NUKI WAAKER (R.I.P.)

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First published November 2011

Nuki Walker, passed away in Sydney on Sunday 27th November 2011, aged 79.  Nuki, with two of his brothers, formed the Deuces in 1954.  With his wife Marg, and his brother Gugi, Nuki later formed the Polynesian Trio in Australia.  Nuki and Marg went on to form the Maori Volcanics in 1964, touring the world and launching the careers of Prince Tui Teka and Billy T. James.

 Nuki spent his life entertaining audiences with the rock and roll showband music which shot him to fame. 

Click here to view Nuki's acceptance of the Waiata Maori Music Industry Award in 2010

TRIBUTES

Very sad - and very surprised actually - to hear of Nuki's passing.  I played with Nuki and his brother Gugi in Broadbeach, Qld in July of this year and felt privileged to be able to sing with such legends.  It is an indictment to the spirit of music that musicians of such ilk do not stop playing - to be gigging like that, still so handsome and still so together - all the gears and such a professional.  I found it hard to believe that he was nearly 80.  Outstanding.  These guys should all have been knighted! - Truda Chadwick
As one of the few Pakeha who had the occasional opportunity to play with Nuki, Googie and the showbands, I just want to say what a great experience it was Ė fun and professional at the same time Ė and Iím really sorry to hear the news of Nukiís death.  Nuki stood out as a leader among a sometimes fractious and competitive but talented and always eager group of people. - Bruce Morley
Nuki was a top mate.  I had great times with him in Auckland way back when.  We hung out at the Polynesian Club run by Lou Mati and he would sing his heart out with we budding musos backing him and his then group "The Deuces"  As I remember the number for which he was famous was a bellowed "Woman In Love."  I remember staggering down Pitt Street in the wee smalls supported by Nook who gazed at me with brotherly fondness saying, "You're mad Ironside, but it's a good kind of mad!"  You'll be missed but never forgotten Nuki.  A true mate. - David Ironside
I received your E-mail about Nuki Waaker passing away and my feelings go out to his family.  I never met him but I played in Gugi's band for a few months in 1967 with Johnnie O'Keefe.  We toured all up the east coast of Australia and then back to Sydney. - Jim Ellyett
I didn't know Nuki that well but I remember seeing him often as he was also a member of the Deuces with Danny Tumahai.  Please extend my condolences to his family. -  Ian Saxon
Very sad news, as another NZ Muso  leaves us and goes to the big  'Bandstand' in the sky.  Yes I knew Nuki and watched him perform along with Marj when he was playing at the Bronte Charles in Sydney way back in 65/66.  Also at the Maori Community Centre in Auckland before that.  Myself and his brother Gugi Walker were in the "NZ Impacts Showband" along with Clive Cavanagh, Tess Keegan and a piano player Kevin ?  These were the years the Kiwi ''Show-bands'' 'ruled' the Club scene.  My condolences go to Gugi and all his family and friends.  Another 'great' New Zealand Musician gone but not forgotten. - Errol Timbers
RIP Nuki - Ray Columbus
It was with sadness that I read about Nuki Waaker passing.  It brought back  great memories of when I use to play at the Beatle Inn with the Pleasers and then go around the corner to the Sherilee nightclub and watch the Quinn Tikis perform.  They were so versatile, swapping instruments, doubling overhand on each others guitar neck and playing Guitar Boogie.  They were also very funny, always laughing and kidding around on stage.  Nuki and the rest of the band, I will remember them fondly.  Nuki, rest in peace - Roger Skinner
(email me your tribute to Nuki and I'll add it in - andy@nzmusos.co.nz)

 

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