Kemp Tuirirangi

Although Kemp Tuirirangi may not be one of the most familiar names when great New Zealand guitarists are mentioned, he has been a prominent figure on the Wellington and Wairarapa blues and rock scenes for half a century. He is featured on few recordings, but you can hear him on one New Zealand classic – BLERTA’s ‘Dance All Around The World’. A later BLERTA single, the raucous ‘Joy Joy’ better displays Tuirirangi’s abilities.

Tuirirangi was born in Masterton on 4 June 1949 and was attracted to music at an early age. “I picked up the ukulele really young and my uncle, my mother’s brother, played guitar – so at family gatherings I would always go watch him. I really wanted to be an All Black but that didn’t work out and I figured that it would be nice to play music so music it was.”

Sons and Lovers, late 1960s (L-R): Scratch (Lyn) Rae, Alan (Moony) Moon, Kemp Tuirirangi, Ali Matthews, and Peter Leef. The bus - and Tuirirangi - would soon be inherited by BLERTA. 
Photo credit: Alan Moon collection
Original members of BLERTA, their families (and some friends), Webb Street balcony, 16 October 1971. Adults, back row: Tony Littlejohn, (Simon Morris), unknown, Helen Whiteford, Kemp Tuirirangi, Bruno Lawrence. In front: (Peter Pharazyn), Pat Murphy, Veronica Lawrence, Corben Simpson, Geoff Murphy, unknown, (Peter Homewood), and Alan Moon. The children are Robin Murphy, Thad Lawrence, baby Luke Lawrence, Matthew Murphy, Veronique Lawrence, and Paul Murphy. 
Photo credit: The Dominion Post Collection, Alexander Turnbull Library
BLERTA, 1973. Chris Seresin, Greg Taylor, Fane Flaws, Ian Watkin, Kemp Tuirirangi, Bruno Lawrence.
Photo credit: The Dominion Post Collection, Alexander Turnbull Library
Kemp Tuirirangi, right, during the filming of a Mitsubishi advertisement. Bob Smith second from left. 
Photo credit: Bob Smith collection
Kemp Tuirirangi. 
Photo credit: Bob Smith collection
BLERTA at work. From left: Tony Barry, Ian Watkin, Kemp Tuirirangi, and Greg Taylor.
Photo credit: Greg Taylor collection
The BLERTA bus
Photo credit: Corben Simpson Collection
Kemp Tuirirangi posing with a saxophone, while playing guitar in Wellington band Krazy Mama in the late 1970s. With him is bass-player Eddie MacDonald, formerly of The Avengers. 
Photo credit: Victoria Ginn
Stilleripple - Loner Postponer (1972)
Kemp Tuirirangi (second from left) and Bob Smith (far right) on set for a Mitsubishi advertisement, c. 1990s. 
Photo credit: Bob Smith collection
The BLERTA bus with Ian Miles, Greg Taylor, Fane Flaws, Kemp Tuirirangi, Tony Barry, Ian Watkin, Arnold Tihana, Alan O'Neill, Helen Whitford, Corben Simpson, and Bruno Lawrence.
Photo credit: Taranaki Photo News, April 1973
StilleRipple: Kevin Wickens, Murray Loveridge, Kemp Tuirirangi.

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