BATS Theatre, The Heyday Dome, 1 Kent Tce, Wellington

15/06/2017 - 17/06/2017

Pacific Crystal Palace Spiegeltent, Havelock North Village Green, Havelock North

04/10/2017 - 05/10/2017

Festival Mainstage, Founders Heritage Park, Nelson

20/10/2017 - 20/10/2017

SIT Centrestage Theatre, Invercargill

11/05/2018 - 11/05/2018

Turner Centre, 43 Cobham Road, Kerikeri

05/04/2019 - 05/04/2019

Hannah Playhouse, Cnr Courtenay Place & Cambridge Terrace, Wellington

13/06/2019 - 15/06/2019

Centrepoint, Palmerston North

05/02/2021 - 14/02/2021

Opera House, Wellington

09/06/2021 - 09/06/2021


KIA MAU Festival 2017


SOUTHLAND FestivaL of the Arts 2018

Kia Mau festival 2019

UPSURGE Bay of Islands Festival 2019

Kia Mau Festival 2021

Production Details

The Māori Sidesteps

Get ready for a night of hilarity as The Māori Sidesteps turn some of your favourite songs on their head in a mix of satirical skits and crooning goodness.

The newest and hottest Māori showband on the entertainment scene is fresh from a successful web-series, where one of their music videos has amassed over one million views. Festival folk up and down the country have been raving! The Māori Sidesteps relives the glory days of the Howard Morrison Quartet and Prince Tui Teka but deliver a fresh take on some of those old familiar party tunes. They put their own political spin on well-known songs, and entertain crowds with soulful harmonies and stand-up comedy.

Starring some of New Zealand’s best entertainers, Cohen Holloway (Find Me a Maori Bride), Rob Mokaraka (Shot Bro), Jamie McCaskill (Smokey Feel), Jerome Leota (Naked Samoans) and Erroll Anderson (Ghost in a Shell).

Heyday Dome, BATS Theatre|1 Kent Tce, Wellington
Thursday 15th-17th June 2017

Pacific Crystal Palace Spiegeltent
Wed Oct 4th: 7pm
Thu Oct 5th: 9.30pm
Premier: $52
Adult: $42
Concession: $37

Fri 20 Oct, 8pm
FULL $41 | UNDER 19 $25
SENIOR $37 | GROUP OF 6+ $37pp
(Group bookings only available at Theatre Royal Nelson)
Book Now!

Southland Arts Festival 2018
Presented by Macaulay Mazda in association with Tikapa Productions
SIT Centrestage Theatre
Fri 11 May, 8:00pm
Book: TicketDirect (service fees apply)

UPSURGE Bay of Islands Festival 2019

2019 line-up: Jamie McCaskill (Shortland Street, Takes a Village), Cohen Holloway (Hunt for the Wilderpeople, Thor Ragnarok, Find Me A Maori Bride), Jerome Leota (Naked Samoans), Regan Taylor (Mahana) and Erroll Anderson (Ghost in the Shell).

“An entertaining, belly laughing, poignant, thought-provoking, serenading, sing-a-longy night.”

These “hard-case Māori fullas” will give you and your mates the best night out!

What we have with The Māori Side­steps is an entertaining show with intelligent commentary delivered stylistically.” THEATREVIEW

The Turner Centre, Kerikeri
Friday 5 April 2019
8.00 pm
EARLY $38 – FULL $42
plus service fee

“full-throated presentation of songs and skits, all cut through with a rich vein of satire.” Theatreview

Kia Mau Festival 2019
Hannah Playhouse
13 – 15 June 2019
Single $35.00; Student (with ID) $30.00;
Senior Citizen (65+) $30.00;
Group of 5 or more $30.00 per person;
Group of 15 or more $28.00 per person
*Service fees may apply.
Tickets are for general admission seating.
See Ticketing T&Cs for the Hannah’s policies on phones, photos and large items

Centrepoint Theatre
280 Church Street, Palmerston North
5 – 14 February 2021
Wednesday 6.30PM
Thursday to Saturday 7.30PM
Sunday 4PM
Opening Night: Friday 5 Feb
Student • $25
Subscription Package • $35
Concession* • $37Early Bird $35
Adult • Full $45Early Bird $40
Dinner + Show $80 – $90
*Seniors and Community Services Cardholders. Valid I.D. is required.

Returning to Kia Mau Festival 2021 after a sold out season in #KMF2019.

