Southside of Bombay reflect on Treaty of Waitangi

By James Perry

An estimated crowd of 20,000 enjoyed the sounds on offer at the Waitangi@Waititi event in West Auckland today.

Among the many acts that took the stage were veteran band Southside of Bombay.  Best known for their massive hit "What's the Time, Mr Wolf", they have been entertaining crowds up and down the country for the better part of 30 years.

Kevin Hotu, one of the band's original members, says they acknowledge their ancestors and their contribution to the Treaty of Waitangi. 

That is why they have made the trek from Wellington, where most of them live, and Australia where another resides to West Auckland, to celebrate Waitangi Day. 

Hotu also says the various entertainers are examples of what the Treaty of Waitangi set out to do in 1840, particularly protecting tāonga, such as language, songs, haka and stories. 

Ranea Aperehama who along with twin brother Ruia, are also original members, has seen the benefits of their work promoting and preserving that tāonga.

After releasing What's the Time, Mr Wolf?, in 1992, he says he and his brother began to be drawn back to their Māori roots and began to wonder how they could entice their whānau back as well. 

That eventually led to the release of Waiata of Bob Marley in 2001, a te reo Māori covers album, as a way of attracting Māori back to the bosom of te reo. 

Ranea Aperehama says he has gone to many hui and events since then and it warms his heart to see so many young people singing those songs in te reo. 

Bob Marley has influenced Southside of Bombay for many years, and it makes it even more special for them that Waitangi Day and Bob Marley's birthday fall on the same day. 

Southside of Bombay will perform in Hamilton tomorrow with UK Reggae band Black Slate, who are touring NZ as they retrace their experience of 1981. 

They told Te Kāea about their special connection to Aotearoa in December.