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.’’

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