Cruising from red carpet to kindy run

By Anita Moran

Hollie Smith (right) with Anika Moa and Boh Runga.
Hollie Smith (right) with Anika Moa and Boh Runga.

With her face bare of make-up and her hair pulled back into a practical bun, Hollie Smith could be any mum who's just done the Arataki kindy run.

But her two full sleeve tattoos give a hint of Hollie Smith's other life, as an award-winning singer- songwriter who walks the red carpet at awards shows and is in demand for concerts as far away as Europe.

Since March, the previously Auckland-based singer has lived something of a double life as she now calls Mount Maunganui home.

She moved here for love - her partner of 18 months, Jeff Mokomoko, and his 4-year-old son, Taimana, were already living here.

"It didn't make sense for them to come to Auckland," Hollie told the Bay of Plenty Times Weekend.

"I was finding it a bit expensive living in Auckland, and there was no reason for me to be there.

"I love the environment [at the Mount] in terms of the energy - it's that little bit more laidback, there's not so much of a hurry."

Hollie, 31, says she's spent the last year "being a full-time mum" to Taimana, who she calls "her favourite human".

But she's far from retired from music - like any working mum, she has to find time to work in between looking after her boy.

She works on songwriting in the studio at her Oceanbeach Rd home whenever she gets the chance, and travels to Auckland at least once a week for work meetings and gigs - often spending the weekend there.

"But most of the time I've been here, trying to write for the next album."

Performing on stage is quite the contrast to her life at the Mount, where she says she's been "living in trackpants for the last eight months" and often does the 8am kindy run "pretty much still half in my PJs".

"I guess I noticed when I went up recently for the Silver Scrolls [awards] and the Music Awards - it's a little bit of a contrast going and having hair and make-up."

Hollie spent her first few months at the Mount "nesting", and says her biggest problem was trying to remember she was not on holiday and turning her mind to work.

A typical day starts with a run at 7am, getting Taimana organised for kindy or taking him to the beach, park, or swimming lessons.

She's also busy looking after Jeff, who is recovering from surgery for a sports injury.

"I'm pretty domesticated, being a full-time mum and adjusting to a different way of working.

"I don't go out much, but I didn't go out much when I was living in Auckland either."

Hollie jokes that most of her mates are now under 5, but she's made some good friends with their mums too.

The keen hockey player has also met people through her team at Otumoetai United hockey club - they won their club final at the end of the season.

Hollie says she's in Tauranga for the long haul - the couple is tentatively looking at the housing market - and hopes to expand her family with a baby soon.

"I've been wanting kids for a while. Day to day I'm dealing with kids anyway.

"It's waiting for an appropriate time - I don't think there ever is one, I'll just see what happens.

"Obviously being a mother now, all those things I was waiting for to have kids - like not being able to travel as much - there won't be any difference now, because my life is centred around [Taimana] anyway.

"It will be a bit more of an expensive tour because my children will have to come with me."

Hollie's charity work is mostly for organisations that help children - she supports Oxfam, KidsCan, and Women's Refuge.

She was delighted to support her new community when she was approached by good friend Tiki Taane about performing at Tauranga's new Christmas In the Park event - with all proceeds going to Tauranga Community Foodbank.

Taane will also MC the event, and he and Hollie will be joined on stage by Anika Moa and Anna Coddington.

The event at Blake Park on December 21 has been organised by Rachelle and Chris Duffy, founders of the Mount's monthly Little Big Markets, and entry is by gold coin.

Christmas present drop-offs will be arranged for Women's Refuge and Homes Of Hope. Concert-goers can also bring cans or non-perishable items for donation to the Tauranga Community Foodbank.

Hollie is looking forward to spending Christmas and New Year at the beach at her new home with family.

- BAY OF PLENTY TIMES

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