When former Taupo florist Nikki Pocock shifted to Ohope seven years ago with her children she could barely play a guitar, had never sung in public or written any original music scores.
But tomorrow the 36-year-old mother of two will be returning to Taupo with her band The Huneybee Wild as a feature act at the inaugural Lake Taupo Food and Beer Festival on the Tongariro domain.
The band will be performing with Nikki's uncle, well-known Taupo musician Bazz Thatcher - Unkle Bazz - who Nikki says was largely responsible for launching her singing/songwriting career.
Although Nikki was 29 when she found her voice and started dabbling with the guitar there are musicians on both sides of her family. She says her uncle was always a source of inspiration.
"He'd been a musician since high school, always playing music, and I looked up to him hugely.
Nikki says the music in her "really started coming out" after she shifted to Ohope, but by choice she restricted performances to family outings.
"Until I was 29 I really didn't even know I could sing and it took me a couple of years to believe in myself."
The turning point came when her uncle persuaded her to play eight songs at a gig in Taupo six years ago, including some original material she had written.
Her performance was well received and she returned to Ohope with new confidence and formed a three piece band - Teatree - which performed a mix of original and popular acoustic folk rock music at events around the Bay of Plenty. The band also opened a gig at The Little Theatre in Whakatane in 2009 for the release of an album by Whakatane musician Tait Kora.
When one of the Teatree band members shifted to Christchurch two years ago, Nikki and percussionist Pea Murray joined forces with experienced Bay of Plenty singer/songwriter Elise Adlam to form The Huneybee Wild.
Nikki says the band plays a mix of original and popular songs that she describes as "acoustic folk roots reggae". She also performs with Tai Kora's Kora band at festivals and events in the Bay of Plenty.
The festival kicks off tomorrow at midday and runs until 5pm.