29 Apr 2017
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Mahinarangi Tocker

Bio

Ngati Raukawa, Ngati Tuwharetoa, Tainui (Ngati Maniapoto), Hebrew and Celtic ancestry.

1982

Records her debut album, Clothesline Conversation.

1987

Records her second album, I'm Going Home.

1989

Guest soloist at the Vancouver Folk Festival.

Worked with Marion Arts and Robbie Laven at the Brugge Festival in Belgium.

Guest soloist at the Michigan Womyn's Festival. (the first Maori woman to be invited to all three festivals)

1996

Records her third album of original material, Mahinarangi, a retrospective of work covering a ten year span, for Sony/Tristar/Columbia release. Named by the NZ Listener as one of New Zealand's ten best CDs of the century.

1997

Records her fourth album of original material, Te Ripo, produced by Shona Laing, also for Sony/Tristar/Columbia release. "An album of outstanding quality." - New Zealand Musician.

Commissioned to rewrite the music for Brecht's Caucasian Chalk Circle for drama students at Western Springs College.

1998

Commissioned to write, arrange and direct the music for Fleeced, an original presentation by staff and pupils at Western Springs College.

Composed and performed Letters And Laundry (with instruments including percussion, shaku, piano and chimes) to accompany the one woman play Ka Shue presented at the Maidment Studio in Auckland (two weeks) and in Dunedin (one performance) during the Chinese Splendour exhibition. Ka Shue was also presented to Auckland secondary schools.

Soloist at the first WOMAD Festival.

1999

How Do You Say Millenium In Maori. Commissioned for WOMAD and funded by Creative New Zealand with Maree Sheehan.

One of six singers in Michael Parmenter's dance opera Jerusalem, with music by David Downes.

Wrote lyrics and song in the Maori language for Zone 8, a studio band led by Keith Ballantyne for a TVNZ commissioned work.

Anthem with Hammond Gamble, wrote the words for a new national anthem for New Zealand, with music by Tim Finn and Eddie Rayner.

Baxter. Wrote and arranged the music for James K Baxter's poem Never No More for a NZ Festival of the Arts commissioned production directed by Charlotte Yates.

Performed solo at the Sweetwaters Revival Festival in Auckland.

Performed solo, and gave workshops on vocal improvisation, at the Nelson Festival of the Arts.

Began mentoring to assist young people establish positive attitudes toward their own creativity.

Performed with Charlotte Yates at the Taranaki Arts Festival and the Christchurch Arts Festival.

Toured as supporting act for Tracey Chapman.

At the invitation of Prime Minister Helen Clark, sang at the opening of Parliament.

Performed in the Millenium welcome concert in Auckland.

2000

National tour of a two-woman show with Charlotte Yates from Te Hokianga to Te Hokonui, performing in a total of 18 centres.

Supporting act with Sweet Honey in the Rock, who said: "Mahinarangi is a phenomenon."

Toured as supporting act with Cassandra Wilson.

Soloist at the second WOMAD.

Film: A Small Life. Played the leading role in this film by Michael Heath which premiered at the 2000 Wellington Film Festival. Wrote the words for the film's songs which were composed by David Downes. At the Karachi Film Festival in 2002 the film was to win the best actress award for Mahinarangi.

2001

Baxter. Performed in productions at the Taranaki Arts Festival and the Christchurch Arts Festival.

Maori Songs. Sang in a Maori choral ensemble working with Dame Kiri Te Kanawa to record the best-selling EMI album of traditional and contemporary waiata.

Opera In The Pa. The only non-trained singer to perform at this event, where she sang the traditional waiata Tarakihi and E Hine, as well as Over The Rainbow with piano accompaniment by Kim Nader.

Artist in residence at the Christchurch Arts Centre, where she wrote 22 songs and three percussion pieces. Working with senior students at Aranui High School and local musicians and singers, she presented 12 of the new compositions to a full house in the Great Hall on her final day as artist in residence.

Continued to give workshops in creativity in learning and self-esteem throughout Aotearoa.

