Q Theatre, Rangatira, Auckland

16/12/2015 - 16/12/2015

The Famous Spiegeltent, Havelock North Domain, Havelock North

31/10/2015 - 01/11/2015

Hannah Playhouse, Cnr Courtenay Place & Cambridge Terrace, Wellington

18/06/2015 - 20/06/2015

SIT Centrestage Theatre, Invercargill

27/04/2016 - 27/04/2016

Ahi Kaa Festival 2015


Southland Festival of the Arts 2016

Production Details

A fresh take on classic Maori showbands, the Modern Maori Quartet (MMQ) are a good looking, suave and multi-talented Maori foursome who love crooning their spin on modern and classic numbers.

Toi Whakaari graduates James Tito, Maaka Pohatu, Matariki Whatarau and Francis Kora have come together from different corners of Aotearoa to perform their signature cabaret show An Evening with the Modern Maori Quartet, an evening riddled with waiata, humour and charm.

Their show promises a trip down memory lane into New Zealand’s musical past and present as well as recent international hits, all with the unique Modern Maori Quartet twist and flavour.

So suit ’em up in their number ones, shine their shoes, hand them a guitar or two and they’ll have you melting like golden syrup on a piece of fresh hot fried bread with their signature brand of Maori entertainment.

Ahi Kaa AK Festival 2015

When: 18 – 20 June
Times: Thurs 8.30pm | Fri 8.30PM | Sat 1PM & 8.30PM
Ticket Prices: $35 Full $30 Concession GA (Single ticket price) | $50 Adults GA / $40 Concession GA (Two show price, including White Face Crew’s Double Derelict) | Prices are GST-inclusive, services fees apply.

All bookings are made online through 

The Famous Spiegeltent, Havelock North
Saturday 31 October 2015, 7:00pm
Sunday 1 November 2015, 8:15pm

Wednesday Dec 16 2015, 7pm 
1 hr 50 mins (incl. interval)
Ticket price: $35 (booking fees apply) 


Presented as part of the Southland Arts Festival, this is a highly entertaining show by outstanding performers.

The suave crooners from Modern Māori Quartet invite you to enjoy a fresh take on the classic Māori showbands of yesteryear.  

SIT Centrestage Theatre
27 April 2016
early bird (until April 8) $35; full price $40
1 hr 30 mins 

Theatre , Musical ,

Amazing voices and great harmonies

Review by Donna Kawe 28th Apr 2016

The show opens with an excited audience anticipating a great show ahead. Right from the entrance we are all in laughter at the humour with the jibes and stories they have to share.

The blend of Māori and English music is appreciated by the Sold out Crowd. These four young men – Maaka Pohatu, Francis Kora, Matu Ngaropo and James Tito – have amazing voices and great harmonies; they sound like voices from heaven. Every song has a different meaning to them – and to us the audience I am sure. 

They interact with us all night and show there many different sounds to be found from Bob Marley, Lorde, Dave Dobbyn and ‘nostalgia artists’ like Billy T James and The Howard Morrison Quartet.

The second half brings the great Garage Party songs which the audience sings along to – at their most vocal with ‘Ten Guitars’.

It would be very easy to sit and listen to The Modern Māori Quartet all night.


Make a comment

A time machine to the good ol’ days

Review by Nikau Hindin 18th Dec 2015

Easy laughter instantly flows from the audience as Francis Kora introduces himself: “I hail from the centre of the universe… Whakatane.” Naturally, my flatmate (who is also from Whakatane) is immediately hooked. Nothing like heartwarming familiarity to take you back to your roots, which is the draw card for this giggling, cheering and hip swinging crowd in Q Theatre tonight.   

The Modern Māori Quartet is reminiscent of the old Māori show bands, who created their own unique genre of entertainment in the 50s and 60s, combining soulful sounds with comedic skits and throwing down some waiata, as the cherry on top. Replacing the “ooohs” and the “aaaaahs” of their backing vocals with the Kiwi colloquies “tooooooooooooo muuuuuuuuuuuuuchh” and “sweeeeeeeeeet as”, their adaptations and overzealous finger clicking have the audience chuckling. Making fun of both themselves and the genre they are reviving, if they didn’t ooze with talent and professionalism, it might seem like they were getting a bit cheeky to their forerunners.   

