When Toto strike up the first chords of their huge 1982 hit Africa at Church Road Winery on Thursday the expected huge crowd will likely nod in agreement as well as cheer.

For the song will be fitting — given the MetService forecast for the day is light breezes, clear sunshine and a high of 31C.

There will very much be a taste of Africa in the air.

The final touches to the picturesque open-air arena have been carried out over the past few days with the stage and sound towers all set and the outer perimeter a spread of hospitality areas and the ever-so-vital portable toilets.


For the band it will be a bit of a whistlestop as their busy schedule has them playing at Mount Maunganui tonight, then Thursday at Church Road, then on to New Plymouth for a Friday concert and then a day off before finishing their four-stop visit at Christchurch on Sunday.

Which will test the resolve of the band's guitarist Steve Lukather who after the New Zealand dates were announced said he wanted to catch a bit of sightseeing as he was last here in the '90s and early 2000s.

"I'm hoping to have a little more time to go around the country so I get to see what the real beauty of your country is all about."

Just as the crowd will be delighted with what Toto deliver, Lukather and his bandmates will be equally delighted with the Napier venue.

Church Road Winery's natural hillside arena, like neighbouring Mission Estate which will host Phil Collins on Waitangi Day, has long drawn accolades from the people who take a seat there.

Presented by Neptune Entertainment the Toto tour will be the first in what will become an annual summer concert series called "A Summer's Day Live", which will feature major international artists from the past four decades.

Promoter Toby Burrows said they were excited to have secured such an iconic band to launch the "A Summer's Day Live" series.

"We have been wanting to bring Toto to New Zealand for some time, and being able to place them in amazing outdoor venues in the heart of summer is the perfect fit."


The heart and the glorious heat of summer, in Napier's case.

Toto had a string of big hits during the late 1970s and early '80s with Rosanna and Hold the Line joining Africa in soaring up the charts.

They recently released a new album called 40 Trips Around the Sun and have been touring extensively on the back of its release last year — packing out venues across Europe.

When the band arrived at Tauranga Airport yesterday they were greeted by local iwi and welcomed into Tauranga Moana with a pōwhiri.

Tour manager Heath Wynd said the group were "blown away" by the welcome and sang Africa in response.

The gates for Thursday's Church Road Winery event will open at 4pm with Kiwi band Dragon scheduled to take the stage at 5.30pm.

Iconic American band Jefferson Starship then fire up at 7pm with Toto set to take the stage at 8.30pm, with the concert wrapping up at 10pm.

It is set to be a musically memorable afternoon and evening of singing, sipping, sunscreen and sunhats.