By public vote, awarded Queer Musician of the Year.

Took part in the television campaign Like Minds Like Mine to de-stigmatise mental illness. Also shared in her stories in the television documentary Sticks and Stones. Her song When I Grow Up is the music associated with the television campaign second lot of advertisements.

2002

Toured to 19 New Zealand centres in a second two-woman show with Charlotte Yates.

Jayrem release Touring, an album of combined compositions by Tocker and Yates performed during their first national tour.

Yates and Tocker perform at the Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras.

Recorded her song Kei Hea Koe, produced by Charlotte Yates as a single for Iwi radio stations and for He Karanga, a compilation album of songs by Maori women distributed by Jayrem.

Hei Ha! the fifth album of original work by Mahinarangi, is released by Jayrem. Included in the 16 tracks are two songs written by Tocker and David Downes and three traditional Maori waiata. All other tracks are originals by Mahinarangi. Hei Ha! is produced by Tocker and Bruce Lynch. Jayrem Records.

The songs When I Grow Up and Danger Kissing are also released as a single from the album on Iwi Hit Disc. Hei Ha! received many complimentary reviews and added to the excitement of this album, was the respectful contribution by her parents, her sisters and her daughter Hinewairangi.

Performs in Baxter at the Hamilton Arts Festival.

Awarded the best actress award at the 2002 Karachi Film Festival for her role in the 2000 film A Small Life.

Recorded her song Kei Hea Koe as a single for Maori radio stations and for He Karanga, a compilation album of songs by Maori women. Jayrem Records.

2003

Starts work composing original songs for a new show, The Mongrel In Me, to be premiered at the 2004 New Zealand Arts Festival, with support from Creative New Zealand.

Her song Winter, co-written with Paul Casserly, is released on the new Strawpeople Sony CD Count Backwards From Ten.

Solo shows at the Christchurch Festival of the Arts and the Canterbury Family and Folk Festival.

Carries out student workshops in Christchurch.

Finalist in the inaugural Maioha Maori Writers of Song award at the APRA Silver Scrolls; Hei Ha! is a finalist in Te Mana Maori section of the NZ Tui Music Awards.

Completes her second book of poetry.

2004

Workshops new songs at the Tauranga Festival of the Arts
Previewed her new show, The Mongrel In Me at the Lake Taupo Arts Festival.

Six schools workshops in Taupo.

Premiere of The Mongrel In Me, with 22 new songs, at the New Zealand International Arts Festival in Wellington. Mahinarangi is supported by Ashley Brown, David Downes, Anahera Higgins, Shona Laing, Denny Stanway, James Wilkinson and Jimmy Young.

Schools workshops in Levin and Marton.

Solo performer in TV2 NZ music show National Anthem. Soloist with Stroma in Wellington world premiere performance of In Memoriam by Brigid Ursula Bisley.

Guest soloist at Canterbury Folk Festival, Christchurch, and the Silver Scrolls dinner in Wellington.

Featured artist with Shona Laing at Madpride evening in Wellington.

Soloist at parliamentary launch of Womad Taranaki's 2005 programme.

Invited soloist at inaugural human rights dinner at Parliament.
Composer/performer on A Northland Heart Scape, one of the tracks on a new album of songs using poems by Hone Tuwhare, accompanied by the New Zealand Trio with Kim Halliday. Commissioned by Charlotte Yates Productions.
Begins work with Wellington composer and musical artist Ross Harris on ROIMATA, a mini-opera for young people (music by Harris, storyline and libretto by Tocker).

Guest soloist at the Whare Flat Folk Festival in Dunedin.

2005

WOMAD Adelaide: International premiere performances of The Mongrel In Me.

"Tocker is similar to Joan Armatrading or Tracey Chapman. Her style is unique however and she connects with audiences in ways very few artists do, using a wonderful voice and humour to talk about her music, life and heritage." - Louise Nunn, Adelaide Advertiser.

WOMAD Taranaki: presentation of songs from The Mongrel In Me.

