Although Kemp Tuirirangi may not be one of the most familiar names when great New Zealand guitarists are mentioned, he has been a prominent figure on the Wellington and Wairarapa blues and rock scenes for half a century. He is featured on few recordings, but you can hear him on one New Zealand classic – BLERTA’s ‘Dance All Around The World’. A later BLERTA single, the raucous ‘Joy Joy’ better displays Tuirirangi’s abilities.
Tuirirangi was born in Masterton on 4 June 1949 and was attracted to music at an early age. “I picked up the ukulele really young and my uncle, my mother’s brother, played guitar – so at family gatherings I would always go watch him. I really wanted to be an All Black but that didn’t work out and I figured that it would be nice to play music so music it was.”