He Aitua | Nuki Waaka - Maori Vocanics founder dies
Copyright Nuki Waaka

He Aitua | Nuki Waaka – Maori Vocanics founder dies

Copyright Nuki Waaka

One of the founders of showband the Maori Volcanics has died.

Band frontman Nuki Waaka, 79, died in his sleep on Sunday November 27.

At this stage it is unclear what caused his death.

He had been due for a hip operation in just under two weeks, but this is unrelated to his death.

Having grown up in Whakatane, Waaka and his then wife Marge “Mahora” formed the Maori Volcanics in 1964.

It was during this Maori showband era that the Maori Volcanics made their mark on the music world, with the pair travelling from American to Canada and the Caribbean until 1974.

The band became the most successful and enduring of the Maori showbands, launching the careers of Billy T. James and Prince Tui Teka.

Waaka also formed the Maori Skyliners, which worked in Surfers Paradise in Australia until 1984.

He spent his life entertaining audiences with the rock and roll showband music which shot him to fame.

The musician will be buried in Australia on December 2, and as a returned serviceman, he will be buried at a special plot. However the location is yet to be confirmed.

(9) Comments

  1. Colette

    I have fond memories of this beautiful person. I followed the Maori Volcanics around Sydney in the 60's and had the pleasure of meeting up with Nuki again just a few years ago. I lost touch when he moved to Sydney - but never the memories of such a beautiful gentle soul who had a voice like velvet. R.I.P. my friend! Colette x

  2. Tony Brannon

    Such amazing memories of the Maori Volcanics in Bermuda. The talent was brilliant. The PIG ROASTS LUAU's were brilliant..... John the guitar player took me to the gym.....Hector was a great singer....TUI.....and his watch joke.....Marge and Nuki...... Such great days at The 40 Thieves Club in Bermuda... tony@bermuda.com

  3. Pauline Kiripati

    It was so sad to hear the news. I met Papa Nuki as myself and my sister Marion called him many many years ago as we were singing in his brother Gugi Waaka's band Tropical Hi. He was a great entertainer, very humble but full of musical knowledge. I have learnt a whole lot about being in the musical world, and would like to say that, Nuki will be sadly missed, always loved and remembered in our hearts. we would like to send all our love, and condolences to the Waaka Whanau in Australia and also in New Zealand. All our love Marion Tini Joseph Pao'o and Family and Pauline Leaotoa Kiripati and Family.

  4. Pauline Kiripati

    It was so sad to hear the news. I met Psps Nuki as myself and my sister Marion called him many many years ago as we were singing in his brother Gugi Waaka's band Tropical Hi. He was a great entertainer, very humble but full of musical knowledge. I have learnt a whole lot about being in the musical world, and would like to say that, Nuki will be sadly missed, always loved and remembered in our hearts. we would like to send all our love, and condolences to the Waaka Whanau in Australia and also in New Zealand. All our love Marion Tini Joseph Pao'o and Family and Pauline Leaotoa Kiripati and Family.

  5. Paula Newy

    We first met up with these boys in 1977 when we first came to the Gold Coast and met my husbands cousin Anzac Te Oka, who was playing in the band. They where then playing at Skylight room at Chevron Hotel Surfers Paradise and we used to go & listen to quiet regularly. Then 30 years later came in contact with him about four years ago as our son Hamish was going out with his god daughter Shannon,he made such an impression on Hamish with his music. A man of 75 years to have such a young heart and make an impression on a 20 year old. I Thank you Nuki, what a wonderful feeling to have touched so many people in ones lifetime. We love you always

  6. Pam Waaka

    Last night (2.12.2001) Nuki had a big sounding party, his muso friends gave him their "all" and I am quite sure he really was there, every note sounded just like him, his favourite songs sung by most of his favourite artists and his family danced the whole time and remembered him and his music. One of the highlights for me was to see 10 of the "Young Polynesians" (that he was so proud of ) doing a show until they got to a stage where they forgot the rest and stopped, that was so good to see. I was not able to thank them publicly but I would have (I am his last wife and no longer married to him, so felt it inappropriate) but I would like it if my gratitude could be passed on to them via this site. THANK YOU. Like all marriages we had some good times and not so good but we travelled to places on holidays and visited friends that he and the Volcanics got to know through work (but as I keep telling Mahora we did it for fun not working) my luck, and those friends are still with me, and it was so good to listen to the stories they all shared.

  7. Ngaio Wharekura

    Not just a great entertainer but a much loved uncle to all those Maori kids who were born and lived on the Gold Coast Australia during the 1970's, 80's and onwards. Nuki started the group of young Maori kids well known on the Coast and Brisbane as The Young Polynesians. A star lineup of Dads provided the musical backing for the kids' shows - Anzac Te Oka, Len Ormsby, Nuki and Gugi Walker, and Benny Ngatai. Nuki made a point of keeping up his contact with all of those kids, now with families of their own. The heartfelt tributes they have posted on Facebook to their much loved Uncle Nuki bears testament to the difference he made in their lives. Nga mihi aroha to Junior, Kimarni, Clint, Gugi and the whanau. Nuki, moe mai e Koro. Arohanui, Noni, Philip and Dean Wharekua.

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