Tihei says thanks
All you need is talent, generous passers-by and the world's your oyster.
That's what freestyle rapper Tihei Harawira of Kaitaia told the Northern News three years ago.
Since then he has busked his way to Scotland for the Touch Rugby World Cup in 2011 and earned enough from his freestyle rapping to put himself through music school.
Our video clip of his street performance went all over the world and earned him a fan club.
Now he has finished the year at the New Zealand School of Music's Auckland campus with a certificate in contemporary music.
Tihei is the son of Mana Party's leader Hone Harawira. Most of his $5000 annual school fees have been earned busking and he's just visited our office to say thanks to all those who have thrown money in his box.
"My word of advice to those who dream of a career in music is don't listen to producers who give you the wrong idea.
"A music producer doubted me for busking - said it was not a good look.
"Well, without busking I wouldn't be here," Tihei says.
"Thank you to the people of Kaitaia, Kerikeri and all around."
He also pays tribute to musician Dave McArtney who he says played an important role as a friend and mentor.
Mr McArtney, who died earlier this year, was a musician, record producer, recording engineer and songwriter who was an integral member of the chart-topping band Hello Sailor.
Tihei sees himself performing and teaching in the long term.