Rotorua Daily Post health and business reporter

Singalong fan joins seasoned stars

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Maisey Rika grew up listening to the music of Ardijah's Betty-Anne Monga and Whirimako Black and singing along to their tunes on the radio.

Now, she says, it's an honour to be performing with them as part of the Aotearoa Diva Super Group, which is heading to Rotorua this week.

Rika said she spent many days "harmonising to their tunes on the radio" and now to be singing those songs with them as well as having them back her up on her songs was amazing.

The group, which also includes Ria Hall, is partway through a 14-show tour of New Zealand celebrating Matariki.

Rika said that while performing on stage with the others might have been daunting, they'd made it easy.

"It might have been if they hadn't been so lovely and nurturing and caring and supportive," she said.

"They put their whole heart into learning our songs."

Rika said the group had been converging on her hometown of Whakatane for rehearsals as she juggled being a mum to her new son, Makeo, who is three months. "Me and the girls have been getting together the past couple of months ... They'd all come down to Whakatane and hang out going over the songs. We'd have a wee practice and get the vibe going."

Rika said after performing as part of last year's Matariki show, they were all keen to keep going.

"It was such a positive experience last year and we only did one show. This time we're doing 14."

Rika said she was looking forward to her first tour since having Makeo, who is travelling with her.

"I like to keep him close to me. He's good eh ... pretty chilled out."

Rika said the audience at Friday night's performance at the Blue Baths in Rotorua could expect "a little bit of everything".

"The kaupapa is about coming together and Maori New Year is about coming together and new beginnings."

She said the songs selected carried on that theme with songs about unity, peace, harmony and new beginnings.

Rika said she hoped people went away from the show feeling "inspired for the new beginning and the new year".

With plenty of whanau in Rotorua, Rika said she was looking forward to catching up with them as well as taking the show to the stage.

The foursome will perform at the Blue Baths on Friday.


- Rotorua Daily Post

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