Magician wows audiences all in Te Reo Māori

By Mare Haimona-Riki

Media accreditation: Footage featured in this interview is courtesy of Story is King media productions

Api Wairau-Mason (Ngaāti Tūwharetoa, Te Atiawa, Mangaia) may very well be the only magician in the world who performs his mahi all in Te Reo Māori.

Mason, or Tangata Tumatarau (magician) is self-taught, and learned most of what he knows primarily from YouTube, but has recently found himself collaborating with well-known local magicians to add to his kete of tinihanga (basket tricks).   

“Lately, I’ve found myself around a whole bunch of Aotearoa magicians and they’ve been kind enough to give me a lot of knowledge from their time in this business and doing this mahi.”

Much of Mason’s work is used with only but a deck of cards which is somewhat nostalgic for the Wellington-based father of five, who has fond memories of playing cards with his nan when he was younger, and it was always in Te Reo Māori.

“I grew in in a place called Wainuiōmata, which most people will know as the birthplace of kōhangareo. So Te Reo māori has very deeply been planted into my heart and soul through my kuia!”

 Mason has performed all over the motu including the Cook Islands and even released two web series created by Story is King media and funded bt Te Māngai Pāho.

“It took us from Wellington to Aukland! It was a really cool experience,” says Wairau.