Te Vaka Profile

Graham Reid
2 Mar 2017

The acclaim for Opetaia Foa’i of Te Vaka for his music on the soundtrack to the animated Disney film Moana – which topped the Billboard soundtrack and children’s charts, and went to No.2 on the main US charts – is a story many decades in the telling.

For those who haven’t followed Te Vaka, it may seem like an overnight success, but they’ve long been a twist on the famous ad slogan: They are “world famous … except in New Zealand”.

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Opetaia Foa’i performing at the Toata Stadium in Tahiti, 2005
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Pate Mo Tou Agaga (live in Alaska, 2011)
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Opetaia Foa’i with his daughter Olivia, a singer, dancer, songwriter and choreographer with Te Vaka
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Tamahana (live in Tahiti, 2005)
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Te Vaka on the beach in 1998, taken in New Caledonia when the band were performing there. Band members from left to right: Daniel Foai, Neil Forrest, Sulata Foai-Amiatu, Manase Foai, Opetaia Foai, Etueni Pita, Alana Foai, Vasa Foai, Andrew Dukeson and Simon Hope.
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Kaleve (live in Tahiti, 2005, with drums and chants)
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Te Vaka at the World Roots Festival, Amsterdam, 2000
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Te Vaka filming a video clip in Paris, 2000. They were asked to move along by French authorities. 
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Lin-Manuel Miranda, Opetaia Foa'i - We Know The Way (from Moana)
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Te Vaka at the world premiere of Moana
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Opetaia Foa'i with Moana composer Mark Mancina, standing, in the control room at Warner Brothers
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Opetaia Foa'i with members of the cast of Moana at the London premiere. At right is Lin-Manuel Miranda, who also wrote songs for the film
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Pate Pate (live at the St Galen Festival, 2000)
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Te Vaka with Mark Mancina, standing in the centre, back row. Mancina wrote the original score for Moana 
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Te Vaka perform at D23, a Disney expo that showcases upcoming features by Pixar, Disney and Marvel
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Vakaaitu (live at the Pacific Music Awards, 2010)
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Te Vaka singers at the sessions for Moana at Warners
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Opetaia Foa'i with the cast and directors of Moana at the London premiere

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Te Vaka with Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson, the voice of Maui in Moana
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Te Vaka in 1998
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The songwriting team on Moana, from left: Mark Mancina, Opetaia Foa’i, Lin-Manuel Miranda
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Pate Mo Tou Vae (live at the Tollwood Festival, Munich, 1999)
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Opetaia Foa’i at the D23, 2015
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Te Vaka of the South Pacific in 2008
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ARC music


Warm Earth Records