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Eddie Low sings for Ngāpuhi kaumatua and kuia
‘The Voice in a Million’, Eddie Low (Te Arawa waka, Ngāti Whakaue) and his great mate Kevin Greaves, son of the late Rusty Greaves, gave a private performance to the Kaumātua Kuia rōpū of Ngāpuhi and some of the staff from Te Rūnanga-Ā-Iwi-O-Ngāpuhi at the start of May.
Eddie and Kevin were in the Bay of Islands for the annual country music festival, but gladly made time in their schedule for the one-off performance at the Kaikohe Memorial Hall.
Organised by Lee Mason, coordinator for Te Rōpū Kaumātua Kuia o Te Whare Tapu Ō Ngāpuhi with support from some of the TRAION team, the performance brought back memories for many.
“One of my aunties had some tears as she wished her brother was still alive to see Eddie Low in the flesh, and especially in our town of Kaikohe,” said Lee.
Eddie’s daughter Maria contracts to TRAION and helped Lee with the planning. Maria said her highlight was seeing her dad perform with an all-Ngāpuhi lineup of impromptu line dancers during the 90 minute set.
Eddie passed on his thanks to Lee, CEO Sam Napia, GM Babe Kapa and the team for making him and Kevin feel so welcome. Gifted with some Ngāpuhi kākahu including t-shirts, which he wears proudly in Christchurch wear he lives, Eddie described it as a privilege to perform for kaumātua kuia o Ngāpuhi, many of whom had been listening to his music for years.
“They’re all such beautiful people. And the sausage rolls afterwards were awesome,” he said.
Eddie turned 78 years old the week after visiting Kaikohe, and also celebrated almost 60 years in New Zealand’s music industry.
Facts you may not know about Eddie Low:
- Eddie was born in Rotorua in 1943 to a Māori mother and Scottish father.
- Eddie’s birth mother, Rangi (Ratana) McRoy had Tuberculosis and German Measles during her pregnancy with Eddie, her second child. Eddie was born totally blind due to the German Measles, and Rangi died a short time later from the Tuberculosis.
- After the death of their mother, Eddie and his older brother David were adopted by Maria Low, a cousin of their birth mother.
- From the age of 5, Eddie was raised and educated at the New Zealand Foundation for the Blind in Auckland. It’s here that he learned to play multiple instruments, all by ear.
- At the age of 12, Eddie had several operations on his eyes to try and give him sight. Nothing could be done for his right eye but he gained partial vision in his left eye – around 10 percent, although this has deteriorated over the years.
- Eddie remembers two things most about gaining partial sight – 1) he stopped “banging into things” and 2) he started dreaming for the first time ever. Dreams are pictures in your mind while you sleep, and without seeing, he had no images for his brain to reference.