Mateparae was the band leader and vocalist, and he played bass on the track. The song was recorded live to portable reel-to-reel at a Sunday afternoon/evening youth club social in Whanganui in 1959, and the band members were aged 16 and 17.
Two of the Rockin’ Rockers, Peter Wolland (drums) and Kawana Waitere (piano), would soon be playing in the original Māori Hi-Quins line-up, with Waitere staying the distance when that band went to Australia in June 1960, and on to UK, Europe and the USA.
When members from the Hi-Quins evolved into the Chicago-based New Zealand Trading Company at the close of the 60s, Waitere was part of that band too.
The Rockin’ Rockers, with the addition of guitarist Posie Te Tana, went to Wellington in 1960 under the name The Del-Rockers. They took over a residency at the Trades Hall, replacing the Māori Hi-Five, who had departed to Australia in January 1960 with Peter Wolland in the line-up. The Del-Rockers played other regular spots, including the Mexicali, and stayed in Wellington for the next two years.
Sam Mateparae was later a long-time member of, and then the leader of The Quin Tikis showband, playing saxophone with them across the Pacific, Australia, and entertaining the troops in Vietnam. He stayed on in Sydney to work solo after they disbanded. In 1966 a single by Sam & The Quin Tikis, ‘Honky Tonk’, was released by Philips in Australia.
Mataparae died in November 1974 after falling down a flight of stairs, and his body was returned to Rātana Pā for burial.
His younger brother, Sir Jerry Mateparae, would become the Governor General of New Zealand in 2011.
Sam Mateparae - vocals, bass
Peter Wolland - drums
Kawana Waitere - piano
Alfred Paranihi - guitar
Herbert Steadman - saxophone
Posie Te Tana - guitar