Te Vaka is a group of musicians and dancers from Tokelau, Tuvalu, Samoa, Cook Islands and New Zealand brought together under the inspired leadership of Opetaia Foa'i. Te Vaka has been enchanting the world with their own brand of South Pacific Fusion since 1997. Using the rhythms of the log drum ("pate"), combined with traditional and contemporary instruments, Opetaia Foa'i and the band deliver a kaleidoscopic array of Pacific flavors in a genre all of it’s own.
Te Vaka has toured the UK, Europe, USA & other parts of the world extensively over the last 17 years, performing in such prestigious venues as London’s Royal Festival Hall and Ronnie Scott’s nightclub. The group has headlined music festivals throughout Europe and been favourites at WOMAD festivals around the world including the WOMAD Festival in Seattle, USA. They are in demand for many important world events and have represented New Zealand and the South Pacific with performances for the America’s cup events in Auckland, the Commonwealth games in Melbourne, the Rugby World Cup in Paris and the Olympic Games in Beijing.
Opetaia Foa’i is the songwriter/ lead vocalist of the group. The inspiration for his music comes from his multi-cultural upbringing - half Tokelauan, half Tuvaluan, born in Samoa and bought up in a Tokelauan community in New Zealand. Opetaia’s musical background spans both the traditional and the diverse influences of contemporary metropolitan culture. Described as “one of New Zealand’s finest songwriters” and “ a true son of the Pacific”, he won the Senior Pacific Artist award in 2005 for his contribution to the Pacific Arts.
Te Vaka has performed in 40 countries around the world and released seven internationally acclaimed albums to date. The first released in 1997 through ARC Music, a UK/European based record company, gained immediate worldwide success and recognition for the group and was distributed to over 80 countries. The second album, released in 1999 through Warm Earth Records created an even bigger impact going to number one on world music charts and on mainstream radio in the South Pacific. The third album, released in May 2002, was described as “Phenomenal” and gained the group a nomination in “Best Roots” category in the New Zealand music awards and nominations for BBC 3 World music awards in the UK. The 4th album Tutuki , entered the European World Music Charts at no. 4 & the USA Global Rhythm top 10 chart at No. 3. It won a Tui for “Best Pacific Music Album” in the New Zealand music awards as well as Songwriting Awards in both the USA and Australia. The fifth Te Vaka album Olatia, released in July 2007 entered the European World Music Chart at No. 4 and won a “Tui” for “Best Pacific Album” in the 2008 Pacific Music Awards. Sixth album “Haoloto” released in 2009, won 2 awards -“Best Pacific Group 2010” and Best Pacific language song”. A track from the 7th Album “Havili” released in 2011 won second place in the USA songwriting competition in 2012. The band completed two very successful tours of North America in 2010 and 2011. After a much deserved break, Te Vaka will be back on tour in 2015 with a new album.