When Rotorua's Rio Panapa heard this year's Lakeside concert is to highlight homegrown talent, he jumped at the chance to be involved.

His band, Sons of Zion, has just been announced as one of the acts among the star-studded line-up of what will unashamedly be local-linked talent at Lakeside 2018 - Whenua #itsabouthome.

Panapa, who has been based in Auckland since 2002, grew up in Rotorua and regularly went to the iconic concerts with his family.

So when this year's artistic director Richard Anaru got hold of Panapa on the phone and started talking about his theme for this year's concert, Panapa immediately knew he wanted to be involved.


"It was really cool when Richard first called me. He was talking more about the kaupapa and that's what immediately drew me in and I really supported what he was about."

Sons of Zion are coming to Lakeside. Photo/supplied
Sons of Zion are coming to Lakeside. Photo/supplied

Panapa said Rotorua really punched above its weight when it came to talented musicians and this year's Lakeside was a perfect chance to show that off.

He conceded there was another reason he also liked coming home.

"Any chance to get down home I will always jump at because of mum's cooking ... and her washing machine."

Sons of Zion is one of the southern hemisphere's most loved bands after years of chart-topping hits and sell-out concerts.

They have had an impressive 12 million streams on Spotify, more than 10 million views on YouTube and 100,000-plus followers on social media.

At Lakeside, Sons of Zion will perform an acoustic set featuring four of the six band members. A highlight is expected to be their performance of their hit song Is That Enough.

Anaru said Sons of Zion were a major player in the New Zealand music industry and Rotorua was extremely proud to call Panapa their own.


"I rang Rio personally and he was really stoked to be asked on the Lakeside stage."

He said having a group like Sons of Zion would epitomise what the home-grown Lakeside concert was all about.

"This show will be completely different from other Lakesides from head to toe because this isn't just a singing show which is what Lakeside has mostly been before."

Anaru said it was a great honour to have someone of Panapa's skills and talents on the show.

"He is a universally talented artist and with Sons of Zion they are stunning. Acoustically it's a very genuine vocal performance and we are absolutely thrilled to have them."

Lakeside 2018 - Whenua #itsabouthome line-up
• Sons of Zion
• Moana and the Tribe
• Strangely Arousing
• Turanga Merito
• Alayna Powley
• Kelly Makiha
• Hohaia Macfarlane
• Maimoa Music
• Modern Maori Quartet
• Cairo
• Noelle Dannenbring
• Stacey Daniels Morrison (MC)