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Muriwai festival celebrates Waitangi Day

Last updated 05:00 23/01/2014
SOUL FUNK: Five piece unit Soljah, which has Kaipara connections, will bring their apt singles Aotearoa and Summertime to Muriwai.

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Surf and hopefully sun combine to shine on an outdoor celebration for all at the Waitangi Day Festival surging into Muriwai.

The February 6 event is a fundraiser for the new surf club-community centre, which is the festival venue.

Soljah - a group with Kaipara connections - musician-producer Tiki Taane of Woodhill, Masterton-based musician Warren Maxwell, Wellington-based singer Ria Hall, Piha electronica musician Paddy Free and Will Crummer & the Rarotongans are some of the headline acts.

Muriwai songstress Nat Rose will also perform.

Festival organiser Erin Griffin is confident the event will sell out after its inaugural success in 2012, with strong support from volunteers.

"Our theme is Every Day is Waitangi Day and we will hammer that home with the music, speakers, our tribute to ocean, our zero waste policy and the whole vibe."

Festival director Moana Maniapoto, whose own band Moana & the Tribe will also perform, says every artist she approached was delighted to be invited.

"Our festival isn't an annual event and it's not the biggest, flashest festival in town and that's actually one of our attractions, particularly for families because it's safe. It's kaupapa-driven too - and we're next to the beach. What's not to love?"

It will be Tiki Taane's first appearance at the festival. He first rose to prominence as frontman of leading band Salmonella Dub before embarking on his solo career in January 2007.

His debut and award-winning solo release Past Present Future achieved double platinum sales, and the acoustic ballad Always On My Mind hit No 1, breaking two all-time New Zealand records.

Five-piece soul funk unit Soljah are known for their mesmerising live performances and ground stomping sound.

There is an eclectic blend of influences from members including the heavily distorted guitar lines mixed with jazz harmony from guitarist Les Watene, who has a degree in jazz and has been playing guitar since he was 12.

Tawhiri Littlejohn on the bass drum has history of playing reggae music since he was young, touring with his father's band since he was 15. His brother Raniera has similar experience and is on bass.

Ben Ratima provides soulful vocals growing up on the likes of artists such as Stevie Wonder since he was 7.

Jacob Nansen has the rhythm and blues touch on keys, playing since he was 14 and performing for artists including Nesian Mystik, Stan Walker, J Williams, Dane Rumble, Kimbra, Vince Harder, and David Dallas.

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The band's album Aotearoa received a nomination for best roots album at the 2013 Vodafone New Zealand Music Awards.

Warren Maxwell is the front man for popular groups Trinity Roots and psychedelic blues quartet Little Bushman.

He continues to fulfil the promise of his 2006 New Zealand Arts Foundation New Generation Award with past collaborations with John Psathas and the APO as well as film sound track credits and high profile work on Songs from the Inside. He is also developing his own venue, King Street Live, in Masterton.

Ria Hall is an exciting new voice on the contemporary New Zealand music landscape. Her music has influences of west coast hip-hop, vintage reggae, classic soul, dance hall reggae and modern beat music.

The festival, which includes an art exhibition, is supported by Te Waka Toi (Creative New Zealand) and Rodney Local Board.

Go to for more information.


What: Muriwai Waitangi Day Festival.

Where: Outdoors by the Muriwai surf club-community centre.

When: February 6, rain or shine, from 10am to 7pm.

Cost: Adults $20, under 12 free with an adult.

Tickets: Go to, Sand Dunz Cafe at Muriwai or The Daily Squeeze at Waimauku. Conditions: No smoking, alcohol, pets and zero waste.

- Norwest News

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