Juicy Fest fans perform haka to pay tribute to artists

By Mana Wikaire-Lewis

It started with Māori culture and ended with Māori culture.

Festivalgoers answered the callout to perform a haka to pay tribute to the artists of Juicy Fest as it finished its New Zealand leg.

Last night saw the last NZ show of the Hip Hop & R'n'B festival wrap up with a packed crowd enjoying the sounds of yesteryear in Whangārei. It was headlined by Nelly, Ne-yo and Ja Rule, with performances by Bow Wow, Xzibit, Chingy, Pretty Ricky, Mya, Lloyd and Twista.

A message on social media called fans to wait until all of the artists were on stage following Nelly's closing set, to which fans and festival creator Rawiri Nelson (Te Arawa) performed Ka Mate.

Rawiri Nelson and Juicy Fest fans thank the artists for an unforgettable experience. Video / Facebook.

It was also Nelson's first time putting together an event of such magnitude, along with co-crator Kane Sala (Scotland, Sāmoa).

All but one of the five shows happened, with weather conditions forcing the Tauranga show to be cancelled. Though light wet weather went through most of the other shows, it didn't deter fans from not turning up  to enjoy the iconic music from the late 1990s to the 2000s.

The festival had been shrouded in controversy last year due to legitimacy if the event was real or not. Nelson fronted to teaomāori.news in October 2022, saying “It’s 100% real.”

All of the artists were welcomed to Aotearoa with a pōwhiri during their respective arrivals from Kaihaka Collective, a group made up of Māori practitioners guided by Malcolm Kerehoma (Ngāti Whātua) and led by Eruera Rarere-Wilton (Tainui, Ngāti Maru, Ngāti Whātua). 

The show will now begin its first of four Australian shows starting with Brisbane on Friday, January 13.