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Māori-Ska-Reggae Debut for Dancehall Brothers

Māori-Ska-Reggae Debut for Dancehall Brothers

Brothers Adrian and Marc Wagner fuse ska and reggae with Māori language to deliver their dancehall debut, 'The Wagner Brothers', in time for NZ Music Month (May 2014).

Funded by Te Māngai Pāho, the five-track EP is released under the WaaHuu Creations label led by indigenous diva Toni Huata.

Huata is executive producer of 'The Wagner Brothers' as well as two soon-to-be-released albums: 'Te Manu’ by PAO members Karl, Tangaroa and Te Manea Teariki; and ‘Tomokia’, her follow-up to chart-topping 'Hopukia' with support from Paddy Free.

The three music projects will be officially launched at ‘Ngā Tukemata o Matariki - A Celebration of New Māori Music and Performing Arts from Ngāti Kahungunu’ in Wellington on Thursday 5 June 2014.

As well as South American, Welsh and Austrian ancestry, Adrian and Marc Wagner are affiliated to Ngāti Kahungunu ki te Wairoa (Rangiāhuaa) and Heretaunga (Ōmāhu), Te Whānau-ā-Apanui, Te Āti Haunui-a-Pāpārangi, Ngāti Hauiti, Ngāti Apa and Te Āti Awa.

Their family immigrated to England when they were young and the brothers grew up singing with each other as well as with other siblings both in the United Kingdom and New Zealand.

Adrian says their shared passion for music kept them connected as a whānau (family) during the bleak Thatcherite years.

"We were still children when our family moved over to the UK to live and we listened to a huge variety of music when we were growing up there," Adrian explains.

"Back in those days, reggae and ska were popular and we bring some of those sounds to our new EP."

Adrian and Marc are experienced entertainers and MCs who undertook their performance training in one of the toughest areas besides theatre and family events - "busking!"
On returning to New Zealand, the brothers reconnected with their Māori whakapapa (genealogy) and have since contributed to a wide range of projects as radio broadcasters, performers in festivals such as Te Matatini and support musicians for several Māori albums.

"Looking back on when we were growing up in Aotearoa, we were also exposed to Māori and other Polynesian music as we used to sing together a lot as a whānau.

"The jazz and swing vibes of our pakeke (adults) who listened to groups like The Ink Spots and the Glenn Miller Orchestra to what our parents were listening to at the time - Bob Marley, Led Zeppelin and Stevie Wonder - were big influences."

Coinciding with the beginning of NZ Music Month, 'The Wagner Brothers' EP is available to purchase at iTunes; Amplifier; Amazon; Google Play; and Spotify

The five songs are also online on the band's website,

Entry to Ngā Tukemata o Matariki is by koha (donation); however, RSVPs are essential as seating is limited. To book, contact WaaHuu Creations on mobile +64 21 639 790 or email


My Sweet Baby
"Written when we were going through troubles with our lady friends at the time."

Wāhine Toa
"An acknowledgement of our woman folk - who are the backbone of our families."

"Dedicated to the daughter of one of our mates after she had run off to be with a street kid …"

"A song about the battle between the Māori and the Crown for their part of the wealth of this country."

Kōhanga Reo
"This is an acknowledgement to the kōhanga reo movement - and the time that it delivered the language to our kids."


Singers/Songwriters: Adrian Tangaroa Wagner, Marc Marino Paetahi Wagner
Executive Producer: Toni Huata at THC Ltd & WaaHuu Creations, Wellington
Programmers/Engineers: Paddy Free, George Nepia III
Recorded at Ōtari Studio, Wilton, Wellington
Mixed by Paddy Free at Piha Studio, Piha, Auckland
Mastered by Chris Chetland at Kog Studio, Tītīrangi, Auckland
Language Consultant: Hohepa MacDougall
Artwork: Karl Teariki at Atea Creative Limited, Wellington
Co-writer - 'My Sweet Baby': Richard John Wagner
Co-writer - 'Kōhanga Reo': Timothy Pamariki Wagner


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