16 Jul 2018

Songs of Moana with Te Vaka and Orchestra Wellington: an 8-year-old's review

10:03 am on 23 February 2023

Eight-year-old Yaya Alley reviews the sold-out live show Songs of Moana at Wellington's Michael Fowler Centre on the weekend.

Yaya Alley reviews Songs of Moana

Yaya Alley reviews Songs of Moana Photo: Yadana Saw

RNZ Music's Yadana Saw took her 8-year-old daughter Yaya Alley to see Te Vaka and Orchestra Wellington, perform Songs of Moana at Wellington's Michael Fowler Centre on the weekend.

For the uninitiated, Te Vaka are the group that composed and performed many of the songs on the Oscar-nominated soundtrack to Disney's animated movie Moana.

Here's what young Yaya thought:

"Te Vaka made the soundtrack to the Disney movie Moana. This is the first time the Pacific dancers and musicians have performed in Wellington for 18 years.

"It was also the first time Te Vaka played with Orchestra Wellington. Lots of families were there. The Michael Fowler Centre was full of kids of all ages.

"Te Vaka got the audience to participate in some songs. The crowd were into it, singing along to songs from the movie. Songs like ‘Where You Are’, ‘Shiny’, ‘How Far I’ll Go’, ‘You’re Welcome’ and heaps more.

Te Vaka dancers perform Songs of Moana with Orchestra Wellington

Te Vaka dancers perform Songs of Moana with Orchestra Wellington Photo: Kirsten Johnstone

"I enjoyed singing along to ‘You’re Welcome’ the most. I also liked ‘We Know The Way’ because it’s my favourite song. It was really cool seeing the orchestra playing because it sounded like the movie.

"Some kids weren't really concentrating, like my little brother, but the older people were.

"Te Vaka played their own songs that weren’t from the movie soundtrack. They played the pate (log drums) and pa’u (animal skin drums). The pa’u used to be made of sharkskin, but now they use goat and cow skin.

"There were three people doing Polynesian dancing, Olivia Foa’i, Etueti Pita, and Dave Kuresa. It was cool.

READ: The humble beginnings of Te Vaka from the family kitchen table to the world 

"Olivia also sang all the songs that had parts for the character Moana. She looks a little like Moana. She kept changing her costumes. Olivia has been in Te Vaka since she was two years old. Her Dad is Opetaia Foa’i the leader of Te Vaka.

"Orchestra Wellington showed us all the different sections of their band. I liked the violins in the string sections the best. I asked my Mum if I could learn to play the violin.

"I think it was a really good show and they should do more of them. Lots of people who enjoy music, dancing and the movie Moana would like this show."

Sulata Foai-Amiatu, Marc Taddei and Opetaia Foa'i

Sulata Foai-Amiatu, Marc Taddei and Opetaia Foa'i Photo: Kirsten Johnstone

What: The Songs of Moana

Who: Te Vaka and Orchestra Wellington

When: Saturday, July 14

Where: The Michael Fowler Centre

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