Still search­ing for some­thing a bit dif­fer­ent

Central Leader - - NEWS - By JESS ETHERIDGE

Mika Haka is al­ways on the look-out for the next big star.

And if they are a bit dif­fer­ent that’s okay, he says.

‘‘We need a bit more crazy stuff, for heaven’s sake.’’

The ex­trav­a­gant en­ter­tainer has made a name for him­self over the last three decades as a pop singer, cabaret per­former, tele­vi­sion host, ac­tor and a per­ma­nent fix­ture of Auck­land’s nightlife.

His first sin­gle was re­leased in the 1990s and he has had stints as a host on TVNZ’s Good Morn­ing and Maori Tele­vi­sion.

Now he wants to pass on his knowl­edge to the next gen­er­a­tion.

‘‘I think naughty is a good thing for young people,’’ he says. ‘‘There’s ‘ naughty’ and then there’s ‘hor­ri­ble, yuck’. We don’t do that here. We’re talk­ing about be naughty, dress up, sing crazy songs.

‘‘Maybe talk about things your par­ents might go ‘ooh’ at be­cause we did. You know if we got a pierc­ing in our days we would be ban­ished.’’

The ‘here’ is the Mika Haka Foun­da­tion in Mt Roskill. It was founded in 2008 as a men­tor­ship pro­gramme.

He men­tors 15 people oneon-one each year and says thou­sands have been through the pro­gramme.

Stu­dents per­form at popup events and fes­ti­vals such as the Auck­land Pride Fes­ti­val.

‘‘I’m en­cour­ag­ing people who want to be cre­ative, who want to push bound­aries,’’ he says.

‘‘They all want to be suc­cess­ful. I know if they had their way they’d all be Lady Gaga and top 10 and that’s won­der­ful. How­ever, my thing is all about be­ing cre­ative and crazy.’’

Haka says his stu­dents know be­ing a per­former doesn’t al­ways pay the bills but do­ing what makes you happy is what mat­ters.

‘‘I think we have a lot of nice arts in New Zealand, there’s not a lot of com­pa­nies that I know that are push­ing bound­aries but also the arts have changed.

‘‘There used to be cre­ation, now it’s about the bot­tom line, dol­lar-wise.’’

The Mika Haka Foun­da­tion will be host­ing two shows as part of this year’s Matariki cel­e­bra­tions.

Ruf­fling feath­ers: Mt Roskill-based per­former Mika set up the Mika Haka Foun­da­tion for up-com­ing en­ter­tain­ers.

Go to cen­tral­ and click Lat­est Edi­tion to watch one of Mika’s mu­sic videos.

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