It is a cabaret show in all its glory: a dimly lit stage, spotlights and stars, the boys looking slick in dinner jackets and bow ties, their smiles as shiny as their shoes. Slowly their unique personalities come to the surface: the loveable Maaka Pohatu, on the guitar, is all eye brows and winks; James Tito is the woman-adoring but slightly uncoordinated ladies’ man; Matariki Whatarau would be the pretty boy, if his naive and geeky demeanour didn’t cramp his style; then there is Francis, the charmer – who’s got a pretty flash “nae nae” too.

In the first half of the show they are getting the audience warmed up, melting us with their velvet vocals and intertwining harmonies. They make us laugh at their failed romances, as they croon over the ones who got away, till they switch it up and get cheeky about their ex’s flat feet and hammer toes. Aue. 

It is somewhat educational, teaching us that “box” is Māori for drum and then following their rendition of “A-E-I-O-U”, they proclaim we are now fluent in te reo. If only it were that easy! On a more serious note, they do expose us to the warming whānaungatanga of Māoridom and the playfulness that is at the core of their wairua Māori.

In the second half, they invite us into their garage for a jam (a pretty flash garage) and get us all up for a kanikani and a hula. They engage the entire theatre and make everyone feel like they are part of the whānau. Now we a putty in their hands and they finish off with some incredible modern adaptations of OneRepublic’s ‘Counting Stars’, some Sam Smith and a Māorified, tongue twisting version or Lorde’s ‘Royals’.

So, whānau, if you are looking for a laugh or a time machine to the good ol’ days, if you appreciate incredible vocalists or feel like experiencing a tuturu (true) Māori garage paati, then I urge you to keep an eye out for their next intimate performance. The standing ovation and shouts of encore, just reinforce that these boys are reviving a form of entertainment that everyone can enjoy and take part in. I know I’ll be back for more.   

If you want catch a glimpse of them they are performing in Tauranga at Christmas in the Park. Check out their extensive website for future show dates! 


Make a comment

Easy listening with sheer quality

Review by John Smythe 19th Jun 2015

Amid this inaugural Ahi Kaa festival, what better way to end the night than with the Modern Māori Quartet (MMQ) – except it’s only on for three nights (just two left now) and the only show you could catch before it is Double Derelicts, also at the Hannah Playhouse. A later-night casual cabaret setting that allows for easy imbibing and a bit of bopping and jiving for those so inclined would be ideal but hey, MMQ have been around for a while and are in hot demand – in their individual acting careers too – so we have to take what we can get.

This is more of a concert linked with some charming chat and amusing interplay than Ngā Bro E Whā which they did a couple of years ago, having kicked off with Everything is Ka Pai at the 2013 Auckland Festival.

I think it was The Quin Tikis I saw in a Sydney Leagues Club back in the day, along with Pākehā duo Bill and Boyd, and my memory is they were super slick, verging on plastic. Of course I was much more judgemental then but I think it’s fair to say that while MMQ honour and celebrate those who have gone before, not least the Howard Morrison Quartet, their style is more casual and genuinely friendly.

Sure their get-up is flash but Maaka Pohatu, Francis Kora, Matariki Whatarau and James Tito are so engagingly laid back, the sheer quality of their harmonized singing exceeds initial expectations. From their ‘Haere Mai’ medley right through to ‘Haere Ra’ they hold their increasingly relaxed and enthusiastic audience in the collective palms of their hands.

Maaka leads most of the time and plays guitar throughout but they all pluck or strum at some point (Francis on bass guitar) and Matariki proves a dab hand on the percussion box. There are “songs that get you right in the feels”, including an Aroha Medley, and fun songs that get the toes tapping.  

In the Māori Garage Party medley they refer to the classic characters you’d expect to encounter and, given their acting skills, I feel more could be done with that. But the audience – or those who learned it at school or have kids who did –get right into the Māori Alphabet Song, rising to the occasion with “u hu ku mu nu pu ru tu wu ngu whu”, before literally rising to Hula.

From their Happy Hour show Maka reprises a Māori language version of Lorde’s ‘Royals’. ‘Closer’ is another favourite (also used in Double Derelicts). Francis dedicates ‘Nothing Like Deez’ to Jerry Collins and his whanau.

The easy listening tone of the show belies the sheer quality inherent in An Evening with the Modern Māori Quartet.


Make a comment

Wellingon City Council
Aotearoa Gaming Trust
Creative NZ
Auckland City Council