Modern Māori Quartet GARAGE PARTY

The Wintergarden - Civic Theatre, Auckland

02/12/2020 - 20/12/2020

Production Details

The flashest garage party in town 

If Colmar Brunton were to release a survey of New Zealanders’ loudest nights, biggest laughs, and heartiest sing-alongs, chances are they happened at a garage party. For the uninitiated, a garage party is a guaranteed good time combination of a beaten-up couch, a bunch of whānau, plenty of kai, open drinks, and a big smile on every face there.

Modern Māori Quartet have taken the quintessential garage party concept and turned it into an hilarious award-winning show that has toured more countries than they can count.

The entertaining quartet are now returning home to Auckland to perform for the first time in the Wintergarden at The Civic from December 2 to December 20 – just in time for Christmas!

“If you’ve ever been to a garage party, you know what to expect from the Modern Māori Quartet at our show. Plenty of fun songs, big belly laughs, and lots of kai,” says the Modern Māori Quartet’s Matariki Whatarau.

The award-winning Modern Māori Quartet (MMQ) are a smooth-sounding contemporary Māori showband. The Quartet’s accomplished artists hail from different corners of New Zealand Aotearoa to bring the concept of a “Māori Rat Pack” into the present, weaving acting and musical abilities to croon their spin on modern and classic music numbers.

Their live shows are parties like no other, with a mix of offbeat comedy, stage routines, and unique takes on showband hits, as well as pop music, and displays of distinctively Māori song and dance. With hearty voices and soaring harmonies, they share Māori traditions, aroha (love), and tell Kiwi stories through waiata (song).

In partnership with Auckland Live, and supported by principal event partner QBE Insurance, join Matariki, Francis Kora, Maaka Pohatu and Matt Eller (Modern Māori Quartet) as they welcome in the festive season with ‘the flashest garage party in town’.

Wintergarden, The Civic, Queen Street, Auckland
2 – 20 December 2020
Show Time: 7pm
Weeknights: Wednesday 2 to Friday 18 December
Weekends:  Saturday 19 December, Sunday 13 & 20 December 
Book at  

Corporate packages 
We’ve put together an all-inclusive Modern Māori Quartet package for organisations looking for a unique end of year function. A table booking includes delicious hot and cold foods, and a selection of alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages.
Book with Auckland Conventions, Venues & Events 

Auckland Live, Tāmaki Makaurau’s home of the performing arts, is a major contributor to the vibrancy and creativity of our city. We manage and present shows and events on the city’s most iconic venues and public spaces which include the Aotea Centre, Aotea Square, Auckland Town Hall, The Civic, The Cloud, Shed 10, and the Bruce Mason Centre.

Our venue the Wintergarden at The Civic is an intimate underground venue known for its mystique, its club-like atmosphere and being the perfect stage for cabaret, comedy and music gigs.

About Auckland Live 

Theatre , Musical , Cultural activation ,

Joyous, fun, encompassing, elevating and world class

Review by Shadon Meredith 04th Dec 2020

Whether having a night out with friends or on a romantic date, The Civic’s intimate and classy Wintergarden is a great place to spend some money on the bar while listening to great music.  

I’ve headed along there for the opening night of The Modern Māori Quartet’s latest show, MMQ: Garage Party, and it is a real privilege. MMQ comprises Matariki Whatarau, Maaka Pohatu, Francis Kora and, on this occasion, Tom Knowles, and all four have talent, charm and an emotional intelligence that pours out if them during their cabaret style performance. 

We must remember that before this year of COVID-19, MMQ had spent their past couple touring the world to international acclaim. Unlike Flight of the Conchords and The Laughing Samoans, who initially had to head abroad to find traction, MMQ have had a consistent Kiwi following which has now been enhanced by their international success. There is no tall poppy syndrome here.

The moment they step on stage, MMQ deliver charm and professionalism as they host their ‘garage party’ in this beautiful Moorish revival-themed basement. Opposing forces are at play here; a garage party in the Civic’s Wintergarden is a juxtaposition for sure, yet it lends a hand in elevating the show. Who would have thought that while in the Wintergarden you could feel like you’re in a garage? There is power in the fact that the Modern Māori Quartet, as live performers, can translate a space such as this, and they do so with charisma, humour and of course, their beautiful voices.

Biculturalism is deftly handled in the first half. Tom Knowles – the Pākehā character among the other Māori members of the quartet – is the butt of jokes about his differing etiquette at this Māori garage party, but it is done kindly, politely and comedically. Despite his late arrival, the other boys want him to win and to experience a quintessential Aotearoa garage party.

Though they are a Māori quartet who inherently believe in Te Ao Māori, this MMQ team use their story telling platform to transcend this and revel in what it means to be human, but always with that beautiful brown Māori flair than Aotearoa desperately needs more of. Yes, they tackle hard issues like racial inequality, but they do it with humour and care; their transcendent power of waiata creating a positive and inclusive community.

Dynamite in their dynamic song and song-era choices, MMQ instantly make their audience want to sing along and kanikani. I don’t want to give too much of the playlist or story line away here, rather I urge you to get along and experience their magic unfold in real time. It’s the kind of magic that pulls on the heart strings of nostalgia, no matter your age or history or discography. Nostalgia is key to this show and unites us in our everyday whānau and the parties we manaaki. 

On opening night we are lucky enough to witness Maaka Pohatu serenade his beautiful mana wahine and love of his life through song and romantic gestures that aren’t cheesy. He shows us his affection with trust in his own performance, and a gentleness and intimacy which is hard to find when 100 odd people are intently watching you; again a testament to the MMQ as truly world class performers. Christmas songs come off the back of this moment and we are reminded again what it means to belong.

These boys are also dynamic in their relationship with each other, their sound and management crew, the audience and the bar staff. This show is all about inclusivity, which is made all the more special when we think about the lockdowns of this Covid-19 year. As 2020 draws to an end, our community is cautiously craving each other’s company. We don’t know when we could be shunted back into Level 2, 3 or 4 again, so while we are able to go out and see live events like this, we absolutely should. Much like garage parties of old, which are so fun they are still going when the birds start chirping and a new day dawns, you don’t want this show to end.

So, if you do one thing this side of 2021, let the Modern Māori Quartet show you that this bizarre year can end on a high note. MMQ: Garage Party is joyous, fun, encompassing, elevating and world class. Trust me, you won’t regret it – just be easy on Tom if he doesn’t get it. I mean, there’s always that one guy at a garage party right?


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