‘…never did satire and self deprecation go hand in hand so cleverly and entertainingly…’  Theatreview

The Opera House, 113/111 Manners Street, Wellington
09 June 2021
Buy Tickets 

2019-2021 line-up:
Jamie McCaskill | Ngāti Tamaterā
Cohen Holloway | Ngāti Toa
Erroll Anderson | Ngā Puhi
Regan Taylor | Ngāti Kahungunu
Jerome Leota | Ngāti Hamoa

Lighting Design | Jason Longstaff
Audio Engineering | Emily Hakaraia (Ngāti Raukawa, Ngāti Kapu)
Producer | Sonia Hardie

Theatre , Comedy , Music ,

1 hr 25 min (no interval) | 1 hr 40 min incl. int

Highlighting inequity through comedy

Review by Steve La Hood 10th Jun 2021

Aah, the Opera House!

Doesn’t matter what show is on… as soon as you enter that glorious vaulted theatre, your excitement level goes up. It is at least half full in the stalls tonight – a good crowd and an interestingly young audience overall. Then again, at my venerable age, everyone looks like a twenty-year-old.

Over the buzz of the audience, while we wait for the show to start, you can just make out the pre-show music coming through the PA. Great Kiwi standards like: ‘Masturbator from the Hills’ and ‘George Wilder, the Wild New Zealand Boy’. Definitely a hint of what the show is going to be like.

The robo-lights etch a kowhaiwhai pattern on the backdrop in iridescent green. Without an announcement, the 5 Sidesteps stumble on for a clumsy start. Errol Anderson’s guitar pick-up isn’t working. Cohen Holloway, Jamie McCaskill and Regan Taylor entertain the vociferous, heckling audience for the 30 seconds it takes to put things right.

Then suddenly ‘Kia Ora Ngā Iwi’ booms out in true big showband style. We are off.  

They’re hugely funny these guys. Cohen’s outbursts of anti-Māori rhetoric because he is drinking a bottle of ‘Eagle’ beer… (you know, the rascist brewer whose social media rant caused his business to collapse). Embarrassing, clunky pepeha.

Beautiful harmonies, songs from Prince Tui Teka, the Quin-Tikis and the Howard Morrison Quartet – all with their lyrics adapted to highlight Mana Motuhake Māori in today’s world. I love that the audience gets all the jokes and we are on their side.

Cohen’s impersonations of John Campbell and David Lange are great fun, but his Temuera Morrison, reading the story of Ranginui and Papa tū ā Nuku, while Jamie, Errol and Regan mime the actions, is hysterical.

Errol’s poignant solo, ‘Hine e Hine’, gets a huge round of applause and the first half finale, ‘I Believe’ is simply wonderful.

The second half is just as good. Cohen singing opera (it’s the Opera House after all) – a game-show with a grand prize of winning all your land back – ‘Love me with all your Heart’ by the Hi-Marks… all perfect crowd-pleasers.

Everyone waves their mobile phone torches for ‘I did it Marae Way’ and the finale ‘Tangatangatangatangatanga whenu-u-a’ to the tune of ‘Karma Chameleon’ raises the roof.

The audience demands an encore. They get a medley of jazzed-up waiata Māori and at last, in recognition of grinning Jerome Leota (the Samoan Sidestep) who kept the beat throughout the show, a Samoan anthem.

The Māori Sidesteps are doing something exciting as they re-boot the old Māori Showband tradition. They’re highlighting inequity through comedy – making it safe to laugh with them, even as you’re confronted by our fractious post-colonial society.

It’s a tribute to the young audience at Wellington’s magical Opera House that they tautoko those political jibes and feel released into thunderous applause.

If you’ve never seen the Māori Sidesteps, keep an eye out for their next show and book straight away.

(On a technical note, I strain to hear the words every now and then. Even in the acoustically famous Opera House. Jamie and the boys would do well to temper their onstage enthusiasm with a little clarity of diction and a better balance at the microphone.) 


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An amazing show – a must see

Review by Alexandra Bellad-Ellis 06th Feb 2021

The Māori Sidesteps are a group of performers who perform songs, tell stories and generally have a laugh with the audience. The feeling is of being at a party, where everyone in the audience is related or very good friends.

The group is made up of four performers: Jamie McCaskill (Ngāti Tamaterā), Cohen Holloway (Ngāti Toa), Erroll Anderson (Ngā Puhi), and Regan Taylor (Ngāti Kahungunu). They all do an amazing job and they have great chemistry together onstage. It is apparent that they have worked really hard to form a cohesive group and are now at a point where they can have a bit of fun with each other. Any missteps or slip ups are gleefully pointed out, but the cast soon steer the show back on course. 

