Tigilau Ness

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Tigilau Ness (born c. 1954) is a Niuean New Zealand activist and reggae artist, and performs as Unity Pacific. Ness is a political activist and first generation Pacific Island New Zealander.

Niue island country in the South Pacific Ocean

Niue is an island country in the South Pacific Ocean, 2,400 kilometres (1,500 mi) northeast of New Zealand, east of Tonga, south of Samoa, and west of the Cook Islands. Niue's land area is about 261 square kilometres (101 sq mi) and its population, predominantly Polynesian, was about 1,600 in 2016. The island is commonly referred to as "The Rock", which comes from the traditional name "Rock of Polynesia". Niue is one of the world's largest coral islands. The terrain of the island has two noticeable levels. The higher level is made up of a limestone cliff running along the coast, with a plateau in the centre of the island reaching approximately 60 metres high above sea level. The lower level is a coastal terrace approximately 0.5 km wide and about 25–27 metres high, which slopes down and meets the sea in small cliffs. A coral reef surrounds the island, with the only major break in the reef being in the central western coast, close to the capital, Alofi. A notable feature are the many limestone caves near the coast.

New Zealand Country in Oceania

New Zealand is a sovereign island country in the southwestern Pacific Ocean. The country geographically comprises two main landmasses—the North Island, and the South Island —and around 600 smaller islands. It has a total land area of 268,000 square kilometres (103,500 sq mi). New Zealand is situated some 2,000 kilometres (1,200 mi) east of Australia across the Tasman Sea and roughly 1,000 kilometres (600 mi) south of the Pacific island areas of New Caledonia, Fiji, and Tonga. Because of its remoteness, it was one of the last lands to be settled by humans. During its long period of isolation, New Zealand developed a distinct biodiversity of animal, fungal, and plant life. The country's varied topography and its sharp mountain peaks, such as the Southern Alps, owe much to the tectonic uplift of land and volcanic eruptions. New Zealand's capital city is Wellington, while its most populous city is Auckland.

Reggae Music genre from Jamaica

Reggae is a music genre that originated in Jamaica in the late 1960s. The term also denotes the modern popular music of Jamaica and its diaspora. A 1968 single by Toots and the Maytals, "Do the Reggay" was the first popular song to use the word "reggae", effectively naming the genre and introducing it to a global audience. While sometimes used in a broad sense to refer to most types of popular Jamaican dance music, the term reggae more properly denotes a particular music style that was strongly influenced by traditional mento as well as American jazz and rhythm and blues, especially the New Orleans R&B practiced by Fats Domino and Allen Toussaint, and evolved out of the earlier genres ska and rocksteady. Reggae usually relates news, social gossip, and political comment. Reggae spread into a commercialized jazz field, being known first as "Rudie Blues", then "Ska", later "Blue Beat", and "Rock Steady". It is instantly recognizable from the counterpoint between the bass and drum downbeat, and the offbeat rhythm section. The immediate origins of reggae were in ska and rocksteady; from the latter, reggae took over the use of the bass as a percussion instrument.


Lifetime achievement award

In May 2009, Ness was presented with a Lifetime Achievement Award at the fifth Pacific Music Awards in Auckland, New Zealand in recognition of more than 30 years in the music industry. [1]

Pacific Music Awards

The Pacific Music Awards are an annual New Zealand music award ceremony that honours excellence in Pacific music in New Zealand. The awards honour musicians who primarily work in the Pacific Island style of music from the Cook Islands, Fiji, Niue, Samoa, Tonga, Tokelau or Tuvalu, and also in urban and gospel genre categories.


After being expelled from Mt Albert Grammar in 1971 for refusing to cut his afro, he was involved in founding the Polynesian Panthers, a Polynesian rights group modelled after the Black Panthers.

Afro hairstyle

Afro, sometimes abbreviated to 'fro, is a hairstyle worn naturally outward by people with lengthy or even medium length kinky hair texture, or specifically styled in such a fashion by individuals with naturally curly or straight hair. The hairstyle is created by combing the hair away from the scalp, allowing the hair to extend out from the head in a large, rounded shape, much like a cloud or ball.

The Polynesian Panther Party was a revolutionary movement founded by New Zealand born Polynesians on 16 June 1971. The party was explicitly influenced by the American Black Panther Party, particularly Huey Newton’s policy of black unity. They located the causes of Māori and Pacific Island oppression within the exploitative social relations of capitalism. Consequently, the Polynesian Panthers promoted a strategy of liberation based on the complete overthrow of the capitalist system and the social relations necessary for its development. The group greatly increased in profile during Rob Muldoon's immigration scare campaign in 1975, and the subsequent dawn raids under his administration.

