Herbs Stories

Herbs: Whats’ Be Happen?


In early 1863, on the eve of the Waikato War, Ngāti Whātua chief Paora Tūhaere purchased the schooner Victoria for £1,400 and set off with 20 of his people for Rarotonga to develop a Māori trade with the islands of the South Pacific. That trade led to exchanges not just of produce but of people, with periodic voyages and marriages reinforcing ancestral links.

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Herbs: He Rata Kouru Nui


East Cape, 1987: “Men may come, men may go, but Ruatoria goes on forever.”

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Herbs: Reflections on Ruatoria


Not a lot was said on the way home from Ruatoria. “Everyone was so overjoyed, they were speechless,” says Herbs’ bassist Charlie Tumahai. “What I liked about it was that everybody felt that way. Regardless of what race of people you were, or what your job was in everyday life. I watched a lot of people there, and coming away from the place was a very sad experience.”

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Herbs in Ruatoria, 1987


Looking back at Herbs’ 1987 visit to Ruatoria to launch their album Sensitive To A Smile, there seemed to be naivety among the Herbs camp and music media about the gravity of the problems that Ruatoria was facing and continued to face in the years that followed.

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