The Nukes are one of the hardest-working bands in New Zealand, touring their ukelele tunes around country for the last 10 years.

When it comes to playing ukeleles, the Nukes are in a league of their own. Three platinum albums and so many school visits, their arrangements and songs are often played by school bands and ensembles.

"That's nice to have out there – your own stuff out there and going around and regenerating," band member Ben Collier said.

But it's their musical workshops that give them the most satisfaction.


"Sometimes, in the relationships we have with children, you can see a tangible difference," the former Goldenhorse drummer said.

"We might turn up to a school and you get a lot of stand-offish kids, or kids that don't have any kind of confidence in the area that we propose to teach them.

"To see the change happen – sometimes it is only two hours we are at a school - that's pretty gratifying."

Their recent Wairoa workshops, part of the Harcourts Hawke's Bay Arts Festival, brought in 800 students over the course of one day, including local maestro Ford Aranui.

Such a mass of ukelele students was mainly due to passionate bus driver Bruce Kenyon who caught the ukulele bug.

"Ukulele is a great way of learning to play music and joining in together," Kenyon said.

"Go Bus has kindly assisted us in getting all the children here and giving them the opportunity to participate."

He also credits The Nukes for his own four-stringed enthusiasm.


"One of the reasons I am a ukulele person is because of these guys, coming here a couple of years ago and I had just started thinking about ukulele and it just grew out of that.

"Now I play all over the place – I've got a couple of groups I'm in – and that's directly because of The Nukes."

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