22 May 2023

NZ Hip Hop Stand Up | Season 3 | Episode 2: Lost Tribe 'Summer in the Winter'

From NZ Hip Hop Stand Up, 6:00 am on 22 May 2023

In 1996, South Auckland hip-hop collective Lost Tribe confronted the mistreatment of Pasifika migrants in their debut single 'Summer In The Winter'.

This episode covers the impact of Lost Tribe amongst New Zealand hip-hop and Pacific migrant communities. It also explores how the group used hip-hop as a vehicle for voicing their experiences.

There has never been a better collection of NZ hip-hop artists than Brotha D, Sinbad, DJ Fingaz, Son Tan, Johni Sagala and KD. ever, says DJ Sir-Vere.

Lost Tribe offered a much-needed voice for Pacific migrant communities through their music.

They also used their platform to shed light on unspoken experiences and struggles, seeking to empower and inspire Pacific migrants.

At the time, hip-hop served as a vehicle for the members of Lost Tribe to "say what we wanted to say", says Brotha D.

One particular line from 'Summer in the Winter' that he wrote holds particular significance for the group, and hip-hop legend King Kapisi counts it as his favourite in all South Pacific rap music.

"Many thanks to you white man, but the plan is not to stay, but to go back" represents a common reason many Pacific Islanders migrated - to obtain a better life and then bring their newfound knowledge and opportunities back to their home communities.

"Every Pacific kid who grew up in our generation, they knew exactly what that meant," Brotha D says.

With its message and fusion of Pacific and hip-hop influences, 'Summer in the Winter' marked a significant moment for both New Zealand hip-hop culture and Pacific migrant communities, and it continues to be remembered and celebrated as a classic track in the New Zealand music landscape.

Renowned hip-hop producer DLT describes the song as "a turning point for a lot of Aotearoa hip-hop culture".

"It was amazing to have like-minded brothers sticking together," recalls Lost Tribe member Son Tan.

About the artists

Lost Tribe

South Auckland group Lost Tribe was so named due to its diverse membership, consisting of migrants from a number of different Pacific Islands. The group rose to fame in 1996 with their debut single 'Summer in the Winter' and used their platform to speak on the experiences of Pacific migrants in Aotearoa.

Brotha D

Samoan rapper Danny 'Brotha D' Leaosavai'i was an original member of the South Auckland group Lost Tribe. He went on to co-found the legendary New Zealand hip-hop label Dawn Raid Entertainment.


Sinbad was an original member of Lost Tribe and of Rarotongan descent.

DJ Fingaz

Jim "DJ Fingaz" Makai was an original member of Lost Tribe and of Niuean descent.

Son Tan

Jonathan "Son Tan" Pale was an original member of Lost Tribe and of Tongan descent.

Johni Sagala

Johni Sagala was an original member of Lost Tribe and of Samoan descent.


Kendall "KD" Kereopa Takai is a former member of Lost Tribe and of Cook Island descent.

 Made with the support of NZ On Air Photo: NZ On Air