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bandstanding – susannah bridges celebrates music in the west “It was amazing to stand with my friends ...”

Scarlett Manners-Tepania and her band Taniwha from Hoani Waititi Marae’s school recently won two awards at the multicultural Smokefree Pacific Beats competition. She introduces herself and her band, and then answers a few questions.

He uri a Scarlett Manners-Tepania nō Ngāpuhi

nui tonu. I tū tōna pēne a Taniwha nō Hoani Waititi Marae ki te whakataetae ā motu o Pacifica Beats 2015. I riro i a rātou te tohu mō te waiata pai rawa, ā, i riro i a Scarlett te tohu mana wahine, mōna i tū rangatira, mō tōna reo rōreka anō hoki. He maringanui ki a Scarlett ki te whiwhi i te tohu rā, ko tēnei te wā tuatahi kua whakanuia ia pēnei, ā, kei te matakuikui te kōhine i te mea e hāngai ana tana tohu ki

Scarlett Manners-Tepania is descended from te puoro. Ko Metotagivale Schmidt-Peke (Pare

Hauraki, Pare Waikato, Hāmoa) te kaiwhakatangi kutā, kaiwaiata hoki, ko Javan Rivers (Ngāti Manawa) te kaipatu taramu. He mea whakarite tā rātou pēne mō te whakataetae nei te take, heoi anō i runga anō i te angitu o te tū, ko te wawata ināianei, te haere tonu i roto i ngā mahi puoro.

When did you start your involvement with music? I’ve had experience singing in kapa haka over the

years but only started properly this year. Kapa haka is a huge influence at our kura (school). It’s part of everyday life and we compete at a national level too so we have experience singing and performing. Pāpā Tīmoti is our music teacher, he teaches us in te reo Māori. We have lots of creative freedom.

How did Taniwha get started? We started the band to compete in Pacifica Beats.

We all just started practising, not too seriously but when it started getting closer to the time we started getting scared and took it seriously. We all collaborate on the lyrics and tunes. Our teachers are really supportive, encouraging and hardworking. We were lucky to have Hollie Smith as our mentor

– she’s the best. When she came to our school she was gifted a traditional form of tattoo, tā moko. Over the duration of her receiving her tā moko we sang for her continually, which is also a form of tākoha (gift), to help alleviate the physical pain encountered whilst accepting this traditional form of tattoo.

Ngāpuhi. Her band Taniwha competed in the Pacifica Beats national final this year. They were awarded best song and Scarlett won the Mana Wahine award for her singing. It was an honour for Scarlett to receive this award, this is the first time she has ever been acknowledged in this way and she is overjoyed that it is a music award. Metotagivale Schmidt-Peke (from Pare Waikato, Pare Hauraki and Samoa) is the group’s guitarist and also sings, Javan Rivers (from Ngāti Manawa) is the drummer. They formed the band simply for the purpose of competing in Pacifica Beats, but due to their success they are now planning to continue making and performing music.



describe the

sound of Taniwha for us? Taniwha has an earthy,

indigenous, soulful sound. We


incorporate and

traditional forms of Māori music. We are influenced by Sam Smith, Matt Corby & Bob Marley – beautiful ballads and reggae.

How did it feel performing on stage at Smokefree Pacifica Beats? It was very special because it was our first time

performing in a competition for our school as a band. It was amazing to stand with my friends, each of us contributing to the sound we produced.

What’s the next step for you musically? I want

to continue with music, learn to play

instruments and compose. And I want to get more gigs, gain experience and perform at Smokefree Pacifica Beats again next year.

Taniwha are (l-r) Javan Rivers, Scarlett Manners- Tepania and Metotagivale Schmidt-Peke (all aged 14).

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