New Zealand Trading Company Profile

aka The Maori Hi-Quins
Chris Bourke
25 May 2014

What happens when two Māori, a Brit, and three Latin-Americans walk into a Chicago bar? They form a band, go to Memphis and record an album that mixes psychedelia with pop, jazz and rock. Then, the band promptly stops trading.

The New Zealand Trading Company album was released in the US in 1970, but only a few copies made it to New Zealand. On the back of the album the musicians stand beside the Mississippi River, resplendent in flared trousers and heavy sideburns. To get to Memphis, the members of the band took long, strange journeys.

Read more +
An "artistic" shot of the New Zealand Trading Company
Thomas Kini in Gisborne Photo News, 1965
Photo credit: Gisborne Photo News
In Puerto Rico (from left) - Gonchi Sifre, Alberto Carrion, Thomas Kini (front), Maurice Moore, Kawana Waitere, Jorge Casas
Universal Recording Studios. A 1970 ad in Billboard magazine.
Kawana Waitere, centre, with Commonwealth in the early 1970s. The US-based group included two other former members of the New Zealand Trading Company: Maurice Moore, left, and Jorge Casas, right. The singer was Jessica Marciel.
New Zealand Trading Company - The Prisoner
The New Zealand Trading Company's only album, issued September 1970
New Zealand Trading Company after Thomas Kini's departure: Kawana Waiteri is second from left.
The Maori Hi-Quins with Lynn Rogers, Thomas Kini, left.
New Zealand Trading Company: Thomas Kini, Jorge Casas, Maurice Moore, Alberto Carrion, Gonchi Sifre and Kawana Waitere
Thomas Kini and family in Gisborne Photo News, May 1965
Photo credit: Gisborne Photo News
New Zealand Trading Company
The New Zealand Trading Company at The Playboy Club, Lake Geneva, Wisconsin
New Zealand Trading Company - Hey Jude
New Zealand Trading Company - Could Be
New Zealand Trading Company - Oh What a Day
New Zealand Trading Company - Rua Moko
New Zealand Trading Company beside the Mississippi River
The Maori Hi-Quins in the Ottawa Journal
New Zealand Trading Company in a Puerto Rican newspaper: Gonchi Sifre, Jorge Casas, Alberto Carrion, Maurice Moore, Thomas Kini and Kawana Waitere
The No. 2 Māori Hi-Five showband at Surfers Paradise. From left, Rim D Paul (Rotorua), Thomas Kini (Gisborne), Tab Paenga (Gisborne), Jimmy Rivers (Waikato), Mathew Kemp (North Auckland), and Gary Wahrlich (Invercargill).
Photo credit: Gisborne Photo News
The Maori Hi-Quins relax on tour. From left: Thomas Kini, Eddie Nuku, Kawana Waitere, Charles Mather (a manager of the Hi-Five showband company), Junior Tuatara and opera legend Inia Te Wiata.

Memphis Records


Thomas Kini - guitar

Eddie Nuku - bass

Lynn Alvarez - vocals

Kawana Waitere - vocals, piano

Neville Turner - drums

Maurice Moore - keyboards

Gonchi Sifre - drums

Jorge Casas - guitar

Alberto Carrion - piano, vocals

Natalie Rosenberg, the co-owner and producer of the New Zealand Trading Company's 1970 album, in a shot taken the same year
The Maori Hi-Quinns (sic) in April 1967 in Fresno, California