Modern Māori Quartet brings back 1980s hits with new show

By Mare Haimona-Riki

The Modern Māori Quartet is in town, performing its show Ngā 80's as part of Auckland Live's cabaret season.

“This is a super proud and inspiring moment for us,” James Tito says.

The quartet's work highlights New Zealand's musical past and present, through a repertoire that blends old-school charm, with modern pizzazz, and also features a unique spin on Māori waiata, showband hits and pop music.

“The quartet is inspired by our parents and fathers,” Matariki Whatarau says.

“We grew up in the 1980s so that’s the kind of music that we grew up with, and we thought 'let's give a love letter to the songs that were always playing in the car and the songs we listened to on the radio'."

Actors/musicians James Tito, Maaka Pohatu, Matariki Whatarau and Francis Kora hail from different corners of Aotearoa to perform as the core members of MMQ, with Matu Ngaropo as music dramaturg/director.

The quartet aspires to be one of Aotearoa’s global cultural ambassadors, representing the revival of a proud heritage of world-class Māori showband entertainment, with relevance and appeal to today’s contemporary markets; at the heart of it all – hearty Māori entertainment.

Its final performance at the Civic Theatre is next Friday, September 23.