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Thousands of people packed into Spark Arena last Friday to see ‘Mana Moana’, a collaboration between the Signature Choir and the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra.

Photo/PMN News/Joseph Safiti

Arts

Emotion and surprises at Mana Moana musical spectacular

Thousands danced and sang along to the collaboration between the Signature Choir and the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra.

Alakihihifo Vailala, Te Rito Journalism Cadet
Published
29 November 2023, 10:34am
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Lights bedecked Auckland’s Spark Arena stalls as traditional Pacific melodies played throughout the night.

Thousands of people packed into Spark Arena last Friday to see ‘Mana Moana’, a collaboration between the Signature Choir and the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra.

The show proved to be more than just a celebration of Pacific culture.

“We hope as a choir that we took the audience on a journey,” says choir member Taupau Faoa Taupau.

Taupau travelled from Wellington to take part in the show after performing at Mana Moana’s sold out debut performance in the capital last year.

He says he wanted to join the choir to sharpen his musical skills as he’s a choirmaster for his church.

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With a repertoire that included a fusion of traditional and contemporary music from six Pacific Islands, most of the audience spent more time on their feet than in their seats.

The thrills felt by the audience were also felt by the choir and prompted Taupau to take his shirt off showcasing his traditional Samoan Pe’a (tattoo).

“We talked about whatever you feel at the time and that’s what came to me at that particular time and showing a bit of my Samoan culture and it fit in with the Samoan piece."

Along with emotion, the show also came with surprises.

With the help of RNZ, the Signature Choir and NZSO released their album ‘Mana Moana (Live at Michael Fowler Centre) on Spotify, Apple Music and Youtube Music.

It was also revealed that Musika Moana , a nationwide choral competition hosted by Pacific Cast will take place in June 2024 with a prize pool of $100,000.

The night ended with the crowd thanking the performers by singing “Ua Fa’afetai”, a traditional Samoan song of thankfulness, and illuminating the arena with thousands of phone torches.

Taupau says: “Tonight has been a few months in the making... it got very intense but it’s all worth it in the end."

Video below shot by Joseph Safiti: