Opotiki-raised Tama Waipara was studying performance clarinet at New York’s Manhattan School of Music when a freak accident (a fuse box fell on his head) put studies on hold. While convalescing, he took up singing and songwriting. Three albums and a return to Auckland later, Waipara is a fixture on the NZ music scene: known for his powerful voice and eclectic style — ‘Alt/ Soul/ Indie/ Maori’ says his Facebook page — and collaborations (Nathan Haines, Annie Crummer, Maisey Rika). Fill Up the Silence won the 2014 NZ Music Award for Best Roots Album.
Inspired by the work of Spring Hill Prison music therapist Evan Rhys Davies, Julian Arahanga convinced the Department of Corrections to allow him to film inmates making songs at Rimutaka and Arohata prisons — with mentoring from musicians Anika Moa, Warren Maxwell, Maisey Rika, and Ruia Aperahama. In later seasons Moa was joined by Don McGlashan, Annie Crummer, Laughton Kora, Ladi6, Scribe and Troy Kingi at other prisons. The Māori TV show won Best Reality Series at the 2017 NZ Television Awards, and international interest. It also spawned two albums.
Internet comedy sensations Jimi Jackson and Thomas Sainsbury have a close encounter with some aliens in this big screen sci-fi comedy. On learning that a UFO has crash-landed near his Waikato town, Riko (Jackson) ends up clashing with Peter the 'alientologist' (Sainsbury), whose thoughts on aliens are far from friendly. Alien Addiction is the first movie from director Shae Sterling, who has directed music videos for artists including Stan Walker, Scribe, Brooke Fraser and Maisey Rika.
Coming on like a 1970s exploitation film, this video sees The Sagittarian (aka Shae Sterling) pounding the streets of Bangkok in a white suit and sunglasses. While on the hunt for a mysterious quarry, he encounters guns, breakdancing monks and some spectacular scenery. Fellow musician and filmmaker Mikey Rockwell, who features on the track, adds a touch of comedy in the finale. The video won a Knack Award at the 2007 Kodak Fringe Awards. After Sterling starred in this, he went on to direct videos for many other musicians, including Stan Walker and Maisey Rika.
Joel Haines has composed screen music for over two decades, including soundtracks for TV shows Outrageous Fortune, Westside, The Brokenwood Mysteries and Mercy Peak— plus movies This Way of Life and After the Waterfall. Haines has also created themes for dozens of high profile brands (Air New Zealand, McDonald's), and channel music for TV2, Māori Television, and Sky Sports.