MC APAAPA: Self-taught musician Mack Apaapa playing his beloved guitar at Mata Brewery at the open mic night. Photo supplied

SINCE he could lift and carry a guitar, MC and musician Mack Apaapa has been playing music.

The guitarist joins a group of musicians and soloists at Mata Brewery in Gateway Drive each Sunday and has been performing since the open mic night started in November 2018.

He is also responsible for introducing the popular event which highlights the region’s talent.

Mack says he joined a rock band as a young man, performing covers but admits, “It got boring”. This boredom sent him on a unique venture where he was introduced to country music and line dancing by a shop assistant at a local record store.

It wasn’t long after he joined his first class in Tauranga – where he is originally from – that his love for country music and dancing developed into him becoming the line dancing ambassador for New Zealand, frequently travelling overseas to teach keen learners in Melbourne, Sydney and Darwin.

However with a growing whanau, he had to decide between continuing or meeting the growing needs of his family.

Not long afterwards, he purchased a carpet cleaning business in Whakatane where he and his two sons helped with the clean-up from the Edgecumbe flooding in 2017.

“The business has been a huge success and it’s still going strong. However, music is what makes me happy,” he says, and it wasn’t long before he picked up an instrument again and found himself at Mata Brewery.

Mack says he started the open mic night after discovering three Maori boys from Kawerau who he described as “incredibly talented”.

“When I saw these boys play, I thought to myself, there’s so much talent out there that we’re missing. Some artists have nowhere to go, so, Mata Brewery gives them a platform to showcase their stuff and it brings everyone together,” he says.

“I encourage everyone to come down and play. It’s an exciting place to be,” Mack says.