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Herbs were among New Zealand's first reggae bands to explore important Aotearoa New Zealand issues, standing up as a voice for people that weren’t getting heard.

Throughout their career and journey as artists, Herbs were important figures in New Zealand's anti-nuclear stance, the Rainbow Warrior affair, and M?ori land rights, most notably Bastion Point. At the time of the release of their debut EP/mini-album What’s Be Happen? the cover of their recording debut displayed a black and white photo of the infamous police eviction of the Bastion Point protestors on May 25 1978. It set the tone for where Herbs were coming from and that they weren’t afraid to use their music to make social commentary on issues affecting them. This year marks 45 years since the occupation at Bastion Point.

The band welcomed many musicians throughout their active years, resulting in a rich line-up totalling some 27 members across their catalogue. Current members Dilworth Karaka, Maurice Watene and Tama Lundon, perform live as an acoustic trio.

“Herbs was the voice that rose- up from The Streets of Auckland, that called out the injustices of South Africa, identified the misery of the dawn raids. This was the band that called out for one brotherhood in Aotearoa – NZ, where the different races that existed in this country could come together to sing and dance in the one place.” Hugh Lynn – Herbs Manager

Herbs were inducted into the NZ Music Hall of Fame at the 2012 APRA Silver Scroll Awards, where seventeen of the band members past and present came together onstage, and Dilworth made a short and moving speech honouring his band members including those who had passed away.

2023 is also a special year for the album collection release, as it marks the 40th anniversary of the release of the album Light of The Pacific (1983). The 1983 mini album featured the hugely popular single French Letter, a song that stayed in the singles chart for 11 weeks in 1982, with almost no radio airplay.

Band Members:
Dilworth Karaka
Maurice Watene
Tama Lundon





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Joined: 07/10/10
Posts: 1
Location: Outside NZ
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Posted: Thu Oct 7, 2010 10:47 am
They were well-known.



Joined: 18/05/10
Posts: 1
Location: Outside NZ
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Yo bro's
Posted: Tue May 18, 2010 3:26 pm
Wayno here...

yup... am still in china.. and i found a Chinese bar owner ( big one ) who loves reggae.. how about a china tour???
Get in touch..



Joined: 14/01/09
Posts: 1
Location: Hawke's Bay
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Herbs 'Fan Club'
Posted: Wed Jan 14, 2009 7:13 pm
I am interested to know whether this group has a Fan Club. I can find very little info on them and would really like to download some of their older music.
I have just recently returned to NZ after a long stint away and feel proud to know that we are still pumping out vibes that compare to any artist or band I have heard.
It's a real shame that our top artists have to leave NZ for overseas to get the recognition they deserve. These boys are THE BEST......

muzic.net.nz Admin

Joined: 17/07/02
Posts: 5067
Location: Manawatu
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The Very Best Of Herbs releasing November 24
Posted: Thu Sep 25, 2008 4:40 pm
LIGHT OF THE PACIFIC – The Very Best Of Herbs
In stores November 24

1987. An election year (Labour won under Lange); the year of the first Lotto draw and NZ's first heart transplant. 1987; the year in which reggae pioneers Herbs received the Best Songwriter Award at the Tuis for the now classic 'Sensitive To A Smile' (Herbs picked up a gong for Best Album that year too).

Somewhat fittingly 1987 was also the year The New Zealand Nuclear Free Zone, Disarmament and Arms Control Act was passed, together with The Maori Language Act making Maori an official language. The members of Herbs must surely have been smiling when those two acts were passed.

'Sensitive To A Smile' has of course previously been recognised as one of the Top 100 NZ songs of all time by APRA and has thus been celebrated as part of the Nature's Best Series.

Like all classics, 'Sensitive..' is a timeless piece of song writing, and to help recognise thirty years of timeless Herbs music as part of a forthcoming new Herbs compilation, Hollie Smith has recorded a version of the song interpreting it for current and future generations. Hollie has without question made the song her own; she performs it here together with The Mt Roskill School Choir. The song will be released as a single as well as featuring on Light Of The Pacific - The Very Best of Herbs on November 24.

‘Sensitive To A Smile’, Hollie Smith – hitting radio next week.


Joined: 24/04/06
Posts: 5
Location: Hawke's Bay
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Posted: Mon Apr 24, 2006 8:23 pm


Joined: 24/01/04
Posts: 7
Location: Auckland
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herbs lyrics
Posted: Sat Jan 24, 2004 5:04 pm
Kia ora

I was hoping to find lyrics for any songs by herbs please email me if you are able to help in anyway


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