Willie Hona Profile

Glen Moffatt
10 Aug 2016

Singer-guitarist Willie Hona rebuilt Pacific reggae band Herbs in 1983 after the departure in quick succession of founding members. He was the band’s frontman and part of their most successful songwriting partnership during their commercial peak until exiting when Herbs fell under the spell of US rock star Joe Walsh.

Hona heeded the call from Herbs management when the band were in disarray and his and Tama Lundon’s ‘Long Ago’, ‘Nuclear Waste’ and ‘Listen’ went on to be a prerequisite of backyard parties the nation over and a feature of Herbs shows long after his departure; just as vital as their previous ‘French Letter’ and ‘Dragons & Demons’.

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Herbs circa 1987. Left to right: Dilworth Karaka, Charlie Tumahai, Thom Nepia, Willie Hona, Fred Faleauto, Maurice Watene.
Photo credit: Simon Grigg collection
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Willie Hona and then wife Niki Hona, mid-1980s
Photo credit: David Stewart collection
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The Hona Band and partners and friends, early 1980s
Photo credit: Ben Gilgen collection
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Willie Hona in the mid-1980s
Photo credit: Simon Grigg collection
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Herbs - Long Ago (1984)
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The Face, 1972 with Mack Tane (top left), Willie Hona (bottom left), Mark Williams (top right) and Gregg Findlay (bottom right).
Photo credit: Phil Warren Collection
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Willie Hona and Hattie St. John
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Willie Hona on the Herbs Farewell Tour, July 1986
Photo credit: Photo by Simon Lynch
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Herbs - E Papa (Ruatoria, 1987)
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The Face. Left to right: Willie Hona, Gregg Findlay, Mark Williams, Mack Tane. 
Photo credit: Gregg Findlay collection
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The Hona Band resident at the Peppermill, Auckland, 1981. Left to right: Nelson Chase, Kit Panting, Willie Hona, Greg McCunn, Ben Gilgen. 
Photo credit: Ben Gilgen collection
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Willie Hona in the 2000s
Photo credit: Photo by Scott Maxworthy
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Herbs - Nuclear Waste (1985)
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Willie Hona in the 2000s
Photo credit: Photo by Scott Maxworthy
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Willie Hona with Herbs at the Greenpeace Concert, Mt. Smart Stadium, 5 April 1986
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Willie Hona (left) and Jack Allen on stage with Herbs in the mid-1980s
Photo credit: Simon Grigg collection
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WEA boss Tim Murdoch presents Herbs with platinum albums. Back, left to right: Murdoch, Dilworth Karaka, Tama Lundon, Fred Faleauto, Maurice Watene. Front: Willie Hona, Thom Nepia.
Photo credit: Simon Grigg collection
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Herbs circa 1987. Clockwise from top left: Thom Nepia, Charlie Tumahai, Fred Faleauto, Willie Hona, Dilworth Karaka, Maurice Watene.
Photo credit: Simon Grigg collection
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Willie Hona with Herbs at Ruatoria
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The Face in action. Left to right: Mack Tane, Mark Williams, Gregg Findlay, Willie Hona.
Photo credit: Simon Grigg collection
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Charlie Tumahai and Willie Hona with Herbs in Palmerston North, 1987
Photo credit: Photo by Murray Cammick
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The Face. Left to right: Mack Tane, Willie Hona, Mark Williams, Gregg Findlay.
Photo credit: Simon Grigg collection
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Dilworth Karaka and Willie Hona with Herbs
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Willie Hona in the 2000s
Photo credit: Photo by Scott Maxworthy
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The Hona Band, rock and roll night at the Peppermill, Auckland, early 1980s. Left to right: Steve Grant, Sharon Sauni, Kit Panting, Ben Gilgen (front), Joanie Panting, Willie Hona, Niki Hona, Greg McCunn. 
Photo credit: Ben Gilgen collection
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The cassette cover of Willie Hona’s Keep An Open Heart album, released on Festival in 1991
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Willie Hona - Runaway Johnny (2013)
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Herbs reunite on the eve of their induction into the New Zealand Music Hall of Fame, 2012. Left to right, Gordon Joll, Thom Nepia, Will ’Ilolahia, Toni Fonoti, Alan Foulkes, Willie Hona, Phil Toms, Tama Lundon, Spencer Fusimalohi.
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The Face in 1972. From left: Mack Tane (bass), Willie Hona (front, guitar), Mark Williams (at rear, vocals) and Gregg Findlay (drums).
Photo credit: Phil Warren Collection
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Herbs reunite on the eve of their induction into the New Zealand Music Hall of Fame, 2012. Left to right, Spencer Fusimalohi, Dilworth Karaka, Toni Fonoti, Willie Hona.
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Willie Hona, 1985
Photo credit: Photo by Kevin Hill
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Trivia:

Willie Hona was the ‘Jamaican’ singer of the 1990s remake of the catchy Griffins Gingernuts jingle.

Willie Hona and Bill Puru’s ‘To Be Māori’ and ‘I’m Coming Home To Aotearoa’ were included on the 1990 Te Iwi Song Quest compilation album Ngā Waiata O Te Iwi – Let The People Sing.

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Labels:

Zodiac


WEA


Warrior


Festival