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On the death of Maui Dalvanius Prime

On the death of Maui Dalvanius Prime

Associate Minister for Arts, Culture and Heritage Judith Tizard today expressed her sadness at the death today of Maui Dalvanius Prime (Tainui, Ngâpuhi, Ngâti Ruanui, Tuwharetoa, Ngâ Rauru, Pakakohi, Ngai Tahu), and paid tribute to the part he played in bringing Mâori culture to the fore, most significantly through contemporary Mâori music.

“Dalvanius made an enormous contribution to his Patea community, to Mâori cultural heritage and to our national identity. He was a singer, songwriter and producer who inspired the younger generation, and he toured the world giving lectures on Mokomokai.

“Dalvanius had a long and successful career as a record producer. He began his musical career in 1969 when he, his brother Eddie and sister Barletta entered a talent competition as pop trio The Fascinations. He spent the 1970s touring overseas with The Fascinations and Sherbet, supporting major soul artists, developing his songwriting and production skills, releasing singles and headlining his own shows.“

Maui Dalvanius Prime returned to New Zealand in 1979 to set up a production company. His first project was the arrangement and production of the late Prince Tui Teka’s award-winning album The Man, The Music, The Legend. He set up Maui Records twenty years ago, recording and releasing many local acts.

“He is best remembered for creating cultural history with the Patea Mâori Club’s hit musical Poi E, a collaboration with Ngoi Pewhairangi. The song Poi E stayed at the top of the New Zealand singles charts for four weeks and was the biggest-selling single of 1984.

“Dalvanius has said the musical was a calculated exercise in promoting tikanga and te reo Mâori that succeeded in teaching the younger generation to be proud of being Mâori and Kiwi. Poi E was a turning point for contemporary Mâori music.

“Dalvanius was also dedicated to the repatriation and reburial of Mokomokai, and founded the Mokomokai Education Trust to continue the work of the late Maui Woodbine Pomare.

“I’m delighted that Dalvanius was recently able to accept in person a special one-off award from Te Waka Toi - the Te Tohu Motuhake Award – which recognised his leadership and outstanding contribution to Mâori arts and to New Zealand.

"My sympathy goes out to Dalvanius’ whanau, friends, and all those he worked with and mentored during his life.

“We will all miss him.”

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