While most of the songs are comedic, set to popular tunes, there are serious messages underneath. This show doesn’t shy away from controversy, but never feels like a lesson. The tone is always light, but thoughtful and utterly delightful. Topics range from the Easter trading laws, through to All Black fan fathers and into the darker heart of New Zealand history. Cohen Holloway, in particular, shows his flair for impressions (and opera).

Jonathan Hendry’s direction is subtle, allowing the performers to enjoy each other’s company but giving the show some sort of structure. Sonia Hardie, the producer, is a founding member of the group and has worked tirelessly to bring The Māori Sidesteps to stages both here and overseas.

The lighting, designed by Jason Longstaff, is simple yet effective, punctuating the show at just the right moments. The audio engineer Gil Eva Craig has worked hard to put together a great show.

All in all, this is an amazing show – a must see. Theatre is back with a bang in 2021 and this show, suitable for all ages, is the perfect way to start the season. (The show runs for about 90 minutes including a 20-minute interval.) 


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Māori Men hilariously speaking truths a must-see

Review by Grace Ahipene Hoet 14th Jun 2019

From the upbeat opening song ‘Māori Man’, we are given the joy, the fun, the humour that The MāoriSide Steps are becoming famous for. Listen harder and you are given the instant truth in the lyrics. They highlight all the stereotypical behaviour that Māori Men are purported to exhibit; the racism, the bigotry, the discrimination and hypocrisy facing Māori Men that leads to their harrassment and villianisation.

At first glance they appear light, breezy, lively, brilliant and their singing, apart from the odd flat note, is done with “gusto and finesse”.

The on-stage introduction of the band through ‘te pepeha’ is entertaining and delightful. Te Reo Māori is purposely but awkwardly spoken, Kiwified and pronounced – e.g. Taupo (towelpoh). Then contemporised into a youthful slang, then into the ease and flow of the MC and then into Te Reo Rangatira. Followed by a beautifully harmonised rendition of ‘Te Karakia O Te Atua’ (‘The Lord’s Prayer’): E tō mātou Matua i te rangi …

The Howard Morrison Quartet gets a refreshed new shake up with ‘My Old man’s and All-Black’ with lines like “Who’s that Hori in the scrum?” making for comedic fodder. And of course the audience participation song, Prince Tui Teka’s well-known hit, ‘My Ding a Ling’, gets an energetic airing.

The Māori Side Steps are a unique Māori Show Band brave enough to stand up and put some political truths into their “Cheeky Little Darkie” songs. Led by the maestro Jamie McCaskill, we are given a showcase of hilarity. Cohen Holloway is his irrepressible hilarious self with the added bonus that he sure can sing. Errol Anderson adds a cheeky mischievous youthful flavour to the band. Regan Taylor is the newbie but consummate performer who sends us into his hysterics with his composer.

Take a giant side step and add a dose of ‘Marae Way’ and you come out with a unique new sound. Māori Men speaking truths, standing up for themselves and Māori, telling mainstream and the media that we are more than all the negative media and statistics.

The Māori Side Steps are a must see. Make sure you get there tonight.


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They do it ‘Marae Way’

Review by Alan Scott 06th Apr 2019

They are called The Māori Sidesteps but they step aside for no-one when they put their best foot forward in this full on, full-throated presentation of songs and skits, all cut through with a rich vein of satire. 

Usually performers have to work to bring the audience on their side but with The Māori Sidesteps people are clapping, laughing and shouting before they have hardly said a word. The inspired costumes say it all for them. The top hats, waistcoats and Union Jack skirts tell you immediately which way this production is going with their humorous and subversive rendition of the hybrid dress of former colonial times. 

Jamie McCaskill, Cohen Holloway, Regan Taylor, and Erroll Anderson reinvent the Māori showbands of the 50s and 60s but their intention is not to emulate them. Rather it is to utilise the format to call out racism and disharmony, yet at the same time to lavishly and humorously entertain and be one with the audience. It is a rare trick they pull off: satirising others while seeming to laugh at themselves.

They lark about and play around with mischief written all over their faces. Yet they sing with both gusto and finesse, harmonising perfectly and bringing a wealth of musicality to their standout performances. Some songs are sung straight and some are reworded parodies with clever and pointed lines that have the audience in stitches. From Prince Tui Teka to Guns and Roses, from Elvis to Frank Sinatra, the songs of yesteryear ring out in a format that nods to the politics of today.

What is also a highlight of The Māori Sidesteps show is the sheer joy and certainty with which they present and sing. It is hard to put into words, but they perform with an awareness of who they are and what they do that gives rise to a joyous exuberance that both connects with and enthrals the audience. At the same time, they rarely take themselves seriously. Never did satire and self-deprecation go hand in hand so cleverly and so entertainingly.

