Tainui joins Maori quar­tet tour

Selwyn and Ashburton Outlook - - STIHL SHOP FOSTERS - ERIN TASKER

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.

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