• Hawke's Bay Compilation Record Showcase  - Arahi

Hawke's Bay Compilation Record Showcase - Arahi

Picking up the guitar at just 9 years old, Arahi had discovered a passion that would become integral in the making of the person he is now.  Since that moment, nothing else mattered, being a musician became his entire focus. 

In the beginning he didn't know what being a musician entailed, but very quickly he found out that there was more to it than meets the eye. 

“In those early years, I was so intrigued by the idea [of being a musician], and no one I knew was doing it. Those early years were almost like studying - not the instrument, but the culture”.

Guitar was his entire life until he turned 13. Ensuring that he did not become that “guitar guy” he diversified his musical talents to include playing drums and singing “At that point, it was just talking loudly” he jokes. 

These days his music fits into the alternative folk scene, similar to that which was prevalent in New Zealand in the early 2010s. 

His latest single was a massive shift into wanting to create character based tunes, and more theatrical thematic projects. As the folk genre endures, so does his passion to bring it into today’s culture. 


The compilation vinyl is something Arahi heard about last year from Kevin Murphy, who is spearheading the project. This is Arahi's second time featuring, having previously appeared on Under the Sun, Vol. One. 

Arahi says that being included in the vinyl is huge, both for himself and Hawke’s Bay artists. “I have noticed travelling around New Zealand, there are a lot of people who underestimate musicians from Hawke’s Bay and that creative scene and I kinda try and not preach, and not advocate either but sort of showcase how great and how diverse and how potent that Hawke’s Bay creative scene is”.

Arahi submitted one song for consideration titled “The best thing I have ever seen”.

Whilst the title may allude to a simple tune, the meaning behind it is anything but. 

“Playing it on tour every night and trying to talk about it, and I always find it really hard to decipher just cause there are so many different aspects of the tune - meaning wise. But, narrowed it down to this sort of vague story which talks about the character in the song following someone else and talking about moving from a small town to a big city, living in the big city, being young and trying to figure everything out. Kind of the dangers of having strangers tell you how great you are. And being disillusioned, confused”.

Arahi explains that the tone of the song appears to be rather bright and happy, yet when exploring a bit deeper into the meaning and intention of his lyrics, it starts to have a darker undercurrent alluding to the struggles that are faced by all in real life scenarios.

“I guess in the beginning when I was writing it I was imagining someone being told that they were the best thing they have ever seen all the time. When it's pretty unlikely that they mean it.” 

“Lyrically there is this great first line that says “She can see that things are changing, and she’d like to be ahead of the curve in that regard” and I thought that’s an unbelievably formal way of saying something. Mostly because it was ridiculous, that's why I liked it.” 

Arahi says, “So it’s quite a deceiving song. Almost like how the character is being deceived by these strangers”.

The song is a shift from his usual tone of music, having more fun synth movements.  

As a solo artist Arahi usually does everything himself instrumentally during the recording process, however this was his first introduction into putting a band together and working in a studio. 

“Normally I’d be doing all the instruments myself at home. But we went to Wellington to Surgery Studios and took the band and pretty much did it in one day, which was pretty hectic”

Whilst being a solo artist, Arahi always makes time for the collaborative side of the music industry. Many may have seen him centre stage as part of the Elton John Experience, or atop the smaller stage in the band Suzy Blue.

His talents are appreciated and revered by both audiences and musicians alike. He is able to seamlessly fill in if a guitarist is needed, much to the surprise and glee of his fans.

Arahi is fortunate enough to be working as a full time musician, although he does it for the love of music, with making money being a convenient secondary to that.

“As much as you are trying to further the career ya know, we all just love to play music, kinda the aim of the game, so there, little projects around Hawke’s Bay, things all over the place that I do - just for the love of it”.

With a varying daily schedule, what used to be a random mix of music-centric items and rehearsing has grown into a more streamlined, productive admin-heavy role. 

“There's a lot of emails eh, not just playing guitar all day, or at all. Barely. There is a lot of prep for the next thing. Where are we headed? Sitting down and brainstorming what's the direction of the new shows, are we going to do new songs, what do we need”.

Arahi’s main goal for the future is to simply continue having the ability to make music.

“Maybe I would like to win a songwriting award, maybe I'd like to reach number one in the charts or something, but what it really comes down to is you hope the music you make or the art you create reaches as many people as it can and helps them in some way. That's the job”. 

The Hawke’s Bay Compliation Record - Under the Sun, Vol. 2 was produced by Backline Charitable Trust. 

This record would not have been produced without the help of additional funding through Lion foundation, EIT Te Pukenga (Ideaschool) and Aramex.

There is an event being held at Paisley Stage, Napier to celebrate the completion of the vinyl. It will be on 23rd March 2023. 

For more information about this event, and about our local musicians check out the Hawke’s Bay Music Hub website and Facebook page.