The only female-fronted local New Zealand reggae trio NRG Rising is still challenging themselves to do even more to use the medium of music to inspire, uplift and celebrate empowerment of all people.
NRG Rising - now 10 years in the making - is fronted by singer Benita Tahuri, our SME Leadership, Talent Management & Training at Te Puna Mātauranga, and her daughters Anahera-PonoWhakatope and Honey Tahuri-Whakatope (both graduates of Te Wānanga o Aotearoa Bachelor in Adult Education and other TWoA programmes).
The band, which toured the United States in April and May last year, is now in preparation for an exciting 2019.
NRG is in the process of making a 10-programme series of webisodes about the realities of being on the road with family, as well as the stress and drama of touring.
They have support to broadcast so will appear for viewing later this year and will hopefully be available for public viewing this year. Series 1 is called “NRG Rising in the USA”.
NZ hip hop artist, producer and director Dei Hamo - who is NRG Rising’s videographer – will be on site at Te Puna Mātauranga this Friday 22 February to capture some series footage of Benita at her normal day job at Te Wānanga o Aotearoa.
A second series is also underway focusing on backstage antics and fun, infused with the whānau drama, pain and passion of the sometimes not so glamourous touring life. Both series will have a “reality comedy” style.
The group is currently in discussions with Māori Television about having the series available for use on the channel and its website.
Benita says being a working musician is much the same as any other activity where striking a work-life balance is required. It’s just much more public and often people don’t even know she has a day job. She is energised by her work and singing, noting that she’s “very proud” to work for Te Wānanga o Aotearoa, while the band’s unique female sound of reggae and RnB style is “a platform for sharing messages of empowerment”.
Working with young people in Ōtāhuhu, Elaine Poutoa has seen first-hand the issues they face. Poverty, crime, bullying, homelessness, self-harm, Elaine has seen what it does to young people and wanted to do something about it.
Since the signing of the memorandum of understanding earlier this year between Te Wānanga o Aotearoa and Te Pūkenga the two organisations have been meeting regularly to colloborate on a number of workstreams in relation to RoVE.