Stacey Morrison

She’s the little lady with a fabulous voice – but not the singing variety. Beautiful te reo speaking radio personality Stacey Daniels will make sure things run smoothly at this year’s Lakeside concert in her role as MC/host. She might not be from Rotorua originally but with a surname like that, we will always claim her as one of our own. Married to local legend and Te Karere host Scotty Morrison, Stacey is a household name in the entertainment industry. As the daughter of long-time radio host James Daniels, Stacey grew up in Christchurch and kick-started her career as host on shows such as What Now and Mai Time. Today she’s a host for The Hits radio station as well as being mum to her and Scotty’s three children, daughters Maiana and Kurawaka, and son Hawaiki. With her fluent te reo Maori skills, she is very active in promoting the Maori language, making her the perfect host for Lakeside 2018 – Whenua #itsabouthome given Rotorua’s new bilingual status.

Hohaia Macfarlane

Bursting onto the music scene is Rotorua Boy’s High School’s newly named Head Boy Hohaia Macfarlane. This talented 17-year-old has only been getting classical singing lessons for less than a year but already has raised the attention of local experts who pick him to have a big future. Growing up around music as the son of well-known local musicians Bruce and Leah Macfarlane, it was no surprise Hohaia had a musical ear. Lakeside 2018 – Whenua #itsabouthome will be Hohaia’s first big public appearance aside from being a key member of his school’s champion kapa haka group, Raukura. The genuine and humble youngster is taking all these opportunities in his stride as he prepares for a big year leading his school and setting his sights on joining the army in 2019.

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Turanga Merito

Locally adored singer and dancer Turanga Merito is a big name on the transtasman entertainment scene but it’s Rotorua gain that this local lad has chosen to come home and give back to the city he loves. The former Lakes High School student has flitted from one impressive role to another between New Zealand and Australia for the past decade. His credits include playing Simba in Disney’s The Lion King, opening for Beyonce as part of Stan Walker’s troupe and being a national and world judge for Hip Hop International Australia and World Supremacy Battlegrounds. His master dance skills are seen each year as head choreographer for the ever popular Christmas in the Park concerts. The newly established Lakes Performing Arts Company in Rotorua has scored a coup by snapping him up as a dance teacher and vocal coach. This year Lakeside 2018 – Whenua #itsabouthome is thrilled to have Turanga as choreographer in charge of a 4Dimensional Dance Extravaganza – the details of which we will keep under wraps. He will also join vocal group Maimoa Music of Maori Television fame to sing a number.

Maimoa Music

When you put a bunch of talented young Maori singers together on a reality TV show, you get Maimoa Music. The bubbly group of 12 singers were made famous on Maori Television show Voice Of Our Future as they strived to write not one, but two hit songs for Maori Language Week. Maimoa Music consists of current and former presenters of the hit TV series Pukana, including Makaira Berryman, Puawai Taiapa, Nathaniel Howe and Raniera Blake as well as Tawaroa Kawana of New Zealand’s Got Talent fame. Pere Wihongi, who’s a familiar face in Maori broadcasting, is also a part of the group, alongside his sister Awatea Wihongi, Metotagivale Schmidt-Peke, Hoeata Maxwell-Blake, Kia Kaaterama Pou, Mereana Teka and Te Awhina Wanikau. The group burst onto the charts in 2016 with the release of their single Maimoatia and followed it up last year with their second single Wairua. The group has had vocal coaching from Rotorua’s Turanga Merito, who also featured on the reality television series.

Kelly Makiha

She’s a musician, a journalist and a mum and this year’s she’s fitting her first performance on the main stage at Lakeside 2018 – Whenua #itsabouthome into her busy schedule. Kelly Makiha is a familiar name in Rotorua either in her role as senior journalist at the Rotorua Daily Post for the past 22 years or as arguably the city’s busiest musician. Somehow Kelly juggles working at the newspaper with several singing commitments each week, whether it be at conferences, private functions or at local establishments. Her musical credits include being a past New Zealand Gold Guitar Award winner, transtasman Entertainer of the Year as well as performing at literally hundreds of functions throughout the North Island in the past 20 years. Despite being able to work both of her greatest passions – news reporting and singing – Kelly says her best role is with husband Pete raising her three daughters, Stevie, 7, and twins Millie and Roni, 3.

