Quar­tet mem­ber re­turn­ing to his roots

South Waikato News - - Your Paper, Your Place - THE PLAZA

Award win­ning har­monies will fill The Plaza in Pu­taruru this week­end when the Mod­ern Maori Quar­tet per­forms.

The quar­tet, made up of James Tito, Maaka Po­hatu, Fran­cis Kora, and Toko­roa’s very own Matariki Whata­rau are set to per­form for one night only on Satur­day at 7.30pm.

De­spite per­form­ing at pres­ti­gious venues around the world Whata­rau said he was look­ing for­ward to re­turn­ing to the South Waikato and singing in the quar­tet’s sig­na­ture cabaret style show An Evening with the Mod­ern Maori Quar­tet.

‘‘It’s al­ways a hum­bling ex­pe­ri­ence go­ing back to our grass­roots. Grow­ing up just down the road, it’s awe­some to have the op­por­tu­nity to come and per­form for the com­mu­nity which helped raised me,’’ he said.

‘‘We have al­ways be­lieved that there’s no dif­fer­ence from per­form­ing mas­sive shows in the Royal Al­bert Hall in Lon­don in front of a crowd we don’t know or on our lo­cal marae for whanau and friends.’’

‘‘It’s all about whanaun­gatanga (kin­ship) and shar­ing the aroha (love) and we’ll take any op­por­tu­nity to spread that,’’ he said.

Whata­rau said he still has many fond mem­o­ries of his time in Toko­roa where he spent 11 years of his life.

‘‘I played for the Toko­roa Pi­rates and most Satur­days we’d make the drive to Pu­taruru and play the dif­fer­ent Pu­taruru clubs

‘‘For me the best thing grow­ing up in the South Waikato was the sense of com­mu­nity.’’ Matariki Whata­rau

on freez­ing cold morn­ings,’’ he said.

‘‘For me the best thing grow­ing up in the South Waikato was the sense of com­mu­nity. Ev­ery­one knew each other and you got a real sense that ev­ery­one had each other.’’

‘‘I also loved that these small forestry towns in the mid­dle of the coun­try were such melt­ing pots of dif­fer­ent and di­verse cul­tures. Be­ing Maori there was al­ways the marae down the road which was the cen­tre of our uni­verse but then there was the mas­sive pop­u­la­tion of Cook Is­lan­ders, Samoans, Ton­gans [and other cul­tures] that heav­ily in­flu­enced me and my view of the world.’’

‘‘I rarely get the chance to go back but I al­ways hold fond mem­o­ries of the South Waikato,’’ he said.

Tick­ets for An Evening with the Mod­ern Maori Quar­tet are $45 from The Plaza or Eventfinda.

SUP­PLIED

The Mod­ern Maori Quar­tet, left to right, Maaka Po­hatu, Fran­cis Kora, Matariki Whata­rau, and James Tito.

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