By Mare Haimona-Riki of Maori Television
Api Wairau-Mason (Ngaāti Tūwharetoa, Te Atiawa, Mangaia) may very well be the only magician in the world who performs his mahi all in te reo Māori.
Mason, or tangata tumatarau (magician), is self-taught and learned most of what he knows primarily from YouTube, but has recently found himself collaborating with well-known local magicians to add to his kete of tinihanga (basket of tricks).
"Lately, I've found myself around a whole bunch of Aotearoa magicians and they've been kind enough to give me a lot of knowledge from their time in this business and doing this mahi."
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Much of Mason's work is used with only a deck of cards which is somewhat nostalgic for the Wellington-based father of five, who has fond memories of playing cards with his nan when he was younger, and it was always in te reo Māori.
"I grew up in a place called Wainuiomata, which most people will know as the birthplace of kōhanga reo. So te reo Māori has very deeply been planted into my heart and soul through my kuia!"
Mason has performed all over the motu including the Cook Islands and even released two web series funded by Te Māngai Pāho.
"It took us from Wellington to Auckland! It was a really cool experience."