Tiki Taane's police rap saga proves boost for charity

By Michele McPherson


Kiwi chart-topper Tiki Taane is staying upbeat as he prepares for court this coming week, saying his brush with the law has ironically proved positive for his career.
Taane, 34, has just returned from the Glastonbury Festival and a recent sell-out tour of Australia, where the media couldn't get enough of his "bizarre" story.
The singer is due in Tauranga District Court on Tuesday for a status hearing, where a date will be set down for a defended hearing.
Taane told the Bay of Plenty Times Weekend he was happy progress was being made and wanted to see the situation resolved.
"I'm prepared to handle any outcome that comes my way."
Taane, who moved to Papamoa in January, was arrested in the early hours of April 10, for singing a track by rap group NWA that is derogatory to police at the same time members of the police force did a walk-through at Tauranga club Illuminati.
Taane claims it was not his intention to rile police officers during the R18 gig, but he was charged with acting in a disorderly manner likely to incite violence. He has pleaded not guilty.
On May 7, he returned to Illuminati and recorded and filmed his live acoustic set during New Zealand Music Month.
One of the songs he sang was Freeangdom to Sing.
The video for that track, which features Taane wearing his controversial "Love the Police" t-shirt, is available to view on YouTube. The audio can be downloaded for free from tikidub.com.


Taane says it is not a protest song but a song about his experiences since his arrest.
His fans continue to support him, but he said there had been some negative publicity online.
"I always take the internet with a grain of salt because a lot of people can say things behind a computer screen."
While in Australia during May and June, the Australian press were reportedly "all over the Tauranga arrest".
"That [Freedom to Sing] is all they wanted me to play.
"Australian radio and TV thought it was a bizarre story and they wanted to focus on it.
"I had a sell-out Australian tour because of the extra media exposure," he said.
"[The publicity] has led to selling more albums and noticeably the gigs have been going off and going crazy.
I'm getting a lot more gig offers, which means I can up my fees, he said.
"Even though this incident has been unfortunate, I'm finding it's been positive in terms of my music and art."
This week, Taane found out he is a finalist in the Apra Silver Scroll for Children's Song of the Year with his track Starship Lullaby.
The song is also a finalist in the What Now Children's Video of the Year, as voted by viewers.
All proceeds from downloads of the song go to Starship Foundation, in support of Starship Children's Hospital.

- BAY OF PLENTY TIMES

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