If ever an audience gets its money’s worth it is the one in Kerikeri that sees The Māori Sidesteps at the top of their game – and the audience responds with a standing ovation. The encore song, Sinatra’s ‘My Way’, rendered by Sidesteps as ‘Marae Way’, tells everything about their style and intention, and is a fitting conclusion to an outstanding show.  


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We’re woke slowly but surely

Review by Alana Dixon-Calder 12th May 2018

Slash, John Rowles and Prince Tui Teka walk into a bar…  And they put on a cracking good show.  

When the stage is as sparse as this, with just a single guitar, a drum, and five spot-lit microphones, there’s nowhere to hide. But from their first kia ora to the crowd, it is clear The Māori Sidesteps are not only here for a good time – so are we.

I don’t think I’ve ever been to a show in Invercargill where, within literal seconds of the performers walking onstage, the local crowd has been that engaged, or that vocal. It takes a tonne of natural, genuine charisma to coax that much whistling, shouting and singing out of a crowd down here but with all five performers – Cohen Holloway, Rob Mokaraka, Jamie McCaskill, Jerome Leota and Erroll Anderson – the audience is treated to a master class in effortlessness.

Personality oozes off the stage, neatly wrapped up in costumes that nod to the subversive – ruffled shirts, bowler hats and a mishmash of the Union Jack over jeans, anyone? – and a beautiful blend of harmonies. In the hands of the less able, hijinks like those set to a spotlight gone awry could veer to the cheesy and contrived. With these guys, it’s just part of the banter. It is rollicking fun.

The jokes come thick and fast; that skin-prickling strum of the guitar and the on-point vocals swooping from waiata to Herbs … It’s like being at a garage party with your mates. If your mates were supremely talented.

The performance is cleverly done, skilfully weaving Māori showband tunes from the likes of the Howard Morrison Quartet with snappy satirical references to Hobson’s Pledge and Paul Holmes’ cheeky darkies dig. We’re woke slowly but surely, with the in jokes and tongue-in-cheek one-liners coming slow and steady at first, before ramping up to lend a real heft to the performance by the time we leave.

The highlight of the night, for me at least, comes in the lone truly serious moment of the performance: a stunning a capella rendition of a Samoan hymn. It makes the hairs on my arms stand up and its end is met with thunderous applause.

The show is Southland Arts Festival at its best: the Sidesteps make art and culture and political satire not only accessible, but comfortable. It showcases the incredible natural talent New Zealand has to offer, and it leaves me wondering what it means to be from this place. It’s fantastic.


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Hold the audience in the palms of their hands

Review by Janet Whittington 21st Oct 2017

These guys are fun! They are comedic entertainment that have you laughing at their lyrics and interlude banter, and rocking in your seat to their waiata (songs).

Their costumes pique the interest of the audience as they walk on stage. They are a cleverly designed combination of 19th century mixed British army uniform, 20th century NZ film costumes from Utu, plus a 21st century irreverent statement about colonial rule.  In other words, jeans for the boys, a British flag for a grass skirt over the top, and a top hat to show off. They are not just a bunch of silly buggers. A lot of experience and thought went into those outfits. It shows they are serious about their craft.  

Musically, as a chorister myself, I am impressed with their 5 part harmonies and vocal control. Blending beautifully, accenting or soloing loudly above the rest, they had perfect pitch and control. Samoan Lele, a traditional 4 part Island church song, is a particular highlight. Variety is maintained by accompanying themselves with acoustic guitar or bongo, also blending perfectly. The electric guitar has a bad amp, and could be improved, but it doesn’t dominate enough to be too annoying.

While their level of professionalism, singing and comedic talent is world class, this is a show for us Kiwis. In-jokes and political references ramp up steadily throughout the evening. (One poor chap leaves early – how rude – and is labelled a National Party supporter by the boys. Serves him right.)

Channelling Howard Morrison, Billy T James, Herbs, Prince Tui Teka, John Rowles and many more of our entertainment legends, they satirise our lives to well-known tunes such as ‘My Old Man’s a Dustman/All Black’. ‘How Great Thou Art’ in Maori is still powerfully soaring through my head.  

Initially light and harmlessly self-deprecating, they have a stronger political message that gently rises throughout the evening, adding to the gravitas of the performance without weighing it down. They offer us a thought for future harmony between the races while harmonising in song and making us laugh at how we are not racially harmonious and inclusive yet. 

