Howard Morrison

August 18, 1935
Howard Morrison
A Musician an entertainer and was born in Rotorua a decendeant of the Te Arawa Iwi, with scotish ancertry he was one of six children to be born to a former Maori All Black Temuera Morrison and an Entertainer Kahurangi Morrison (also known as Gerrude Harete Davidson)
He was raised in Rotorua and the town of Ruatahuna , Morrison attended a nearby school before going to Hawkes Bay’ Te Aute College, and Rotorua Boys High School.

His dreams and ambitions of becoming a professional entertainer where ignited by being involved in Kapa Haka groups (Maori cultural group) and concert parties, but after leaving school music took a step back and he took on allot of manual jobs as a land survey chainman for the Department of Māori Affairs, an electricity meter reader for the Tourist Department and a storeman at Whakatu freezing works where he and 2 of his friends would sing for their co workers

In 1954 after the death of his father Howard Morrison Returned to Rotorua to play rugby at Waikite Club, here he would organize vocal groups and perform for rugby club socials

In 1956 he became a member of the successful Aotearoa Concert Party that toured Australia. When he returned back to Rotorua he heard a Guitarist Gerry Merito at a Family garthering they would decide to form a group and ask Brother Laurie Morrison,and cousins John Morrison and Gary Rangiihu to join , soon after Chubby Hamiora and Wi Wharekura joined and form the Ohinemutu Quartet,

In 1957 Howard Morrison married Rangiwhata Ann Manahi . They had two sons and a daughter. This would also be the year he would he would get more serious about his music and rename Ohinemutu Quartet, to “The Howard Morrison Quartet”.the quartet started performing around Rotorua at talent shows and as word spread bookings started coming in and soon enough they were spotted by Auckland entrepreneur Benny Levin.

In December of 1957 Benny Levin was gathering groups of artist that would perform on a tour “Pop Jamboree” “The Howard Morrison quartet” would be one of the groups to be signed to be part of the show, after a successful tour and growing reputation Benny Levin would start bringing them to Auckland to perform at his venues, while doing this Benny Levin negotiated a recording contract with Eldred Stebbing at Zodiac records on a single to single deal.

1958 there first release ‘There’s Only One Of You’/’Big Man’ this was available in both 78rpm and 45rpm format, This wasn’t a big seller, but the second single called “Hoki Mai” was a hit and sold well especially in Auckland and Rotorua some Maori would be offended by the song’s modification and thought it ignored its importance in history in maori history of the Māori Battalion. Soon after in the same year ‘Po Karekare Ana’ was released. as were two more singles, ‘Haere Ra E Hine’/’Marama Pai’ and ‘Marie’/’Deep Purple’.

In 1959 The band where playing a regular gig at a Auckland dine and dance venue and spotted by Harry Miller he became their manager and signed them to his Label la Gloria records thru this time band members would come and go.

It was suggested to parody a Lonnie Donegan song, ‘My Old Man’s a Dustman’. The result was ‘My Old Man’s an All Black’, a humorous protest at the ostracism of Māori from the team for the 1960 rugby tour of South Africa. this was recorded on a very cheap budget yet went on to sell 60,000 copies.

Harry Miller proved to be a very good manager, as the band where having successful tours. Even making appearances on screening at the local cinemas and On 1 of June 1961 the band were among the first to perform on the what was actual official transmission of television in nz the next year they would perform on a Varity show The Time.

In 1963 Harry Miller relocates to Australia and Howard Morrison chooses to stay in New Zealand reluctant to follow he puts a hold on the band and in 1964 decides on a solo career. In 1965 Howard Morrison headlines a two part series The Howard Morrison Half hour “ and then goes on to play a Maori shearer in a Australian movie, “Australias funny things happen down under”

Decades later he spoke of being proud that the Quartet “were able to bring Māori culture to the white, Pākehā majority So the Māori part of us, we didn’t have to beat our chests about. It just came out naturally.”

The following year Morrison stars in a musical comedy “Don’t let it get to you” starring Kiri Te Kanawa,Lew Pryme the KeilIsles and Quin Tikis, this performance helped Morrison earn the “Entertainer of the year award” this helped him to established a broder reputation around the pacific and Asian circuit, also in Hawaii.

In 1968 he released two solo albums, Born Free and Power Game, plus a duet album with country singer John Hore, Take Ten. Then in 1969 for Getting It All Together. It would be 13 years before he would release another album but when he did it would be another success to add to his of acheievements

After many successes in the entertainment industry especially as a Maori man all while maintaining a strong connection and love for Maori culture throughout his career he felt an unstatistfyed with his entertainment life and felt he could make a contribution witch would enable him to fulfil another passion of his such as helping Maori youth to reach Higher levels of achievement in Education, recruited into the department of maori affairs as a youth consultant, he developed education programmes that performed so well in schools and Marae by 1979 he became the director of youth development.

by 2002 Howard Morrison was knighted, with the investiture ceremony at his home marae of Ohinemutu. For his service in the entertainment industry

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