Funny, Maori and unquestionably geeky

By Kristin Macfarlane

The J Geeks are funny, good looking and proud to be Maori - and they're making a career out of it.

The J Geeks, made up of Jermaine Leef, 28, Marino Taiatini, 27, and Eru Bennett-Paul, 19, arrived in Rotorua yesterday as part of their J Geeks Tu Meke Tour.

Fans went to the Rotorua gig at the Civic Theatre last night to enjoy an hour-and-a-half of non-stop metro-Maori entertainment filled with electronics, haka, audience interaction, singing, comedy, photographs and more. They were to perform their hits Maori Boy, Icky Sticky and their latest hit The Best Day I Ever Had and provide audiences with high energy entertainment.

After the show they were to meet fans, do signings and take photographs with them before shooting off to Hamilton where they would entertain crowds tonight. They were unable to stay in Rotorua due to full bookings at accommodation providers, Leef said.

With strong connections to Rotorua - Taiatini is from Maketu and attended Te Puke High School and Bennett-Paul is a Rotorua lad - they were expecting to see a lot of Maori in the crowd last night, particularly because of Te Matatini in Rotorua this week.

Leef said the crowds in each centre had been different each time, and he was expecting the same in Rotorua.

J Geeks is the brainchild of lead geek Leef, who has worked on Disney and C4. Through his television career he was given many opportunities to travel around the world and meet some of the biggest names in entertainment today including Kanye West, Linkin Park, Flo Rida, Fergie and more. He said it was then he noticed everyone was too cool, which was boring.

He wanted to be real and geeky, which was what he came up with. It started with him wearing geeky glasses, high pants and bow ties.

It wasn't too long before he recruited both Taiatini - whom he had known for about 10 years and who had a dance and kapa haka background - and Bennett-Paul - whom he met at a dance studio as a "crazy, young" 15-year-old.

Leef said since they featured on New Zealand's Got Talent - in which Rotorua's Ricky Flavell joined for the show - the popularity of J Geeks had increased. Many of their shows have been sell-outs.

All three are enjoying their J Geeks experiences.

Leef and Taiatini had been enjoying seeing the variety of fans they had in each town, Bennett-Paul said he's been enjoying visiting places he had never been before.

And after high energy performances in different towns, being able to relax is a nice change. On Monday, Leef said they boys and the tour crew spent their day-off in Taupo enjoying the town's hot pools and lake as well as relaxing, getting massages, having barbecues and enjoying the sunshine.


- Rotorua Daily Post

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