11 Apr 2021
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Tigilau Ness

Bio

Tigilau Ness is a Niuean New Zealand activist and reggae artist, and performs as Unity Pacific.

Ness is a political activist and first generation Pacific Island New Zealander. After being expelled from high school in 1971 for refusing to cut his afro, he was involved in founding the Polynesian Panthers, a Polynesian rights group modelled after the Black Panthers.

He was active in opposing apartheid and the 1981 Springbok Tour. He was arrested during a protest march and spent nine months in Mount Eden Prison. Ness also took part in Maori land protests including the occupation of Bastion Point. He converted to Rastafarianism during this period.

A veteran musician, Ness was one the founders of the reggae group the Twelve Tribes of Israel in the 1970s, and started a band called Unity in 1975. He formed the Unity Reggae Band in 1985, but did not release an album until 2003. His struggles against injustice and problems faced growing up in New Zealand, feature on "From Street to Sky".

Ness is the father of hip hop musician Che Fu (Che Ness), and often performs as a member of Che's band The Krates.

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