Piripi Walker follows the journeys of show bands like the Maori Volcanics, the Quin Tiki's, and the Hi Fives, in Australia, America and Asia.
The Maori Show Bands Part 2: Millions of Hours of Happiness
Tēnā koutou katoa e noho mai nā i ō koutou kāinga maha, i ngā pari kārangaranga o te motu. I'm Piripi Walker, and in this series of programmes we hear the songs and voices from some of the Maori show bands that played to audiences around the world from the 1950s on.
Some of the show bands members got together recently for the launch of a show bands website at Te Papa Tongarewa, the National Museum. I talked to them about their careers, the bands, and their reflections on their travels. These Māori musicians and singers lived much of their lives away from New Zealand. Many are now retired and living overseas.
But it all started with the groundwork in Aotearoa. Hiria Moffat of Ngai Tahu, originally from Timaru, remembers the fun of being young and away from home, while touring with a band called the Three Deuces.
Next came Australia, and for most, their first OE. Rim D Paul of Te Arawa remembers the Hi Fives Mambo trading in their residency at the Trades Hall in Wellington, for the lights of Surfers Paradise.
I talked to Solomon Pohatu of Ngati Porou, another protégé of the talent spotters, about his training, and his teachers.
The showbands settled across the Eastern seaboard of Australia leading the Maori migration to that country. Hiria Moffat again.
The Maori Quin Tikis there, with Cuanto Calienta el sol, Love me with all your heart. The bands bumped into other entertainers making their way in Australia and got along pretty well with all those Aussies.
Then there was Vietnam. The bands were sought after by the American entertainment managers.
Solomon Pohatu found Hawaii on his travels with the Maori Hi Fives and Frankie Stevens, and stayed on for 20 years.
After success in Australia the yellow brick beckoned, not to the land of Oz, but to El Dorado, Las Vegas, and the glamorous clubs and vast crowds of the United States.
Billy T James was another Volcanics Band member. Here's a routine featuring his 'impressions' Live at 'Pips' in Whangarei, recorded in 1985.
With so many Maori showbands bands in existence in those years, I asked Rim D Paul whether there was any rivalry between them.
After his years on the road Rim D Paul also settled back into life in New Zealand. He was instrumental in starting the National Maori Choir in 1989, a task that wove together Maori performers with different ideas and backgrounds. The years of musical training and principles mastered in the showbands came to the fore.
Billy Peters of the Maori Volcanics is emphatic.The Maori showbands were a positive experience - talent blossomed, fascinating careers opened up to those who took the path. He's delighted with the online exhibition on the bands which Te Papa has created.
Mahora Peters of the Maori Volcanics has dedicated some of her recent efforts to remembering her showband mates. She's written a book called Showband.
In the third and final programme in this series we'll hear excerpts from the panel discussion and concert from the launch of the showbands online exhibition. I'm Piripi Walker. My special thanks to those showbands members who shared their memories with me. Good bye for now, hei kona ra mo tenei wa.
'That's Life" (Kay/Gordon) Rim D Paul Live at the Gluepot Tangata Tang CD 507
'Love Me With all Your Heart' (C & M Rigual-M.Vaughan) The Quin Tikis, Make Friends with the Quin Tikis Sunshine QL-32284
'First of May" (B, R & M Gibb) The Bee Gees Best of Bee Gees Vol 1 Polydor 831594-2
Panini pua kea, (John Kamealoha Almeida) The Pahinui Bros, Private music 82098
'Moten Swing (live)' Count Basie Jazz Masters EMI 855144,
'Impressions" Billy T James, Billy T Live at 'Pips' Pagan 498 501
'E Ipo" (Tui Teka) Prince Tui Teka, The Greatest BMG 74321 94246
E Ihowa Atua (T.Bracken & J.J. Woods) The National Maori Choir I Stand Tall - Ka tu au, WEA 9031-72870
Those were the Days (Mahora Peters), Mahora and Billy Peters, Mahora and Billy, Aotearoa 2004, Pita Productions Pty Ltd Sydney 2004 (UNRELEASED)
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