Well-balanced, the performance is safe from being trite at one end, and from political obsession at the other.

Rob Mokaraka stands out in his red top hat, animated facial expressions and stage dance movements. However, they all – Jamie McCaskill, Cohen Holloway, Rob Mokaraka, Jamie McCaskill, Jerome Leota and Errol Anderson – hold the audience in the palm of their hands all night. Nelson loves them. You will too. 


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An unmissable evening of nostalgia

Review by Ewen Coleman 18th Jun 2017

Having produced a web series of songs and humorous banter on YouTube, The Maori Sidesteps have now come out into the public arena to perform their songs live as part of the Kia Mau Festival at Bats Theatre.

And what a great show these four indigenous minstrels of Rob Mokaraka, Jamie McCaskill, Jerome Leota and Erroll Anderson have put together.  Not only are many of their songs send ups, but the group are dressed in a very colourful array of colonial type costumes with Union Jack flags wrapped around their waists, designed by Suzanne Tamaki. [More]  


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”You’re being entertained and woke at the same time”

Review by Maraea Rakuraku 18th Jun 2017

Although it was the kind of shtick that he built his career upon in his later years, Howard Morrison regretted taking what was a serious waiata about Māori in the Second World War (‘E Te Hokowhitu’) and turning it into a show tune. A generation later, it was a popular waiata at the pā guitar parties. Not so much now though, the waiata or the parties.

Showbands were very much of their time and Māori jumped on-board wholeheartedly. Natural musicality matched perfectly with the showmanship. And the most ambitious was Morrison, who reigned on the Maori showband circuit in the 1950s/1960s.

Fast forward a generation or so and there are two reiterations (The Modern Māori Quartet and The Māori Sidesteps), featuring mainly Māori men, following in those footsteps. But in the case of one, The Māori Sidesteps, bringing originality with an intelligent subtext to that original schtick.

Dressed by Native Sista, Suzanne Tamaki, their clothing looks subversive as it is meant too, a perfect matching to the harmoniously sung kupu falling from their mouths. Their garb, featuring Union Jacks, ruffled shirts and bowler hats is a nod to our Colonial history made modern. The Wha-Cup badge on Mokaraka’s tailcoat is a particularly clever touch.  

What we have with The Māori Sidesteps is an entertaining show with intelligent commentary delivered stylistically.  

Yes, they’re pretty to look at. Yes, they sing beautifully. But when you listen to songs that were originally sung derogatively about Māori, now reworded – “Sometimes we look white but we’re Māori within” – and recollections of the racism of Paul Holmes towards Kofi Annan, and they self-reference as ‘Cheeky Darkies’, well that is satirical commentary at its best.   

When I hear “Ball Bags” I laugh out loud and for a moment am transported back to Party with the Aunties. When Mokaraka’s Nanny makes an appearance I’m wondering if ‘Ball Bags’ will too, and when he talks of scaring the audience into friendship … Bahaha.

McCaskill and Mokaraka are the showmen. They’re a charismatic force and the witty repartee that’s only earned through friendship reflects that. They’re seasoned, confident performers. Jerome Leota and Erroll Anderson are their sidekicks.

McCaskill has a wonderful musical pedigree. And it shows. With guitar in hand he’s at his strongest and by the looks of it, happiest. The acknowledgment of each other’s whakapapa, and McCaskill’s mihi to his Samoan heritage and the singing of an accompanying waiata is a poignant touch. The inclusiveness that Mokaraka is intent on harnessing is reflected onstage. It’s very moving. Kia mau te manaakitanga.  

It is humbling and heartening to watch men, in their element, enjoying each-others company. It’s obviously important to them and hugely significant for us and a society conditioned to see Polynesian men negatively. They’re the ones shaping the narrative. There’s no ‘coon’-type representations. The permission Morrison gave for others to laugh at us was rejected by many Māori. We know when we’re being sold out to make it big. What The Māori Sidesteps does is turn that on-its-head. You’re being entertained and woke at the same time.

Yet The Māori Sidesteps is equally nice looking brown men, singing harmoniously, dressed smartly. But that’s exoticising, and that’s not cool either.

The audience is full of mainly young brown men who love it. And I love that. It’s so rare when brown men can laugh safely, noting it’s the tinder and grindr segment that has the most energised response. The Pink-Shirt-John-Key type response to a gay insinuation is kinda lame and one of the only moments I’m – No.

They’re wonderfully entertaining. It’s fun. You’ll smile. Feel good about being Male, Māori and Samoan. And yes, Pākehā, you will too. 


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