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