Wanaka Festival of Colour: South Island premiere performance of The Mongrel In Me.

New Zealand concert tour with James Wilkinson, (guitarist, bassist, singer, composer, poet).

Records her sixth album of her original songs, The Mongrel In Me, released by Jayrem in October. The seven supporting musicians are joined for the album by composer-trumpeter Ross Harris.

"Tocker's full, rich guitar playing drives most of these arrangements - but the most extraordinary instrument is her own voice which she uses to perform some breathtaking acrobatic feats."- Nick Bollinger, The Sampler, National Radio.

"An integral New Zealand artist - unique lyrical vocal style, a mix of jazz and folk." - NZ Musician.

"The double disc set is a winner." - William Dart, NZ Herald.

Nelson Arts Festival: performance of The Mongrel In Me. Soloist with the Auckland Philharmonia in world premiere of new mini-opera for young people Roimata composed by Ross Harris with story and libretto by Mahinarangi.

2006

Waitangi Day soloist at the Hoani Waititi Marae.

Solo show at Auckland Folk Festival.

March: Soloist in Tuwhare at the New Zealand International Arts Festival in Wellington, singing her own composition (lyrics by Hone Tuwhare) A Northland Heartscape; also performing Covetous, music by Strawpeople (with cellist Ashley Brown).

March: Solo show on opening night at Titirangi Music Festival.

April: Solo show at Christchurch Jazz Festival.

"An artist who wears her heart proudly and triumphantly on her sleeve … expression straight from the heart … powerful insights." - Timothy Jones, The Press.

June: Mentoring in Southland schools for NZ Music Commission.

September: Presented with Waitakere City inaugural Arts Laureate award.

September: Guest presenter and soloist, Midland Health Awards, Rotorua.

September: Finalist APRA Maihoa award (excellence in contemporary Maori music) for best waiata: Mahinarangi Tocker and Rihutapuwae Tocker: Tahu Kotiro.

October: Soloist at Wellington Folk Festival.

November: Solo show at Oparau Festival.

2007

February: Solo show in Thames.

March: Soloist in Tuwhare at the Auckland Festival, singing A Northland Heartscape and Covetous.

March: Opening night soloist at Auckland Folk Festival.

April: Easter Workshop at Magdalena Aotearoa National Gathering, Wellington.

April: Solo show at Happy in Wellington, with guest musicians.

April: Soloist at charity premiere of The Flying Scotsman in Auckland.

April: Solo show at Onewheru.

August: Completes new book of poetry.

October: Begins composing Wordsmiths, original songs with the words of 17 NZ poets, with funding from Creative New Zealand.

October: Commissioned to compose a capella score for new dance work by Taiaroa Royal and Tama Ete.

October: The October Gig, in Auckland.

November: Solo show at Ponsonby Folk Club with guests.

December: Solo show at Flax Cafe, West Auckland.

2008

In the new year honours, Mahinarangi becomes a Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit, for services to music.

29 March: Soloist at opening afternoon concert of Titirangi Festival of Music.

This was her final public performance. Mahinarangi died in hospital on 15 April 2008, after a massive asthma attack which resulted in respiratory failure.

Other activities.

Mahinarangi was a founding trustee of the New Zealand Music Industry Commission Te Reo Reka o Aotearoa.

From 2003-2004 she was a member of the composers' advisory panel of Sounz, the Centre for New Zealand Music.

Throughout her career, Mahinarangi was committed to establishing a brighter and more positive future for New Zealand composers and musicians. She was also motivated to help provide accessible educational resources for traditional Maori music, and she frequently performs to audiences at schools and colleges and community groups. She was involved in Duffy 'Books In Homes' projects and was an adult literacy tutor. She was also a published short story writer and poet.

Tocker gave music for creativitiy, learning and self esteem workshops through out the country, and became a trained workshop facilitator in Korowai Whaiora workshops about human rights issues for and by those who have experienced mental illness.

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Location

  • Waitakere


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