Porirua’s singing road worker makes her mark
‘‘The singing helps pass time, keeps people entertained and moves the crowd along a lot faster.’’
Among the ever-present construction and traffic noise, a sweeter sound has emerged on Wellington’s Boulcott St – courtesy of a newly-employed labourer.
After only a few days on the job, Porirua woman Tepua Tanielu is already making an impression on colleagues and the public, thanks to her impressive singing voice.
The 21-year-old has been tasked with managing traffic on the busy central city street, which she admitted wasn’t always the most exciting job.
‘‘We do have long days and because I’m on the side street which isn’t as busy, the singing helps pass time, keeps people entertained and moves the crowd along a lot faster,’’ she said.
‘‘It’s just nice to see people smile when they walk past.’’
While her current repertoire included plenty of Michael Jackson hits and the more recent Charlie Puth, Tanielu said it was impossible to pick a favourite artist. ‘‘I love old school – you can’t get better than old R’n’B, ‘80s, ‘90s - and early this morning I was singing a bit of Barry White and Dolly Parton. I love it all.’’
Tanielu said she was more than happy to take requests from passers-by in need of some music to brighten up their day. ‘‘If someone’s walking past singing a song I know, I’ll jump in on it and they end up stopping for a bit.
‘‘A couple of times I was singing some Maori songs and some students from WelTec came down and starting singing along which was awesome,’’ she said.
Her colleagues had also, so far, been receptive to her singing with even those on high scaffolding able to hear her powerful voice.
‘‘They tell me to chuck down my hard-hat and busk us enough money for lunch,’’ Tanielu said.
‘‘I hope it doesn’t end up driving them insane.’’