Tommy Kapai: Still searching for those lost chords

By Tommy Kapai

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Searching for lost chords to a song I have written has never been far from my creative radar and recently my search has been amplified by the sad news that the father of the Rainbow Nation is about to be free at last to take that long walk home to freedom.

So I have the song or the words at least (see below) but now I need the tune.

Or as the Moody Blues once sang, I am searching for that lost chord.

Wherever music and my ears meet I have been looking for that lost Mandela Minnie chord.

When I heard the tune of the new Holden Calais ad on TV last week, I thought maybe my dear friend Dave McCartney was channelling me a tune from the other side.

If you haven't heard it, do your ears a favour and listen to the sweet sound of Gutter Black - played by a stringed orchestra to seduce drivers into buying the beautiful new Holden Calais.

Dave composed and created this cult tune that is the theme song for Outrageous Fortune and was the swan song for Hello Sailor every time they toured through Tauranga and the Mount - in the footloose and fancy free days, when walking on the wild side with Beef Brazier was all part of dancing to and delving into Blue Ladies of the night.

Another special sound I heard over the weekend came from an unexpected source, but very much from the sendoff of another 'awhi angel' in my life.

When the oom pah pah of the Ratana Band echoed across the banks of the Wairoa River on Saturday, there was a beat in the band that painted a picture of Mandela and Minnie Gotz who were sending home.

Dancing together without a care or a tear to take away their smiles or slow down their step.

Minnie Gotz was an awhi angel who had a cheeky girl glint in her eye and a permanent smile across her face that was wider than her beloved Wairoa River next to which we buried her on Saturday.

She carried the karanga of the Kohanga Reo kaupapa with a pure passion that had no room for compromise or half pai pronunciation.

Moe mai ra Minnie, may you and Mandela, when he arrives, dance together like there is no tomorrow, just as you did down stairs at the Wairoa Club.

M and M now there's a great name for my song - when I find the lost chord.

Perhaps the new king-maker of coastal politics Te Hamua Nikora has the tune, given Hone says he is the answer to the Mana/Maori party 'one love' election victory next year?

If it isn't Gutter Black, Blue Lady Ten Guitars or One Love played by a Ratana Band then somehow, somewhere the song remains the same and it's just the elusive sound that escapes me.

Maybe the recently composed sing song by Peter Garrett in honour of Pinocchio's sister, the outgoing Prime Minster of Ngati Skippyland, is the tune I am looking for?

Oh well I guess I better stop looking in all the wrong places and put my faith in the universe to send me the lost chord I am looking for.

I'll just wait until Mandela, Minnie and my Pink Flamingo mate Dave channel me the lost chord I am looking for.

If you have the tune to my song Free at Last for Minnie and Mandela, please let me know.

Free at last, you walked your talk and we walked with you

The rainbow nation and the children of the long white cloud


Free at last, free at last, free at last to walk home to freedom

All blacks and All Blacks - all colours of the rainbow - walking the long road to freedom

Free at last where awhi angels sing and rainbow warriors dance

To the beat of ubuntu - reconciliation for me and forgiveness for you

Free at last, free at last - free at last to walk home to freedom

Kia kaha! standing tall - standing proud, Nelson and New Zealand

Free at last to walk the long road to freedom


Haere ra moe mai ra - Minnie and Mandela

Farewell and fly free

You are free at last - to walk home

Free at last to walk home to freedom

Tommy Kapai is a Tauranga author and writer.

- Bay of Plenty Times

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