13 Jul 2018

Moana movie soundtrack tour: Te Vaka relishes sold-out orchestral shows

From Morning Report, 8:54 am on 13 July 2018

Te Vaka, the award-winning pacific fusion band behind the soundtrack to Disney’s Moana, are on the final leg of a one-off tour of Aotearoa playing the songs of the popular animated movie.

Members of Te Vaka, with Orchestra Wellington Marketing Manager Marek Peszynski.

Members of Te Vaka, with Orchestra Wellington Marketing Manager Marek Peszynski. Photo: RNZ / Yadana Saw

The band have already played sold-out shows with the Christchurch and Dunedin Symphony orchestras and have their final performance in Wellington on Saturday night

A second show has also been added there due to demand.

For those who aren’t in Wellington or have no tickets, RNZ Concert will be recording the performance. 

Their long journey with Moana began in 2013 when they were approached by Disney studios to provide the soundtrack for the movie. 

The opportunity to finally perform their music live and in front of an audience is something magical for band cofounder Julie Foa’i. 

More about Te Vaka:

  • Authenticity key to Moana movie soundtrack
  • "Tell the stories and promote the culture of the South Pacific"
  • "I did not go and compromise and try and Disnefy anything"
  • “For me I’ve heard the songs so many times, I’ve been part of the movie for the last four years, but seeing it live with the orchestra is so powerful," she says. 

    "We are actually recreating the movie’s soundtrack live in the venue and it’s quite magical."

    The movie’s themes of pacific migration and navigation resonated deeply with the band when recording the soundtrack in the United States. 

    Those feelings have been further heightened for  Sulata Foa’i-Amiatu, one of Te Vaka's long-term singers.

    "In and of itself in the studio was an emotional time because I thought about my grandparents and the journeys that they took to bring us here, and my parents took to bring us here to New Zealand," she says.

    "To relive that and then to take it on stage, it means so much more here in New Zealand because that's our story." 

    Moana - Te Vaka

    Te Vaka Photo: supplied

    For performer Douglas Bernard, the audience reaction has been the most touching aspect.

    "It’s just powerful to see, especially the kids' faces, you just see their eyes light up. You see the parents, how they are lighting up for their kids, and to see the power of the music just hit them.

    "It’s quite emotional just seeing that and being onstage to perform that for them." 

    The series of live Moana concerts was the brainchild of Orchestra Wellington Marketing Manager Marek Peszynski.

    He is most excited to be introducing orchestral music to a new audience.

    "For a  lot of the people attending, it’s their first time they’ve every experienced a live orchestra. If just one of those kids picks up a violin it’s a job well done," he says.