On July 8 thrash metal band Alien Weaponry will take the stage at Totara Street, Mt Maunganui.
Their performance coincides with the much anticipated release of their single Ru Ana Te Whenua (The Earth Trembles) at the end of last month.
The band made headlines a year ago when they became the youngest act ever to be awarded a NZ On Air Making Tracks grant to record the song, which they originally performed at the Smokefree Rockquest and Pacifica Beats finals in 2015.
When the band won the national finals of both competitions in 2016, the release of Ru Ana Te Whenua was put on hold while they recorded and released four more tracks , while also playing a number of sold out shows around the country.
“Ru Ana Te Whenua was supposed to be our first single,” says bass player Ethan Trembath, 15.
But after winning Rockquest and Pacifica Beats the band had obligations to fulfil, and received funding to record more songs, so even though its been a long wait, they believed it has all worked out well.
The band chose the Bay of Plenty venue at Totara Street to begin the release tour for Ru Ana Te Whenua, because the song is about the de Jong brothers' ancestor, Te Ahoaho, who fought in the historic battle at Gate Pa nearby.
In the 1864 battle, 230 Maori dug themselves into the hilltop at Pukehinahina and withstood the heaviest artillery bombardment the British army has ever delivered, resulting in a crushing defeat for the 1700 strong British forces and changing the course of history.
“When we were younger our Dad would tell us stories about all sorts of events and battles as we were driving places,” says lead singer/guitarist Lewis de Jong, 15.
“At the time we didn't pay that much attention, but now we incorporate those stories into our music.”
The brothers, of Ngati Pikiao and Ngati Raukawa descent, attended a full immersion kura kaupapa Maori until the age of seven, where singing waiata and performing haka were a daily routine.
About half of their songs are in Te Reo Maori.
“Thrash metal and Te Reo Māori are a great combination,” says drummer Henry de Jong, 17.
“Both the style of thrash metal and its messages have a lot of similarities with haka, which is often brutal, angry and about stories of great courage or loss.”
The performance at Totara Street will be the first time Alien Weaponry has played at the Mount in three years – they supported Devilskin on their ‘We Rise' tour in 2014 after bass player Paul ‘The Axe Man' Martin played their demo material on his show The Axe Attack.
“We have been really fortunate to have the support of people like Paul Martin and (producer) Tom Larkin, as well as Rockquest and NZ On Air,” says Lewis. “It has definitely helped us to move forward.”
Saturday July 8 – Totara St, Mt Maunganui. Tickets $20 at the door or $15 pre-sales on Eventfinda.