He was active in opposing apartheid and the 1981 Springbok Tour. He was arrested during a protest march and spent nine months in Mount Eden Prison. Ness also took part in Māori land protests including the occupation of Bastion Point. He converted to Rastafarianism during this period.

Apartheid System of institutionalised racial segregation that existed in South Africa and South West Africa (Namibia) from 1948 until the early 1990s

Apartheid was a system of institutionalised racial segregation that existed in South Africa and South West Africa (Namibia) from 1948 until the early 1990s. Apartheid was characterised by an authoritarian political culture based on baasskap, which encouraged state repression of Black African, Coloured, and Asian South Africans for the benefit of the nation's minority white population. The economic legacy and social effects of apartheid continue to the present day.

Bastion Point Piece of coastal land in New Zealand

Bastion Point is a coastal piece of land in Orakei, Auckland, New Zealand, overlooking the Waitematā Harbour. The area is significant in New Zealand history as the site of protests by Māori against forced land alienation by pākehā in the late 1970s.

A veteran musician, Ness was one of the founders of the reggae group the Twelve Tribes of Israel in the 1970s, and started a band called Unity in 1975. He also worked with the band Herbs. He formed the Unity Reggae Band in 1985, but did not release an album until 2003. His struggles against injustice and problems faced growing up in New Zealand, featured on his album From Street to Sky. A documentary of the same name about Ness was released in 2008.

Herbs (band) New Zealand reggae group

Herbs are a New Zealand reggae group founded in 1979 and led by singer-guitarist Dilworth Karaka, the only constant member. Since its foundation Herbs has been multi-ethnic in membership and featured Samoans, Tongans, Cook Islanders and Maori members. The 11th inductee into the New Zealand Music Hall of Fame, were once described as "New Zealand's most soulful, heartfelt and consistent contemporary musical voice". It has been said their debut EP Whats' Be Happen? "set a standard for Pacific reggae which has arguably never been surpassed".

Ness is the father of hip hop musician Che Fu (Che Ness), and often performs as a member of Che's band The Krates.

Che Ness (MNZM), better known by his stage name Che Fu, is a New Zealand hip hop, R&B and reggae artist, songwriter and producer. A founding member of the band Supergroove, as a solo artist he has gone on to sell thousands of albums both in New Zealand and internationally. Che Fu is considered a pioneer of Hip hop and Pasifika music in New Zealand.


Ness has featured in documentaries.

From Street to Sky is a one-hour documentary on his life directed and produced by Bryn Evans. [2] Named after Ness' long-awaited first album, From Street to Sky screened on Māori Television in August 2007 [3] and at the New Zealand Film Festival in 2008.

'From Street To Sky is an interesting and touching look at a caring rebel, a formidable protester, and talented musician whose songs reflect a life devoted to unity and compassion.' NZ Herald, July 2008 [4]

In 2008, Ness featured with his son Che Fu in the documentary Children of the Revolution about the children of political activists in New Zealand which also included Māori activist Tame Iti, Māori Party Member of Parliament Hone Harawira, Green Party Member of Parliament Sue Bradford and anti-apartheid leader John Minto. Made by Front of the Box Productions, Children of the Revolution screened on Māori Television and won Best Māori Language Programme at the Qantas Television Awards 2008. [5] Also in 2008, Ness was the subject of a half-hour art documentary Tigilau Ness on The Gravy Art Series made by Sticky Pictures and screened on TVNZ6. In 2011, Ness and Che Fu were featured in Sons from Afar, a documentary for Māori TV in which they travelled to their homeland of Mutalau, Niue for the first time together. [6]

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  1. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 8 October 2011. Retrieved 16 November 2011.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  2. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 23 June 2008. Retrieved 26 July 2009.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  3. "From Street to Sky: Tigilau Ness • Throng". Throng.co.nz. 19 August 2007. Retrieved 3 January 2019.
  4. Scott Kara and Peter Calder (25 July 2008). "Film fest picks". The New Zealand Herald . Retrieved 22 November 2011.
  5. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 23 December 2008. Retrieved 26 July 2009.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  6. "SONS FROM AFAR". Ngataonga.org.nz. Retrieved 3 July 2018.