Nesian Mystik Profile

Gareth Shute
Published: 27 May 2013
Updated: 1 Jul 2017

Nesian Mystik were key to the breakthrough of NZ hip hop in the early 2000s. They mixed hip hop beats with Polynesian-style guitar and ukulele, then gradually evolved their sound to include funky synth lines and live horns. They remained at the top of their game for a decade, with all four of their albums reaching the Top 20 and a record-breaking 11 Top 10 singles.

It was a surprisingly auspicious career for a group that began as the “Tropical Penguins” (for a talent quest at their school, Western Springs College). Fortunately they renamed themselves Nesian Mystik before entering the Smokefree Rockquest in 2000, where they won the “stage image award” award (Evermore won the overall prize). At this stage, the group comprised three singer-rappers – Te Awanui Reeder (Awa), Donald McNulty (Tha Kid Oldwun), Junior Rikiau (Junz) – backed by guitarist David Atai (Dmon Finguz) and turntablist/DJ Heath Manukau (Notiq). 

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Junz at the Hip Hop Summit
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Nesian Mystik at Ahmed Zaoui fundraising gig
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Nesian Mystik performing at Aotea Square, Auckland
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Nesian Mystik promo photo for their album Elevator Musiq
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David Atai and Feleti Strickson-Pua
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Mr Mista
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For The People
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Nesian Mystik. Back row, from left: Heath Manukau, Donald McNulty, Feleti Strickson-Pua. Front row, from left: David Atai, Te Awanui Reede, Junior Rikiau
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Dance Floor
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Nesian Mystik - Sun Goes Down
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It's On
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Nesian Mystik, from left: Heath Manukau, Junior Rikiau, David Atai (at back), Donald McNulty, Feleti Strickson-Pua (at back), Te Awanui Reede
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Nesian Mystik at the 2006 New Zealand Music Awards. From left: Feleti Strickson-Pua, David Atai, Junior Rikiau,Te Awanui Reeder, Donald McNulty, Heath Manukau
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Nesian 101
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Nesian Mystik at the Hip Hop Summit
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NZ Musican December/January 2002/3
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Arch Dynasty


Bounce

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Trivia:

Awa wrote the basis of a hit for Dane Rumble, 'Cruel', which was certified gold in 2009.

Nesian Mystik won a raft of music awards through their career, including NZ Music Awards wins for Best Pacific Album, Best Urban Album, and People's Choice (plus four wins at the Pacific Music Awards, including best song for 'Nesian 101' and four wins at the Waiata Māori Music Awards).

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Members:

Te Awanui Reeder - vocals

Feleti Strickson-Pua - raps

Donald McNulty - raps

Junior Rikiau - raps, drums, ukelele

David Atai - guitar, vocals

Heath Manukau - turntables