) 1976-2000 with assistance from MC Antsman.

This document provided important historical context for his extensive collection of hip hop ephemera including flyers, posters, backstage passes, letters, photographs that came to Te Papa later that same year. It was only a beginning…

The original notes for DLT''s hip hop whakapapa
The original notes for DLT”s hip hop whakapapa

To mark the end of World Hip Hop History Month 2014, we thought we’d share some highlights from a short whakapapa of hip hop at Te Papa (2000-2014)…


Flyer - Hip hop Summit 2000
Flyer – Hip hop Summit 2000
  • Curator attends Hip Hop summit in Christchurch July 5 to 8
  • Southside Story compilation released by Dawnraid Entertainment and acquired by Te Papa.
  • Savage Thoughts album by King Kapisi is acquired by Te Papa.
Technics 1200 Turntable, Technics (manufacturer(s)), 1989-1990, United States; GH009266
  • Te Papa acquires a turntable owned by 9-time New Zealand champion Hip Hop DJ – DJ Raw (aka Ian Seumanu). The turntable was part of Raw’s set up until 1996. He put it to work in many gigs with hip hop crews including ‘Gifted and Brown’ and ‘Debonair’. In 2000, DJ Raw toured and performed with ‘King Kapisi’ and the Wellington hip hop crew ‘Footsouljahs’.
Time Bandits T-shirt FE011482
Time Bandits T-shirt FE011483
Dawnraid Entertainment T-shirt FE011482
  • T-shirts by breakdancing crew Time Bandits and Dawnraid Entertainment acquired from the artists.


Culture Moves! from hiva to hip hop
  • Culture Moves! From Hiva to hip hop – a symposium held at Te Papa featured SugaPop of the Electric Bugaloos and Rock Steady Crew, Future, Stepkingz Crew and Common Ground. They joined dancers, artists, academics, choreographers from New Zealand, Hawai`i, Guam, Australia, Fiji, New Caledonia, and the United States at the symposium and in performance over three days.

footsouljahs ephemera

  • Kos Fa’alogo donates a small collection of Hip Hop ephemera: posters, magazines, stickers, flyers related to the activities of Wellington based Footsouljahs.


Hip hop battle at the Hip Hop Hut
Hip hop battle at the Hip Hop Hut
  • In the Hip Hop Hut at Te Papa, King Kapisi, Tha Feelstyle and MC Flowz performing at the Tangata o le Moana exhibition opening festival.
  • Dougie B, DJ Raw and Legacy Dance Crew – 2006 Hip Hop Dance Championship finalists in Los Angeles, perform at Te Papa’s 10th birthday celebrations
    pacific beats
  • The exhibition Tangata o le Moana; the story of Pacific people in New Zealand features a Pacific Beats mixing table featuring Pacific artists across a range of musical genres including hip hop.


  • Dean Hapeta a founding member of Upper Hutt Posse makes a rapumentary titled Ngatahi – Know the Links.  It is screened at Te Papa in association with the Human Rights Commission. This hip-hop infused six-part music documentary explored marginalised peoples’ arts and activism around the world.
  • Rangatahi Day at Te Papa features Dam Native, MC Kommikal and Upper Hutt Posse.


Suga Pop
Suga Pop
  • Suga Pop – a street-dance practitioner and choreographer based in the United States gives a presentation at Te Papa.

hip hop medal

  • The Palace Dance Studio in Auckland gifts a gold medal won by lead choreographer and dancer Parris Goebel. It was awarded to her and the Royal Family mega crew that competed at the Hip Hop International (HHI) World Championships in 2013.


Soul Clap 2013
Soul Clap 2013
  • Soul Clap Matariki B Boy B Girl Battle – the first-ever Matariki breakdance battle. It was presented with the Wellington chapter of international hip hop organisation The Universal Zulu Nation.
Aotearoa Hip Hop 101
Aotearoa Hip Hop 101
  •  Aotearoa Hip Hop 101 in collaboration with the Wellington Hip Hop community marks the beginning of World Hip Hop History Month at Te Papa.
Herbert Bartley, Sen, KOS, Truce, Rhys B, and Ati Teepa
Herbert Bartley, Sen, KOS, Truce, Rhys B, and Ati Teepa

NOTE: Culture Moves image : Culture Moves! logo design by Dean Otsuki. Contemporary dance image in logo by J. McCauley 2004, dancer: Travis Khan, The New Zealand School of Dance; Hip hop image by DEAP ©2004, dancer: B-boy 01; Hula image by Michael Harada ©2004, dancer: Kaohi Yojo, Mid-Pacific Institute of the Arts.



  1. https://soundcloud.com/young-gunius/sets/ascent
    1. Intro
    2. Create
    3. Doing me
    4. Foreign
    5. Hold you
    6. Flying High

    This EP took me Quiet a While to work on because i really wanted to Create and find my own Style. But most importantly i wanted to give a message and have the youth thinking positively and making positive decisions. I Mixed most of the the vocals my self.

    features, production, credits: Y$G, SB Marty, Raw shack, Alex hall, SwadMiller. Alex-Tarrant-keepa, Mister Burns

    MY name is serge . AKA Y$G i’m 22 I’ve been in NZ for 10 Years Im originally from Congo .but i grew up in gabon. i can speak french fluently. growing up music was always around me. especially Gospel. then hiphop came only when i was about 9 years old . my first time rhyming was a little later when i was 14. thats when i knew that music could be something Spacial for me. I was part of a Group named D.O.B(Jerk Freaks) and in 2012 we took our own paths. and i was about to because a Father. in 2014 i decided to reconnect with Music and give it a good shot this time. It took me almost a year to build my confidence again. and thats why i was able to release this Project.

    1. Author

      Thank you Serge for reading and commenting on the blog and sharing these links to your music. We wish you all the best with your EP.

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