Strangely Arousing

New Zealand’s most exciting up and coming bands just happens to be oozing Rotorua lads. Strangely Arousing are a five piece reggae/ska band that incorporate an open minded approach to different styles into their music. Strangely has won a swag of accolades and prizes since forming at secondary school in Rotorua and last year the band took the plunge and self-funded their own debut album. Excitingly the album climbed to #3 on the New Zealand Music Charts and #9 on the international charts. With guitar and unique lead vocals from Lukas Wharekura, punchy bass from Shaun Loper and dynamic drums of Oliver Prendergast, Strangely Arousing is boosted with the bright and vibrant sound of Forrest Thorp’s trumpet and Liam Rolfe on trombone. They have an extensive array of original songs ranging from one of their first hits Kupenga to newer singles What Do and tongue and cheek song Groove Shooter featuring Naz from The Bachelor in the musical video. At Lakeside 2018 – Whenua #itsabouthome, Strangely Arousing is ready to show their home audience what they are made of.

Modern Maori Quartet

Think Maori Ratpack with a modern twist, pizzazz and a heap of humour and you get the award-winning Modern Maori Quartet. The four-piece are a contemporary version of the Maori showbands and quartets that Rotorua knows only too well – including our beloved Howard Morrison Quartet. The Modern Maori Quartet is made up of accomplished actors/musicians James Tito, Maaka Pohatu, Matariki Whatarau and Francis Kora. They tell stories, make you giggle and wow you with their delivery of unique spins of Maori waiata, showband hits and pop music. They’ve toured internationally, are recording artists and regularly perform in New Zealand to please their adoring Kiwi fans. The foursome were natural additions to the Lakeside 2018 – Whenua #itsabouthome stage.

Sons of Zion

Lakeside 2018 – Whenua #itsabouthome has just got that much more exciting with the addition of top act Sons of Zion agreeing to play an unplugged set. The local link in the band is one of the group’s staples, Rio Panapa. The youngster grew up in Rotorua and only left in 2002 to further his musical career, but any chance to come home to Rotorua to eat some of his mum’s kai, he will grab it. The sweetheart of Kiwi reggae is quickly gaining a name for himself as being more than just a musician, with his social conscious seeing him giving his and his band’s time to help raise money for those less fortunate. Sons of Zion is one of the southern Hemisphere’s most loved bands after years of chart-topping hits and sell out concerts. They have had an impressive 12 million streams on Spotify, more than 10 million views on Youtube and 100,000-plus followers on social media. Lakeside is thrilled to add four members of the six-piece band to the Lakeside lne-up where they will perform their hit song Is That Enough.

supplied by the Rotorua Daily Post

Noelle Dannenbring

For years classical pianist Noelle Dannenbring has watched the Rotorua Lakeside concerts in awe. This year, the talented player will get her chance under the spotlight at Lakeside 2018 – Whenua #itsabouthome. The young Taiwan-born talent has been playing for about 17 years and first learned her craft from her father, a music professor. She had piano lessons with Beth Williams while living in Rotoua before moving to Hamilton to study piano performance with tutor Katherine Austin at Waikato University. She hasn’t long been back in Rotorua, which will be home again for a short stint before she heads off overseas to further her studies. We are sure there will be many a young budding classical musician in this year’s Lakeside crowd who will look up to Noelle and dream of making it, just like she did all those years ago.

supplied by the Rotorua Daily Post

Alayna Powley

Living in New York, writing top quality songs that are digital hits and acting like a pro in her own top of the range music video, it’s hard to imagine Alayna Powley is from little old Hamurana. The 24-year-old is truly one to watch and it’s perfect timing she is back in her home city for this year’s Lakeside 2018 – Whenua #itsabouthome concert. The former Western Heights High School student comes from great stock, with dad, Rob Powley, influencing the musical aspirations of many-a-student in his role as music teacher at Rotorua Intermediate School. Alayna has recently released a single, Bliss, with top US producer STINT of Demi Lovato and Carly Rae Jepsen fame, as well as a music video to go with it. That was on top of her song Fallin getting more than a million hits on Spotify. Last year sure was a big one for Alayna and we look forward to seeing what’s in store for this talented young singer/songwriter this year.

