Mary and The Maori Hi Five Receive Star on The Strip
November 14, 2009 by VegasNews.com
Mary and the Maori Hi Five showband have been awarded the 40th star on the Strip by the Las Vegas Walk of Stars Committee. The presentation/ceremony was held on the Brooklyn Bridge in front of the New York-New York Hotel & Casino on Thursday, Nov. 12, 2009. On Friday, the star was embedded in the sidewalk in front of the hotel. The group was the first of the Maori showbands to leave New Zealand in the 1960s.
Mary and the Maori Hi Five toured Australia, Singapore, Malaysia, Manila, the Philippines, Hong Kong, Japan, Hawaii, London, United Kingdom, Europe and Scandinavia. Coming to the United States in 1965, they worked the Nevada circuit in Las Vegas, Reno and Lake Tahoe; while doing side tours in Europe, Hawaii, Puerto Rico, Canada and the Bahamas. In Las Vegas, they worked at the Sahara, Thunderbird, Hacienda, Tally Ho and Caesars Palace and at Harrah’s Club in Reno and Tahoe. They disbanded in 1971.
The group worked with many famous stars including: Louis Prima, Keely Smith, Gia Mione, Sam Butera, Duke Ellington, Count Basie, Buddy Rich, Harry James, Louis Armstrong, Mel Torme, Ray Charles, Sammy Davis, Jr., Harry Belafonte and many others; but most notably, they headlined with the Beatles in Hong Kong in 1964.
The group will be featured in the second part of a 12-part series being filmed by Crown Media for a New Zealand Maori television program “Unsung” (Heroes of Maori Music) and Frontier Films will also be filming for Australian television a program called “Kia Ora Mate,” where Maori entertainers will salute Aussies for helping to start their careers.
One member of the group, Robert Hemi Te Miha passed away in November 2007. Of the remaining members, Kae Pohe is the only one living in Las Vegas and Solly Pohatu the only one still in New Zealand. A welcome reception was held on Wednesday night at a private estate. The camaraderie even to this day is undeniable and they are proud to be representing the Maori race. At each event, Maori tradition played a key role.
For more information about the group, visit www.maoriinc.org.
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