Ed Waaka takes aim at a gentrified Auckland in War On The Street

Ed Waaka is a songwriter hailing from Auckland whose newest music addresses the many problems faced by New Zealand’s contemporary Māori population.

His latest track War On The Street specifically targets the gentrification of fringe communities, the music video beautifully iterating Waaka’s message with a stark, black and white simplicity.

ed waaka auckland new zealand war on the streets

Introduce yourself to Ed Waaka, the Auckland-based songwriter addressing issues of national, if not international, importance through his writing.

While Waaka’s music, a soul-tinged folk that often calls in soft brass melodies, often bears universal messages of love, empathy, or family, War On The Street is more precise. Though no less admirable.

The video sees Waaka return to his childhood neighbourhood of Belmont, primarily an area reserved for Armed Forces housing that he moved to when his parents joined the navy. Now, chickenwire fences and ominous signage decorate the town as it undergoes demolition. Soon, the entirety of Belmont will be flattened to make room for upmarket housing.

Speaking to Under The Radar NZ, Waaka shared what feelings returning to his childhood home had brought up:

“For me returning to an area that held fond childhood memories and seeing it demolished in the name of progress resonated with me…”

“It was a humbling experience to realise that the neighbourhood that had helped me and my family get to a better place was being destroyed, and how important it was for me as a child to have a place called home.”

War On The Street marks the first single off an upcoming EP from Ed Waaka, a release no doubt bearing the same sense of social significance. The yet-to-be-named EP is set to release later this year, so keep an ear to the ground for more from this stirring artist.