In fact their debut performance at the Empire Cinema was the first time the Maori boys had experienced a merry Cook Islands mama trying to rip off their clothes.
James Tito, Matariki Whatarau, Maaka Pohatu and Francis Kora describe themselves as a Maori foursome with a fresh take on classic Maori show bands – think a 21st century version of the Howard Morrison Quartet.
And they did not disappoint.
The quartet provided their audience with music for the soul, including old classics which had the mamas swooning.
“You can’t script that kind of thing,” Maaka laughed after being manhandled by a mama in the front row.
Their beautiful melodies and harmonies were food for the soul, a crowd favourite was a mix of war songs as originally sung by the soldiers of the Maori Battalion during World War Two, and a special waiata (song) dedicated to the late Harry Napa, businessman, entrepreneur and founder of the Empire Cinema.
But a personal favourite for this CI News reporter was their rendition of New Zealand singer Lorde’s smash hit “Royals,” sung entirely in Te Reo Maori.
Cheeky quips between songs were well received, highlighting the strong similarities between Cook Islands and New Zealand Maori humour.
And the boys were impressed by the local talent, especially as Miss Cook Islands winners were front row and even performed a short ura on stage.
Matu Ngaropo, who has just completed a successful run as a star in the stage show The Lion King, was an original member of the group, and joined the boys for the Rarotonga leg of their tour, turning the quartet into a quintet.
The musicians performed at the Empire Cinema on Tuesday and Wednesday night thanks to Motone Productions.