Tama Renata Profile

Graham Reid
6 Nov 2018

Directed by Lee Tamahori, the opening scene of the 1994 film Once Were Warriors is among very few viscerally powerful sequences in New Zealand cinema. The camera lingers on a picturesque scene of Aotearoa New Zealand scenery of a river and mountains … then pans down to reveal it is just a power company billboard beside a motorway slicing through urban blight. As much as its visual power however, the scene gets added resonance by the soundtrack which opens with gently evocative taonga pūoro then morphs into searing, angry and distorted guitar passages which drive the darker message home.

That piece, created by Tama Renata, one of the finest post-Hendrix blues-rock guitarists of his generation, also gets a strident and extended reprise supported by a powerful haka over the film’s closing credits. It is a remarkable piece of music which captures the coiled rage and emotional chaos of a central character Jake The Muss, played by Temuera Morrison.

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Tama Renata's Workshop album, 1989
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The Tuhi Tama Band, which played at Aladdin's nightclub under Auckland's Civic Theatre, 1979. From left: Armand Crown, Erana Clark, Tuhi Timoti, unidentified, Tama Renata, Josie Rika, Dave Noda. 
Photo credit: Sarah Richards/Tuhi Timoti collection
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Papa: Tama Renata and Dilworth Karaka at the Bastion Point 35th anniversary at Teachers Eastern Ruby Club May 25, 2013
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Tama Renata - Workshop back cover. The album featured a tribute to charismatic roadie Scruff. 
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Tama Renata performs at the 1994 APRA Silver Scroll, at the Power Station, Auckland. 
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Tama Renata guitar solo im the Prince Tui Teka Variety Show (1983)
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Sonny Day - Saving Up (1983, featuring Tama Renata on guitar)
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Papa: the stage at the 35th Anniversary of Bastion Point with Mano Pratt, Eddie Te Amo, Maurice Watene, Dilworth Karaka, Truda Chadwick, Corina Fisher, Alec Hawke, Tigi Ness, Tama Renata, Ngamanaaki Pratt, Lloyd Latimer and Dez Brown all present.
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Tama Renata performing at a public concert at the Auckland Domain, 1990s. 
Photo credit: Sarah Richards/Tuhi Timoti collection
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Tama Renata, Phil Crown and Tuhi Timoti, Waitangi Day 2008 on Queensland's Gold Coast, Australia.
Photo credit: Sarah Richards / Tuhi Timoti collection
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Tama Renata, Tuhi Timoti, Martin Winch together with Murray McNabb and Frank Gibson Jr.
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Unsung Heroes of Māori Music - Ep6 Tuhi Timoti and Tama Renata
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Herbs 1993 - clockwise from top left: Tama Renata, Kristen Hapi, Morrie Watene, Dilworth Karaka, Juanito Muzzio, Charlie Tumahai, Tama Lundon.
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Bruno Lawrence, Jools Topp and Tama Renata
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Papa: Tama Renata, Malcolm Edwards, Maurice Watene and Alec Hawke, 2013
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Tama Renata - Once Were Warriors theme
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Tama Renata - 'Working at the Workshop' was the single from the 1989 Workshop album.
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Paul Ubana Jones and Tama Renata
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Tama Renata and Tuhi Timoti
Photo credit: Sarah Richards/Tuhi Timoti collection
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Te Aroha Records