From left to right – Howard Rozon; Elicia-May Hitchcock; Tem Hodson

New Plymouth Operatic Society president Howard Rozon agrees with cast member Elicia-May Hitchcock, who says with the re-emergence of kapa haka groups, could mean more Māori should get involved in the Operatic Society.

“I certainly have the same opinion. When I first walked into the place for rehearsals I was the only brown face when I looked around, and I wondered where the others were.

“Over time however, I’ve come to realise that operatic is not a genre a lot of Māori get into. But when they do, they excel. You only have to look at the likes of John Limmer, Elicia-May and John Paki Paki, to name just a few.

“When I started to do shows Shirley Murphy (the musical director) never saw me as ‘the Māori’ but as a person who could sing and that’s how I’ve always been treated here.

This year Tem Hodson, who has Māori and Samoan blood coursing through his musical veins, plays Javert, one of the principal roles in Les Miserables.

Article written by Gordon Brown. Photo by Chris Hill.
First published in the Taranaki Daily News on 13 July 2018.