I'm not sure that showcasing the local Roller Derby gals as part of a memorable Whanganui experience was a scenic delight.

But according to Te Araroa Trail's host Pio Terei he had a gutsy great time with the gals but wasn't keen to repeat it anytime soon.

In fact he headed off immediately afterwards for some specialised herbal Maori healing, convinced his body had been severely dealt by the feisty women.

The roller derby had in fact segued nicely from an interview with international glass artist Emma Camden (Crystal Crusher) who rolls everywhere and is a longstanding doyen of the Whanganui roller derby scene.


His arrival in the city at the start of the programme was by waka courtesy of crews from the Putiki Marae which he said was the ideal way to arrive anywhere.

Pio is a cheerful chap who loves food, people, chatting and tramping the trail and is an ideal frontman for the Maori TV programme because of his endless cheerful demeanour.

With pack on back he headed out along State Highway 3 to Ratana Village then on to Turakina and down through the Santoft Forest to Tangimoana.

At Ratana he beamed as the brass bands played on in celebration of the great Prophet's birthday.

But it was his foray into the vast kitchen and dining room that really made his eyes sparkle when the delicious smells of roast meats, veges and gravy filled the air.

"Aaaaah," he breathed sitting down with a plate, knife and fork.

Next stop the Turakina Highland Games and a "wee dram" and a mighty hunk of haggis, assured to heal what ails ye.

It was a long hike to Tangimoana and the coast and a quick yarn with a crusty old fisherman before Pio went on his way.

Seeing the beauty of our region through the eyes of this special man was heartwarming.

Maori Television's documentaries have a magic which sets them apart from much of the commercial telly we're fed.

I loved watching its new entertainment show Sidewalk Karaoke featuring passersby urged to get and up sing.

The format is relaxed, easy and fun, so hardly surprising it has been recently picked up by global content company Freemantle Media, which has offices in 31 markets.

Frontman Te Hamau Nikora hands out cash prizes to all the hopefuls everywhere from night markets to sidewalk bars.

Anyone could be a winner as the Sidewalk Karaoke team search for their star.

Hopefuls step up sing into the custom-made app which gauges their superstar ability and, depending on the reading, sends them through to the next round or back home.

Prizes start from $100, with the grand prize of $1000 up for grabs if they can convince a stranger to sing a duet with them.

Sounds mad but it works. This show has the X factor without all the mad hoopla.