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Mahora Peters speaks at celebrity breakfast


Thursday, September 8, 2011

Mahora Peters speaks at celebrity breakfast

Two stalwarts of the Maori showband era were the guest speakers at this morning’s National Waiata Maori Music Awards Celebrity Breakfast event in Hawke’s Bay.

Mahora and Billy Peters have been working in the entertainment industry for over four decades and continue to perform with the famous Maori Volcanics in Australia and New Zealand.

Mahora co-founded the Maori Volcanics with her former husband Nuki Waaka in the 1960s.

Mahora and Billy are in Hawke’s Bay attending the National Waiata Maori Music Awards ceremony tonight where Mahora will be one of five nominated awards recipients.

She is to accept the Lifetime Contribution to Maori Music Award in recognition of her work in the industry.

This morning Mahora and Billy, who now live in Queesnland, were the guest speakers at the celebrity breakfast where they challenged young performers at the music awards event to be diverse in their career options in the industry.

“At one stage in our careers, Billy and I looked around and knew that the entertainment industry was going to drop off, just like it is today with the recession, so we thought about what we would like to do.

“We needed to diverse into other talents so that’s when I began to write, I love writing, I write movie scripts and books.”

In 2007 her book called, Showband! Mahora and the Maori Volcanics, was released and she’s now working on a movie version of the same title.

“Everyone in this room has a story and you should write about it because it’s your legacy, its something you can leave behind for your mokos.”

Mahora also paid tribute to the late Billy T James who was a member of the Maori Volcanics in the 1970s before heading into television.

“I remember seeing his play in a hotel in Tokoroa and Billy and I could see there was a special talent here and that’s when we asked him to join us.

“We went back overseas and that’s where we believe he did his training ,when he saw all of these great entertainers … he was like a big sponge, he took everything in and he used it later on when he came home.”

Billy Peters remembers being 22 years old and realizing he’d need an alternative career to prepare for a possible down turn in the entertainment industry in the future.

“I remember doing a few movies with Don Selwyn but then you’d have a quiet period of about six months when there was nothing happening. So I decided to go into electronics and managed to study for a degree in that area.

“Back in the early days you could work seven days a week, you could live of music, but it’s no like that any more and I think young people who want to work in music also have to get themselves ready and prepared for other options.”

Billy says working with the Maori Volcanics over the years had allowed the band to meet “many different races of people”.

“Even when we went to Canada, we made a point of going to see the Indian tribes there, to see how they lived, what they ate and how they dealt with life.

“It’s something that we would not have been able to learn anywhere else and although we are not rich (in terms of money) we are rich in the many people we have meet from all over the world.

“We set a high standard for Maori people wherever we went and I hope that those of you looking to go into a music career that you remember to carry the name of our people well, that you respect it, you let other people respect it, you know who you are and you leave people with the best impression possible.”

At the end of the presentation, Mahora and Billy performed a waiata with other well known showband singers, Rim D Paul (Quin Tikis), Monty Cowan (Kawana Showband) and Marsh Cook (Quin Tikis).

National Waiata Maori Music Awards ambassador Taisha Tari also performed for the guest speakers at the breakfast.

Tonight Mahora and Billy will be among the starts of Maori music walking the red carpet into the Hawke’s Bay Opera House theatre for the annual awards ceremony which begins at 7pm.


© Scoop Media

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