Adrian Waretini was born in Rotorua in 1946, the son of Deane Waretini, a celebrated Māori singer in the 1930s and 1940s. After his father died, Adrian began singing his songs and adopted his Christian name as a music career beckoned. Waretini Junior went on to perform with the Māori show bands in the 1970s. In 1980, he recorded a song written by his cousin (and Te Arawa elder) George Tait. Initially self-released, ’The Bridge’ was picked up by CBS; it became the first number one single to be sung in te reo after it topped the New Zealand chart for two weeks in April 1981.