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Te Vaka
Origin New Zealand
Genres South Pacific Fusion
Years active 1995-Present
Labels Warm Earth Records
Website Official website
Opetaia Foa'i
Melodee Panapa
Manase Foa'i
Vasa Foai
Neil Forrest
Jeff Harris
Matatia Foa'i
Etueni (Edwin) Pita
Tremayne Lihou
Olivia Foa'i
Talaga Sale
Former members
Sulata Foai-Amiatu
Alana Foai-Auimatagi
Vai Mahina
Melodee Panapa
Jeff Harris
Joe Toomata
Douglas Bernard
Simona Hope

Te Vaka is an Oceanic music group that performs original contemporary Pacific music or "South Pacific Fusion". The group was founded in 1995 by Opetaia Foa'i in New Zealand. They have toured the world constantly since 1997 and have won a number of awards including "Best Pacific Music Album" award for their albums Tutuki (2004) and Olatia (2007) from the New Zealand Music Awards and "Best Pacific Group" in the 2008 Pacific Music Awards[1] They have also been acclaimed by the BBC as "the world's most successful band playing original contemporary Pacific music."[2]



Te Vaka is a group of eleven musicians and dancers from Tokelau, Tuvalu, Samoa, Cook Islands, and New Zealand brought together under the inspired leadership of award winning songwriter, Opetaia Foa'i. Te Vaka's music is "grounded in the rhythms of the Pacific by the use of pate (single and double log drums) and pa'u (indigenous goat skin conga and bass drums)."[2] Most of their songs are written in the Tokelauan language, with some also written in Samoan and Tuvaluan languages. They have been wowing international audiences since 1997, presenting a rich, luscious mix of Polynesia's ancient culture to the modern world.

Te Vaka has performed in the USA and toured the UK, Europe & other parts of the world extensively over the last 13 years, performing in such prestigious venues as London’s Royal Festival Hall and Ronnie Scott's Jazz Club. The group has headlined music festivals throughout Europe and been favourites at WOMAD festivals around the world. They have performed at the APEC ministerial dinners and America's Cup events in Auckland, the Commonwealth Games in Melbourne, the Rugby World Cup in Paris[3] and the Olympic Games in Beijing. In 2008 they won a total of 4 music industry awards – “Best Pacific Group” and “Best Pacific Album” in New Zealand[4] and in the Australian Songwriters Association Awards they took first place in the “International songwriting category” and won “Best Live performance” of the night awarded by the Phonographic Performance Company of Australia.[5]

Opetaia Foa’i is the songwriter/ lead vocalist of the group. The inspiration for his music comes from his multi-cultural upbringing - half Tokelauan, half Tuvaluan, born in Samoa and bought up in a Tokelauan community in New Zealand. Opetaia’s musical background spans both the traditional and the diverse influences of contemporary metropolitan culture. The group has created "a truly pan-Pacific sound" from this diverse heritage.[2] Described as “one of New Zealand’s finest songwriters” and “ a true son of the Pacific”, he won the Senior Pacific Artist award in 2005 for his contribution to the Pacific Arts.[6]



Studio albums


  • 2003 Live at Apia Park
  • 2007 Live in Concert 2006[8]


  1. ^
  2. ^ a b c Lusk, Jon. "Te Vaka". Retrieved April 4, 2008. 
  3. ^ (Rugby World Cup) Retrieved September 28, 2009.
  4. ^ (NZ Awards) Retrieved September 28, 2009.
  5. ^ (AUS Awards) Retrieved September 28, 2009.
  6. ^ New Zealand Herald Retrieved September 30, 2009.
  7. ^ "Haoloto - Te Vaka". Retrieved 8 March 2010. 
  8. ^ Retrieved September 30, 2009.

External links


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