Sunday, 22 December 2013


after enjoying a Hahei sunrise (I was alone because the ladies hadn't slept on real beds for a while), we make our way to Tauranga and find a spot for lunch on the harbour….the server studied law at Western and practiced in the states for several years and decided to take a break….she may head for the UK….Jess is all ears……damn!….the road takes us to Rotorua….after a quick stock up we head into the camp site….Michael is our first contact - a former trumpet player that toured with Chicago, BTO and Blood Sweat and Tears….he upgrades us to a couple of cabins as he is concerned about the family of 50 that are staying in the camp….we accept his generosity then head down to the river to enjoy a beautiful sunny day….the family are from an island off Fiji that is located in the Kiribati Islands. Their island is slowly sinking and their home of many generations will soon be gone and they will need to be relocated in Australia or New Zealand…despite this, they are joyous people and we can’t help notice them….they play music, sing, play bumper kayak and generally enjoy their time with each other….we meet up in a games room where there is an old piano and the tunes start to roll…..we start playing together….a lot of these folks do not speak English but Jess and I have a musical bond with them….Beatles, Jingle Bells, Amazing Grace, etc……Jess and I are pretty happy to play piano, ukelele or just sing then suddenly they leave….Michael’s wife Jeanette who is half Maori and full fantastic joins us and explains that they have gone to pray….we spend some time with her and share such different life experiences but not so different love of songs….at curfew, we head to our cabins then there is a knock on the cabin door and we are asked to return to the “music room”……a larger group from this family come into the room and sit down….they share an old traditional song with us that pretty much brings tears to our eyes - all of the family sing this song and at the end we share our joy with clapping and laughter…the young player then hands me his ukelele….for me this is a very special honour and I sing a simple but happy Donavon tune that contains a round….the round fails but my heavy metal vocal crescendo connects and the spirit of the song is accepted with enthusiasm by this very beautiful group of people so close to losing their ancient home….I am humbled and moved by their happiness……I don’t know if I have ever been happier with any performance ever… is a wonderful bond and tonight the walls of “otherness” are no match for it’s power…..I love New Zealand and I will have great dreams tonight….

early morning on Hahei Beach.....


  1. I believe that music connects us with the past, the present and the future....