The mind, heart and soul behind Te Vaka since it's inception 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 behind 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 upcoming Disney musical animated feature film - "Moana"
Vocalist, 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 from a very young age. With her driving enthusiasm and passion for Polynesian dance, she has earned herself the role of choreographer and promises a dynamic and game-changing dance experience we cannot wait to share! Olivia is the first voice you will hear on the Moana movie.
Lead drummer, Percussion composer (Tokelau/Tuvalu/New Zealand)
A seasoned creative, having started his career with Te Vaka at the age of 6, Opetaia's youngest son, Matatia 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. His log drtumming can also be heard on the Moana soundtrack. A proud Polynesian and an untameable innovator, Matatia no doubt has many surprises in store for audiences and listeners in 2016/17. His log drtumming can be heard on the Moana soundtrack.
Opetaia's first cousin and long time Te Vaka member Sulata, is back with the band lending her unique Pacific vocal sound to the movie and the Premiere performance. She has been with Te Vaka since 1994 being 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 happy to have her back on board for these important upcoming events.
DOUGLAS BERNARD (aka D.Burn)
Vocalist, 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 and beats make for an entrancing combination. Diverse in skill, Douglas is a talented keyboardist, percussionist and active solo artist and we are very happy to have him back on board once again.
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 migrating 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.
Bassist, percussionist (New Zealand)
Back on tour in 2017, 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 (EDWIN) 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 never having let up on the authenticity of his expression and pride in his Polynesian roots.
Dancer and Vocalist (Tokelau)
From the Island of Tokelau, Talaga is both a singer and dancer. You can hear his voice on the very first Te Vaka album when he was only 12 years of age. Talaga was called back to Tokelau just before Te Vaka embarked on their first European tour in 1997 but he rejoined the band again in 2007 and sang on the subsequent 3 albums.