Billy TK relishes peace role

Guitar legend and cultural icon Billy TK Senior is in Takaka this weekend to share his music and his message of peace.

The musician, who wowed audiences with his guitar skills playing with Powerhouse in the 1970s, is embracing his role as a Maori Ambassador of Peace and now sees his music as a secondary, complementary part of his mission.

"All my music now is constructed so that it enhances peace," said TK. "Everybody has a lovely response to peace. Everybody loves to feel that peace in some way."

TK has spent more than 30 years practising different forms of mediation and sees himself as connected to the tradition of the Waitaha Nation, which inspired the Parihaka non-violence school of resistance.

Since 2005, he has been a representative of Kohuiarau and tribes of the Far North, representing New Zealand's indigenous cultures abroad and advocating greater understanding at home.

"I am here to remind people that peace is paramount for us," he said. "That is the thing that unites me with all the people of the world. It's not a cultural issue, it's a really deep thing that people need to understand."

TK lives in Karamea but spends six months of the year touring Europe, New Zealand and other parts of the world. He recently attended the Lothlorian Peace Festival in Foulain, France, where he got a chance to connect with Hopi native Americans, Mayans from Guatemala and many others.

He is due to return to Europe in June to spread his message and his music.

Last year in Geneva, TK met with representatives of the United Nations who work alongside indigenous groups around the world. He says he is "deeply honoured" to speak on behalf of the Maori tribes of New Zealand at these international events.

TK has close ties with tribes who advocate Maori sovereignty and a different interpretation of the Treaty of Waitangi.

Billy TK Senior will perform tomorrow at the newly opened Benfys Creative Space at 4 Commercial St, Takaka. The free event will begin at 3pm and will last until 6pm. TK will be accompanied by the One World Peace Band.

The Nelson Mail