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Mäoridom, arts world will greatly miss Dalvanius

Mäoridom and arts world will greatly miss cultural leader

Haere te manu tioriori i tatangi ai te wao nui a Tane i rongo ai te ao whanui i tö reo reka i tö puoro

The death today of Maui Dalvanius Prime (Tainui, Ngäpuhi, Ngäti Ruanui, Tuwharetoa, Ngä Rauru, Pakakohi, Ngai Tahu) has been met with great sadness by Mäoridom and the arts world of New Zealand.

Dalvanius was a singer, songwriter and producer in a musical career that spanned more than 30 years.

"We mourn the passing of this charismatic Mäori leader who revitalised Mäori music and Mäori culture and gave so much pleasure and enjoyment to all New Zealanders," said Elizabeth Ellis, Chair of Te Waka Toi, the Mäori arts board of Creative New Zealand.

"Dalvanius was a truly significant leader in Mäori music as a composer and a performer, he also worked tirelessly towards the conservation and repatriation of moko mokai."

Te Waka Toi recently honoured Dalvanius Prime with a special one-off award, Te Tohu Motuhake to recognise his leadership and outstanding contribution to Mäori arts, at the Ngä Täonga Toi/Te Waka Toi Awards Evening in September.

In 1984, Dalvanius combined his talents with well-known composer the late Ngoi Pewhairangi to produce Poi e, a Mäori language song with the Patea Mäori Club. Poi e topped the New Zealand pop charts for four consecutive weeks and was the year's biggest-selling single.

Dalvanius' musical career began in 1969 when he won first prize in a talent quest on Wellington's Radio 2ZB. From there, he became the musical director and pianist for a Porirua trio called The Shevelles and a year later he set up The Fascinations, a group he toured with throughout Australasia. In 1974, he signed a recording deal with Reprise Records releasing two singles: Love Train and Respect Yourself. In 1983, Dalvanius formed his own production company, Maui Records, and has recorded Taste of Bounty, Tama Renata and signed up singer Moana Maniapoto early in her career.

More recently, Dalvanius had been involved in the repatriation of moko mokai. Dalvanius says his work with moko mokai and working with Ngoi Pewhairangi stand out as career highlights.

At the time of his death, Dalvanius was working on three new recording projects and was due to go to the United States to complete negotiations for the repatriation of a number of moko mokai held in American museums and institutions.

© Scoop Media

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