was educated at Nelson College, and attended the Nelson Conservatorium of Music. He has often judged Maori Cultural Competitions, and is known on almost every marae in New Zealand.
Mrs Witerina Harris, of the Arawa tribe, is at present teaching Maori handcrafts, poi and action song at the Wellington Teachers' Training College. She has been a member of the Ngati Poneke Club since it was founded in 1936, and acted as soloist and as a member of the club's entertainment party during and after the war years.
Rev. Napi Waaka, from Waikato, was a member of the well-known Maori entertainment group. “The Maori”, which toured New Zealand and Australia in 1957 and 1958. He is a noted composer and Maori Cultural Festival judge, and was the founder and leader of Auckland's Ataahua Maori Club.
Wiremu Kerekere founded and trained the Waihirere Maori club 15 years ago, and has been its president ever since. He has composed many songs and lyrics, among them the pois, action songs and powhiri used in the Maori welcome to Her Majesty the Queen and Prince Phillip at Waitangi in 1963.
Ashley Heenan, composer of the Maori Suite recently performed before the Queen Mother at the Royal Youth Concert in Wellington, has done considerable research on traditional Maori music. He has made many arrangements, including the orchestral backgrounds for the Maori Love Duets recorded by Kiri Te Kanawa and Hohepa Mutu.
News from U.S.A.
Writing from Las Vegas in June, Paddy Te Tai, of the Maori Hi-Five group, sends us this news.
‘We have tried to keep in close contact with any Kiwis appearing on the scene over here, and the latest import from home has been Ricky May from Auckland. He arrived here two weeks ago from Chequer's Night Club in Sydney, Australia, and will perform at the Silver Slipper, one of the principal hotels here in Las Vegas.
‘Just finished out here at the Thunderbird Hotel are the Maori Hi-Quinns—Thomas Kini, Gisborne, Kawana Waitere, Putiki, Eddie Nuku, Auckland, and Lynn Alvarey and Neville Turner of Australia. These boys have recently returned from five weeks in Hawaii, are now in Tuscon, Arizona, and leave shortly for Montreal, Canada.
‘I have just heard that the Mauriora Entertainers under the leadership of Dawn Nathan of Ngati-Poneke leave at the end of June for engagements in Alaska.
“As for ourselves, we are quite established in the U.S., and tentative plans are being made for an extensive tour of the Carribean, mainly Nassau in the Bahamas, Freeport, Puerto Rico and the West Indies. Our U.S. circuit, mainly Las Vegas, Reno, Lake Tahoe, Seattle (Washington) and Chicago, has been completed.
‘Te Waari Ward-Holmes, formerly of the Brown Bombers, has now established himself as a prominent entertainment agent, and is enjoying a very successful business in Toronto, Canada.
‘So you see, very slowly the Maori is establishing a reputation for himself overseas, and a fine one too, I might add, and it all reflects on his race and his country, which we think is one of the finest in the world.’
Maori Theatre Trust Formed
A nation-wide appeal to raise funds for the newly-formed Maori Theatre Trust was launched in Gisborne with a recital by the American soprano, Dolores Ivory, and Auckland mezzo-soprano, Hannah Tatana.
The five members of the trust are Mr P. Keiha, Mr D. Selwyn, Mr T. Te Heu Heu, Mr Puoho Katene and Mr T. Taurima.
The trust is soon to present its first production. It will be a mythical folk opera, Uenuku, which was due to go into rehearsal in mid-August, after 40 of the best Maori voices in the country had been found.
The script for Uenuku was written by Pei Te Hurunui Jones from an old Maori myth about the Rainbow gods.
The musical score was written by Paul Katene in collaboration with Thomas Taurima. There is no orchestration, and the programme's only accompaniment will be a few effects from flutes, conch shells and authentic Maori percussion.
It is hoped that the Trust will tour Russia next year with the opera.