When 90s R&B trio TLC reunite for a New Zealand tour later this year the two remaining members plan to include the third, who died in the peak of their careers.

Made up of Tionne 'T-Boz' Watkins, Rozonda "Chilli" Thomas and Lisa 'Left-Eye' Lopes, TLC were well-known for a string of hits through the 90s including Waterfalls, Unpretty, Creep and No Scrubs.

The American girl-group stopped when Lopes was killed in a car crash in 2002.

This month, Watkins and Thomas announced they were reuniting for a TLC tour which would bring them to New Zealand, including Tauranga's ABS Arena.


Speaking exclusively to the Bay of Plenty Times, Watkins said she was excited about visiting the country.

The tour comes as the duo plan to release a new album - their first in more than 14 years.

Watkins said it was not strange working on TLC music for the first time after Lopes' death because ''it won't necessarily be without her''.

''Of course she's not here physically but we always find a way to keep her involved. I wouldn't say the whole album will be without Left-eye. We will work on what we can.''

Watkins said she and Thomas always paid tribute to Lopes at their live shows. No Waterfalls performance was complete without her.

''We always look to her in the shows and pay tribute to Lisa when we do Waterfalls. The energy she had was something we loved about her so much, everyone did.

''People end up smiling, laughing, crying - it's a whole range of emotions.

''I feel her spirit.''

Watkins said she was looking forward to performing in New Zealand and TLC were making the trip largely because of the demand from "amazing" fans.

''On Twitter they are always hitting me up, saying 'when are you going to come down?

''We heard [Tauranga] was a great market for us. Last time were were in Australia, doing a video, I made friends with some New Zealanders and we keep in touch. We've got an awesome relationship. It will be great to see them and finally see the places they wanted to show me. So I'm excited for more reasons than one.''

Life has changed a lot for both Watkins and Thomas since Lopes' death. Thomas has a 17-year-old son and Watkins has just celebrated her new adopted son's first birthday.

''I'm going through the teething process right now and he's just started walking so I'm chasing him everywhere. I have a 15-year-old and one-year-old. I'm crazy.''

Watkins laughed when told No Scrubs had been adopted into regular New Zealand language by 20-something women responding to cat-calls.

''I think it's amazing to be able to start a trend and have people use it years later. It's not like we came up with it [men hanging out the passenger side of his best friends' ride], we just put a name on it.

''No Scrubs, that song will always live forever because there are always men like that,'' she said.

''I can't wait to get there any make everybody have fun. I'm excited.''

Sat 12 Nov
ASB Bay Park Arena
Tauranga, NZ (All Ages)
Ph: 0800 111 999

Sat 26 Nov
Vector Arena
Auckland, NZ (All Ages)
w/ Montell Jordan
Ph: 0800 111 999

Thu 10 Nov
Michael Fowler Centre
Wellington, NZ (All Ages)
Ph: 0800 842 538