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Te Vaka

Te Vaka is a group of musicians and dancers from the South Pacific brought together under the inspired leadership of Opetaia Foa'i. They have toured the world extensively for more than 20 years, representing New Zealand and the South Pacific with performances at events such as the Rugby World Cup in Paris, the Olympic Games in Beijing and the Commonwealth games in Melbourne,

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. 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.

Te Vaka has performed in 40 countries and released 8 internationally acclaimed albums, 1 all-percussion album and 2 DVDs to date. The first released in 1997 through ARC Music, a UK/European based record company, gained immediate worldwide success and recognition for the group and was distributed to over 80 countries. The second album, released in 1999 through Warm Earth Records created an even bigger impact going to no. 1 on world music charts and on mainstream radio in the South Pacific. The third album, released in May 2002, gained a nomination in “Best Roots” category in the New Zealand Music Awards and nominations for BBC 3 World Music Awards in the UK. The 4th album "Tutuki", entered the European World Music Charts at no. 4 & the USA Global Rhythm Top 10 Chart at no. 3. It won a Tui for “Best Pacific Music Album” in the New Zealand Music Awards as well as Songwriting Awards in both the USA and Australia. The fifth Te Vaka album, "Olatia", released in July 2007 entered the European World Music Chart at no. 4 and won a “Tui” for “Best Pacific Album” in the 2008 Pacific Music Awards. Sixth album “Haoloto” released in 2009, won 2 awards - “Best Pacific Group 2010” and "Best Pacific language Song”. A track from the 7th Album “Havili” released in 2011 won second place in the USA International songwriting competition in 2012. Te Vaka completed three very successful tours of North America in 2010, 2011 and 2015

At the end of 2013, Opetaia Foa'i was contracted to Walt Disney Pictures to write songs and music for the Oscar nominated, animated feature film, ”Moana”. The fact was announced to the world on the 14th of August 2015 at Disney’s D23 Expo where the band debuted "We Know The Way" (one of many songs written by Opetaia for the movie), receiving a standing ovation from the 8,000 Disney fans at the Anaheim Convention Centre.

The 8th album “Amataga”, released in September 2015 just before embarking on a third US tour, was named in the “Best Albums” of 2015 European World Music Chart and the Transglobal Chart and won "Best Pacific Album" and "Best Pacific song" in the 2016 Pacific and NZ music awards.

In August 2016, 12 Te Vaka singers travelled to the USA to record vocals for "Moana" at Warner Bros Studios in Burbank. Appearing on the Blue Carpert at the World Premiere, the band performed 3 of the tracks that Opetaia wrote for the movie in front of a star-studded audience at the El Capitan theatre in Hollywood. "Moana", released in the USA on the 23rd November 2016, was very well received worldwide winning a number of awards and nominations for 2 Oscars. The soundtrack album made it to no.2 on the Billboard 200 album charts and stayed no.1 for many weeks on the Billboard Soundtrack Album charts.

In February 2017 album no. 9, the first all percussion album “Te Vaka Beats vol. 1” was released. Written by Te Vaka's master percussionist - Matatia Foai and produced by Opetaia Foai. Vol.2 is already in the pipeline as well as tours to the USA, Tahiti, New Zealand, Nauru and more for 2018

On August 18th Walt Disney Records is set to release "Te Vaka's Greatest Hits" an album of 11 songs - 10 chosen by creative head of Disney and Pixar - John Lasseter and one new single complete with music video clip - "Lakalaka" coming soon......