Band Leader Opetaia Foai
Founder, Composer, Lead Singer, Guitarist, Percussionist 

The mind, heart and soul behind Te Vaka since he created it in 1994. Opetaia has composed, recorded and performed his work relentlessly over the years for audiences all over the world, sharing the pride in his culture and spreading the story of his navigating ancestors who conquered the largest ocean on the planet; the Pacific. 

On stage he performs as the lead singer, acoustic guitarist and lead log drummer, but off the stage he has been described as “one of New Zealand’s finest songwriters” and in 2005 won the Senior Pacific Artist award for his work in recognition of an outstanding contribution to the Pacific Arts of New Zealand. Opetaia has written 8 Te Vaka albums to date and a number of songs for the recent hit Disney animation, "Moana", including We Know The Way, Innocent Warrior and Logo Te Pate.


Olivia Foai AKA Livy Clay
Singer, Dancer, Choreographer, Songwriter (Tokelau/Tuvalu/New Zealand)

Daughter of band leader, Opetaia, and artistic apprentice since the age of 2, Olivia has featured on countless Te Vaka tracks and captivated audiences all over the world with her voice and Pacific moves. With her driving enthusiasm and life-long passion for Polynesian dance, she has earned herself the role of choreographer and promises a truly expressive and dynamic experience. Olivia is also the first voice you hear on the Moana movie, singing the opening track Tulou Tagaloa.


Matatia Hendrix Foai
Master Percussionist, Percussion composer (Tokelau/Tuvalu/New Zealand)

A seasoned creative and Opetaia's youngest son, Matatia started his career with Te Vaka at the age of 6. He has played an essential role in the development of Te Vaka’s percussion sound. In 2007 he composed his first log drum track for the band and went on to compose such tracks as "Vevela" on the Havili album and "Talanoa te pate" on the Haoloto album. In 2017 he composed all 10 tracks of Te Vaka's first all-percussion album "Te Vaka Beats". His log drumming can also be heard on the "Moana" soundtrack.

Sulata Foai-Amiatu

Singer (Tokelau)

After a few years off from touring, Sulata has made a return to the band and once again lends us her unique Pacific vocal sound. She has been with Te Vaka since 1994, making her one of the founding members. Around this time she also released her own music and in 1995 won most promising female vocal at the New Zealand music awards. She was subsequently nominated for top female vocalist in 1996, 1997, 1998 and 1999. We are very happy to have her back on board.

Douglas Bernard (aka DBurn)

Singer, keyboardist, percussionist (Samoa)

Douglas originally joined the crew in 2004 as the lead male vocal for Tamahana from the “Legend of Johnny Lingo” soundtrack. His R&B vocal foundation and genuine connection to traditional Polynesian music make for an entrancing combination. Diverse in skill, Douglas is a talented keyboardist, percussionist and active solo artist.


Joe Toomata
Electric guitarist, percussionist (Samoa)

Joe brings with him a distinct traditional element and tangible respect for his roots. He grew up amongst the hustle of village life in Apia, Samoa before immigrating to New Zealand and pursuing a career in music as a guitarist. In 2001, Joe first joined the band proving himself a skilled bass-player, percussionist and valuable member of the group. Joe is now on his instrument of choice, the electric guitar.

Neil Forrest

Bassist, percussionist (New Zealand)

Back on tour in 2018, Neil is a founding member and has been with Te Vaka on and off  since 1994. Involved with music for most of his life, learning piano at the age of eleven, and going on to play drums, guitar, flute and then log drums, Neil has a passion for Pacific music. A multi-instrumentalist Neil will be covering Bass guitar, Percussion, Flute and other.

Etueni Pita

Dancer (Tokelau/Tuvalu/Cook Islands)

One of Te Vaka’s original members, Edwin has enchanted audiences all over the world with his irresistible Pacific charm and vast expertise in the field of Polynesian dance. Having first joined the group in 1997 and performing in the ensuing 40 or so countries with the band, he has truly honed his craft while maintaining the authenticity of his expression and pride in his Polynesian roots.

New dancer announcement coming soon!!


Te Vaka band