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24 December 2019

Kiwi reggae royalty Herbs will headline the biggest Waifest lineup ever put together, in Masterton on Waitangi Day (6 February).

Led by original member John Dilworth Karaka, Herbs now perform acoustically, with Maurice Watane (saxophone/vocals), and Joseph Tama Lundon (guitar/vocals), completing the lineup for the free Masterton District Council event in Queen Elizabeth Park.

Herbs were pioneers in the New Zealand reggae scene and have been a familiar name to Kiwi music fans for 30 years, with hits including French Letter, Sensitive To A Smile, Nuclear Waste, and Long Ago.

They were inducted into the New Zealand Hall of Fame in 2012, with APRA New Zealand Writer Director Don McGlashan describing how they broke down doors in the early 1980s.

“They fused Pacific and Reggae sounds into something unique and relevant to this part of the world; they gave a voice to an emerging, politically-aware audience that had grown up with the Springbok Tour, Bastion Point and Mururoa, and they gave a generation of young Maori and Pasifika musicians and songwriters a new path to follow.

“Suddenly, the spotlight had moved, and original New Zealand music could be as culturally diverse as the people who make up this country.”

Also on the bill for Waifest is singer songwriter Maisey Rika, who has four top-forty albums under her belt, and has made a name for herself in New Zealand overseas with evocative tracks in Te Reo.

Maisey has toured the world sharing her music, Māori culture and stories with thousands in Malaysia, Singapore, Taiwan, Japan, Indonesia, Australia, UK, Europe, America and China.

Her third album, Whitiora, released in 2012, was the highest-charting original Te Reo Māori album to ever be released.

Rika has performed on stage with many renowned artists including India Arie, Grammy Award winner George Kahumoku Jr, Dave Dobbyn, and Stan Walker. She has also opened for multi-Grammy Award winners The Blind Boys of Alabama and John Legend.

More artists will be confirmed for the Waifest lineup in coming days.

Waifest has become an annual summer highlight in Masterton with around 6000 attending the event last year.

Masterton District Council Chief Executive Kath Ross is delighted with the calibre of the lineup.

“Waifest is a celebration of the diversity of Masterton’s people, as well as marking our national day,” she said.

“I’m sure these performers will bring out the crowds for a great community day, one where we can come together and celebrate together.  After all Council is all about community.”