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Read: Modern Māori Quartet’s ‘Garage Party’ is the perfect way to end the year.

What is the perfect antidote to a shitty year?  A party of course! A whole load of people gathering together with some food, good music, and good cheer. That was all on offer last night at the Wintergarden in the Civic as the Modern Māori Quartet opened their Garage Party show. 

It was a classic take, and often piss-take of a kiwi tradition – partying in someone’s garage singing along to music by various artist and genres. Songs were mashed up, formed into medleys and belted out with the energy, charm, and beautiful harmonisation the band is famous for. 

I’ve seen a number of their shows over the years, and this one was perhaps not as precise or as choreographed as past ones. Instead, they guys were more laid back and relaxed. MMQ have an obvious rapport with each other and clearly enjoy doing what they do. That enthusiasm envelops the audience and it is impossible not to have a good time at one of their gigs. 

This year, the group has a new member, Tom Knowles, a pakeha who provided the ‘fool’ character of the night. You know the type, someone we might all recognise at a sing-a-long. The guy who brings his own guitar, thinks he can sing, and then always picks the wrong song that kills the mood. Well, Knowles can sing very well and added a great dimension to the group, but he played along with the joke at times and provided a nice comedic edge to the night.  

It may seem puzzling that they are called the Modern Māori Quartet yet they now have a pakeha member as a ring-in, but Māori have always welcomed other peoples to their land their culture, and their parties. 

What MMQ reminded us in their Garage Party with its mixed membership and its very mixed audience is that humans love to party, love to sing, and love coming together and having fun. The evening was both a perfect event and metaphor for what we need in this difficult and challenging year.

The show runs till December 20th – go see it if you can. 


2 – 20 December 2020

Bookings here


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