Prince Tui Teka was born in Ruatahuna in 1937. He joined a circus in the early 1950s and moved to Australia. A multi-instrumentalist with a big personality and an infectious sense of humour, he established himself as a cabaret musician with The Maori Troubadours and then The Maori Volcanics. A solo career followed in the early 70s. He moved back to Tokomaru Bay in 1981 and co-wrote his greatest hit ‘E Ipo’ with Ngoi (‘Poi E’) Pewhairangi when he was courting her niece (and his future wife) Missy. It was NZ’s first te reo chart topper. He died in 1985.
Music legend Prince Tui Teka performs his greatest hit ‘E Ipo’ in this excerpt from a TVNZ special recorded at Auckland’s Mandalay Ballroom. Based on a traditional Indonesian folk melody, ‘E Ipo’ was written by Teka with Ngoi (‘Poi E’) Pewhairangi, when he was courting her niece (and his future wife) Missy. The two join Tui Teka on stage (along with Pita Sharples’ Te Roopu Manutaki cultural group) for a rousing rendition performed with his trademark verve and humour. The song reached number one, following te reo-dominated chart-toppers 'The Bridge' (sung by Deane Waretini) in 1981, and Howard Morrison's 1982 version of 'How Great Thou Art'.