Tainui joins Maori quartet tour
Tainui Kuru is taking modern Maori music to the world.
The Ashburton-born entertainer is currently in Scotland performing as part of New Zealand’s Modern Maori Quartet at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. It’s a hectic schedule of daily shows and making their faces and names known at the world’s biggest theatre festival.
For Kuru it’s been a great experience and one that came about by chance, due to the growing popularity of the quartet.
The Modern Maori Quartet is a singing group begun by James Tito, Francis Kora, Maaka Pohatu and Matariki Whatarau, all graduates of Toi Whakaari, the New Zealand Drama School.
What began as a side project five years ago has now become a priority. Due to their growing success, the quartet decided to expand their whanau to help deal with the workload, Kuru said.
‘‘The first opportunity came up for me in March where I was asked to join the ‘B Team’. We performed in Wellington for a corporate event at Te Papa Museum while the original boys were touring New Zealand with the NZSO (the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra),’’ Kuru said.
Currently, a Modern Maori Quartet made up of Kuru, Tito, Whatarau and Rutene Spooner is performing in Scotland, while another quartet featuring the remaining two originals and Jamie McAskill and Matu Ngaropo are touring in Australia.
The Edinburgh Fringe Festival is the biggest theatre festival in the world, with more than 3500 creative pieces staged in the Scottish city at the same time.
‘‘We perform every day, as well as dropping flyers and doing extra gigs to try and push our name and build audiences. This is hopefully the first of at least three years for the quartet here in Edinburgh so we’re working hard to make sure that many people know about us for future years,’’ Kuru said.
Kuru will branch off from the quartet when they return to New Zealand. While the core of the quartet launch their latest album and embark on a tour of New Zealand and China, Kuru will get back to his musical theatre roots.
He’s about to play the lead role of Tony in a production of Saturday Night Fever, which will tour the country at the end of the year.
It will come to the Ashburton Trust Event Centre on December 6 and tickets are now available online.
Tainui Kuru (left) and the Modern Maori Quartet at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival.