Te Atiawa, Ngāti Porou, Ngāruahinerangi
Noel Rawiri Woods grew up near Waiwhetu marae, surrounded by improvisation in garages and parties, and his whānau have always been musical. His career began as a DJ, and he was often seen spinning tunes on the turntables of Wellington’s clubs.
After seeing Fat Freddy’s Drop perform live in 2005, he was inspired to form the band Grove Roots with his uncles and cousins, later debuting at the 2006 Parihaka International Peace Festival. Noel's enormous passion for Te Reo Māori lead to the decision for the band to perform only in Te Reo. The band also incorporated haka and traditional instruments, combining them with contemporary sounds.
Later in 2006, Noel produced an album called Te Wharau in hopes of revitalising old waiata from within the papakainga of Waiwhetu as well as creating new waiata Māori compositions. The following years saw Grove Roots perform at all of the Parihaka Peace Festivals as well as at Te Rā o te Raukura. During this time, Noel also joined the band Chantdown, led by the late vocalist Ngahekenga O Carroll.
In 2017, Grove Roots released their self titled album Grove Roots, which was nominated for six Waiata Māori Music Awards. In 2019, the band launched their second album, Waka, which was nominated for four Waiata Māori Music Awards.
Te Reo Māori, tikanga and community have always been at the forefront for Noel. His passion in this area led him to become an Event Manager and Artistic Creator, running events such as Te Rā o te Raukura, Newtown Festival, Summer in the Dowse and Te Awe Māori Business Networks Cultural Experience as well as directing and producing the whakatau for Wellington’s largest community festival, Cuba Dupa.
These days, you can see Noel jamming on drums and percussion for Grove Roots and artists Sianne Dougherty, Amba Holly, Pere Wihongi and Maaka Fiso. In addition to being the key song writer and manager for Grove Roots, Noel is also a Radio Announcer/Producer for Atiawa Toa FM Radio and Te Upoko o te Ika and Audio & Visual Director/Producer & Artist Management at T.A Productions LTD.
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