supplied by the Rotorua Daily Post


Music, the 1980s and Rotorua – put that together and you come up with legendary band Cairo. The Rotorua group made it big in the New Zealand entertainment industry during that period and today individually remain top names in the Kiwi music field, all continuing to work professionally. Cairo formed after a jam session at Auckland’s swanky Cleopatra nightclub. Armand Crown, Rob Paterson, Richard Anaru, Ernie Semu and Kimi Tupaea became Cairo. A short time later, Rotorua’s Mickey Ututaonga became the band’s drummer with Tupaea and Crown moving on to other things. Fame followed with television appearances and tours with Roy Orbison and the Commodores, to name a few. Then the band did something no other at the time had done, it bought a nightclub – Tudor Towers in Rotorua – where the Rotorua Museum now stands. The band played four or five nights a week, had an international following and put Rotorua on the map as a
destination for musos. Nowadays the band get together for special functions and events so it was a must they were added to this year’s Lakeside 2018 – Whenua #itsabouthome line-up.

Howard Morrison Trio

A show celebrating Rotorua’s musical talent wouldn’t be complete without tipping our hat to the quartet era. The Howard Morrison Trio, featuring Howard Morrison Junior, Russell Harrison and Chris Powley, have paved a name for themselves in their own right. They have performed several times on television, at shows and concerts all over the country and overseas and have completed their own national tour. Their voices blend to make gorgeous harmonies delivering songs we all know and love and their performances are delivered with that special touch of humour that’s bound to warm the audience at Lakeside 2018 – Whenua #itsabouthome. We are especially lucky that Howard Morrison Junior and Russell Harrison call Rotorua home, further proving Rotorua punches above its weight when it comes to producing world-class talent.

Moana Maniapoto

Moana Maniapoto’s name is firmly cemented as iconic in New Zealand’s music industry.
But few know the singer/songwriter is from Rotorua and is Te Arawa’s own – and so too are a majority of her band.
It’s for that reason, organisers of this year’s Lakeside 2018 – Whenua #itsabouthome concert decided her appearance at the show was a must.
Maniapoto, who is descended from Ngati Tuwharetoa, Tuhourangi-Ngati Wahiao and Ngati Pikiao, will appear at Lakeside 2018 as Moana & the Tribe.
Maniapoto will front the band alongside her sister Trina Maniapoto.

Formed in 2002, Moana & the Tribe have played hundreds of concerts on stages in Budapest, Istanbul, Moscow, Berlin, Toronto, Venice, Shanghai, Seoul and Toronto, and have played at the Sydney Opera House twice.
Maniapoto’s talents were recognised in 2016 when she was inducted into the New Zealand Music Hall of Fame as a musician who had made “a significant long-term contribution to New Zealand music”.
Last year, Maniapoto and her sister led their band on a 22-town national tour called My Name Is Moana, which focused on fresh and saltwater water issues in New Zealand.
Her latest album, Rima, has been her most successful and was a finalist at three major music awards in 2015 and named a Top of the World Album (Songlines UK). She and her co-writers, Scotty Morrison from Rotorua of Te Karere fame and Paddy Free, are nearing completion on her sixth studio album, Ono.
Her performances incorporate haka and that part of her show at Lakeside will be led by Laurence Kershaw, who is organising a local group to perform alongside him.

Rotorua’s Mickey Ututaonga, who has toured the world with her, will be back on the drums.
Lakeside artistic director Richard Anaru said Maniapoto’s invitation to Lakeside was long overdue.
“Her musical achievements have always been based unselfishly around her whanau and her people and she’s used her music to communicate those thoughts and she’s taken that message all around the world.”
Anaru said everything about Maniapoto was what this year’s Lakeside theme was all about.
“She’s an extremely clever individual and her wairua is interwoven always with her performances. Whenua is about all of that and we are so thrilled she is part of the show.”


Even the backing band at this year’s Lakeside 2018 are a bunch of hand-picked quality local performers. This year’s concert is unashamedly local with artistic director Richard Anaru saying he had chosen each member of the band, making sure they were either from Rotorua, had local family connections or were linked to the city.

Providing backing vocals will be popular husband and wife team Margaret and Sam Hema. The couple, known musically as Stylus, are a favourite duet who are in demand around the region at venues and private functions.

Sam said he and Margaret were thrilled to be asked. “Our musical careers started here in Rotorua and we love giving back to our people and the music fraternity,” he said.

Also among the band line-up is Anaru on rhythm guitar, Ben Wilcox on keys/piano, Jared Stevenson on guitar, Jo Shum on bass, Leyton Greening on drums and Matt Bizzle on woodwinds. Anaru said additional players would join the stage for certain songs.

We can’t wait to hear them.