'Big Dane': big heart - and dreams

SIENA YATES
Last updated 05:00 24/10/2012
INSPIRATIONS: Music icons like Whitney Houston have been a driving influence on Dane Moeke’s big voice, which got him to the finals of New Zealand’s Got Talent.
BRUCE MERCER

INSPIRATIONS: Music icons like Whitney Houston have been a driving influence on Dane Moeke’s big voice, which got him to the finals of New Zealand’s Got Talent.

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Hamilton's "Big Dane" Moeke never expected to get to the New Zealand's Got Talent finals, but with the finish line in sight, he said winning would be a great chance to give back to his family.

The 22-year-old singer is the primary caregiver for his mother who is seriously ill, but he said his family has been incredibly supportive.

"My family and friends have been awesome getting me this far because I tend to take negative criticism to heart. But . . . I found that I don't really have to prove myself to anybody any more. It's such a weight lifted off my shoulders," he said.

"If a job or something comes out of this, I really want to set myself and my family up."

Moeke's inspirations include Whitney Houston, Mariah Carey and Beyonce but he said his earliest inspiration was one of the nation's first talent shows, McDonald's Young Entertainers. As a child he thought, "I can do that" and he now has the chance to prove he can - and win a grand prize of $100,000 in the process.

Having received the most votes in the semi-final his chances look good, but he's not counting his chickens just yet.

"In all honesty, I think it's anybody's game.

"I wasn't too confident because I was actually telling myself, after I performed for the semi-finals - I thought I had bombed.

"It's so out of this world that I've actually made it this far," he said.

Filming for the finals resumes next month, and Mr Moeke is glad to have a few stress-free weeks to prepare for the "exhausting" days of filming.

However, back home in Hamilton, he is also juggling university exams for his Screen and Media studies, a role in Hamilton's Hairspray production, and looking after his mother.

Even going out has become much more difficult as he is regularly approached on the streets by well-wishers, but he tells them, "I'm not famous, just well known".

"It's a surreal feeling, but it's good. Really good. Like I said on TV, I just feel loved."

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- Waikato Times

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