Tai Paul

Also known as
Taiaroa Paul
Date of death
Place of death
New Zealand

World War 2

Serial No
Address on enlistment
Poroporo, New Zealand
Next of kin
Mrs L.M. Paul (wife), Whakarewarewa, New Zealand

"'Tai at the Tama' became Rotorua's leading act in the 1950s.  Taiaroa Paul and his Pohutu Boys would draw locals and tourists to weekly dances at the Tamatekapua meeting house on the lakefront at Ohinemutu.  Born in Whakatane, Paul was blinded while fighting at Mersa Matruh in Egypt with the 28 Maori Battalion.  Already a musician before the war, he learnt to read music at St Dunstan's Institute for the Blind in Auckland. (At this time he recorded an army satire, 'The Kiwis in Solumn', broadcast in Digger's Session on 1ZB.)  'Forming a dance band was one of my ways of readjusting myself to civilian life,' said Paul.  The Pohutu Boys' musical director was English pianist Vic Bartholomew, who in London had worked with Billy Cotton and led his own bands.  The vocalist/guitarist Angus Douglas had been a Maori All Black, and the group later featured Nick and Ronnie Smith, who became prominent in the Wellington jazz scene.  The Pohutu Boys also launched the career of Tai's son, Rim D. Paul, vocalist with the Quin Tikis in the 1960s; he credited the Pohutu Boys as a key influence on the showband format of quick changes and themed brackets parodying Hawaiian, Latin and other sytles of music.  Tai Paul, who also worked as a hospital telephonist for 20 years, was performing with his Pohutu Boys up to two months before his death, aged 57, in 1978." - from Blue Smoke by Chris Bourke, p.252, AUP, 2010.

Tai Paul's son Rim D. Paul, like his father is a great musician.  He talks about his father, the Maori Battalion and the Pohutu Boys in this interview with Radio New Zealand.

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