The drummer in a leading New Zealand reggae band will return to where it all began when Tomorrow People take the stage at Pasifika Celebration Day in Levin this weekend.
The story of how Duane Te Whetu came to be part of Tomorrow People is the stuff of legend.
The former Waiopehu College student grew up listening and playing many of the band's songs as a teenager. Back then he could never have imagined that one day he would be on stage with the band.
"I was definitely a huge follower of the music. Friends would say 'hey, listen to this'," he said.
On leaving school he started playing in bands whose paths would often cross with Tomorrow People at different music festivals. But that was on little more than a "hello" basis.
"I knew of them, but didn't really know them personally," he said.
That all changed one day he got a phone call out of the blue from the manager of Tomorrow People asking if he would like to play bass in their band.
"When I got the call I was like ... wow," he said.
"It was a brotherly call, like 'hey man, we've got a spot for you if you want to hop on the train'. So I jumped on.
"When I first joined I knew a bunch of their songs, but at that first rehearsal I was nervous as hell, just knowing how big this band was. But it was kinda cool.
"It's been a really awesome experience."
Incredibly, his first live gig with Tomorrow People was in Rarotonga in 2016.
"That first gig ... I have never been so nervous. But we were playing in paradise and I was blessed to get the opportunity," he said.
Since then he has travelled Aotearoa extensively with the band to "places I hadn't even heard of".
Te Whetu was originally playing bass with Tomorrow People when he joined the band although a change in personnel saw a vacant spot on the drum sticks.
"The opportunity came up and I don't mind it. It's pretty cool being on the drums," he said.
A multi-talented musician, he liked to try his hand at any instrument. But there's one thing he couldn't see himself doing.
"Singing is definitely not me," he said.
Te Whetu grew up around music. His mother was in a covers band and as a youngster he would attend gigs at different venues around Horowhenua, while many his wider whānau were musicians too.
"Mum would always be singing a lot and I used to go to her gigs as long as I had a caregiver," he said.
"I was fortunate to have quite a few instruments. Mum brought me a drum kit when I was 4 ... and there was always a guitar. I was very fortunate."
The record collection at home in those days catered for all tastes and he said there was a heavy influence of country music. Kenny Rogers was often playing in the background.
Tomorrow People had toured extensively and played to massive crowds all over the country, like One Love, Homegrown, Rhythm n Vines, One Love and Raggamuffin festivals, playing with bands like Sons of Zion, House of Shem and Katchafire, and New Zealand music legend Dave Dobbyn.
They had played gigs in Levin before, which he said were "off the hook". Even so, Te Whetu admitted to a few butterflies ahead of any gig in his home town.
"I think that makes me more nervous. You got all your peers there and your family are there, and they are my biggest critics," he said.
"But it's all good. I'm looking forward to it. I'm lucky enough to have the opportunity."
During the day Te Whetu, 28, is a youth officer at Life to the Max in Levin. Most of the band live and work in Wellington, but he said it suited him to stay in Levin and travel to gigs and rehearsals.
Tomorrow People was a seven-piece named after the song by Bob Marley's son Ziggy Marley. They started playing and releasing music in 2010, described as "sunshine reggae".
The band write, record, produce and mix all their music themselves, edit their own videos, design their own artwork, manage their own strategies, devise their own marketing plans and book their own tours, all while holding down fulltime day jobs.
In recent times they have started Fresh Fridays, where on the first Friday of every month they release a new song on the internet. They had amassed millions of views.
Their debut album One was released in 2012 and debuted at number one on the New Zealand charts.
In 2018 their 8-track release BBQ Reggae debuted at number one, too, knocking English superstar Ed Sheeran off the top spot. They were working on a new untitled album, due for release soon.
In what is a coup for Pasifika Day organisers, the popular seven-piece will play a set later in the day at the festival.
Te Whetu said the band didn't hesitate when asked if they were available as they were keen to support Pasifika Day, a free celebration of the different Pasifika cultures that exist in Horowhenua.