The Māori Sidesteps are on their way to the Royal Wanganui Opera House, bringing a wealth of musical talent and plenty of banter.

A quartet of "Māori men in a Māori band" founded by Jamie McCaskill, they have modelled themselves on the Māori showbands of the 1950s and 60s.

While their singing and musicianship are every bit as sublime as that of predecessors such as the Howard Morrison Quartet and the Quin Tikis, their satire is far from the safe, self-deprecating humour of old.

Their edgy skits on being Māori (or a member of various ethnic groups in modern New Zealand) have won them a few thousand followers of their Stepisodes series on YouTube.


"The humour is ours and it's yours too if you want it," says McCaskill.

"It's great to see the series getting a lot of views and that it resonates with people."

Last time McCaskill took to the Royal Wanganui Opera House stage was with the Modern Māori Quartet in 2015.

He was ably filling in for regular Francis Kora when the quartet performed a fundraising concert for Whanganui Women's Refuge.

"I whakapapa to Whanganui as well," says McCaskill who is Ngati Tamatera and grew up in Thames.

"My grandfather was from Whanganui."

He is a familiar face on the small screen having appeared in episodes of Shortland Street and Super City as well as short films.

McCaskill was the recipient of the Bruce Mason award in 2013 for NZ Emerging playwright and he is also a producer and director of Wellington theatre company Tikapa Productions.


He graduated from UCOL Theatre School in Palmerston North in 2000 where he met fellow Sidestepper Regan Taylor (Mahana).

McCaskill and Taylor both live in Wellington while other members Cohen Holloway (Thor: Ragnarok) and Erroll Anderson (Ghost in the Shell) live in Auckland and the Wairarapa respectively.

"We are actually pretty well-organised and schedule rehearsals around all our other commitments."

They will arrive in Whanganui fresh from performing at Kia Mau Festival in Wellington and McCaskill promises that the 90-minute show performed by "hard-case Māori fullas" is guaranteed to entertain.

The Māori Sidesteps: Royal Wanganui Opera House, Wednesday, June 26 at 7pm. Adult $29, senior/student with ID or youth to 19yrs $25/group 6+ $20 each.