Lynne and Celine Toner

aka The Toner Sisters

One of the more curious records to be issued in New Zealand was by a pair of Glasgow-born country music-singing sisters performing the traditional Māori love song ‘Pokarekare Ana’. Making it even more unique, it’s probably the only local 7” vinyl release to include a photo of the act on the label.

Lynne and Celine Toner already had solo LPs on Music World at the start of the 1980s and several appearances as a duo on TV show That’s Country before releasing their single ‘Crying In The Rain’ on CBS in 1983.

Celine and Adrienne Toner performing the Judds' Rocking With the Rhythm of the Rain on Dixie Chicken (1987)
Napier pub band Abstract, 1983. Clockwise from bottom left: Joe Atkin, Dave Atkin, Richard Nicholson, Pat Mahoney, Celine Toner. 
Photo credit: Pat Mahoney collection
Lynne and Celine Toner in the early 1980s
Music World recording artist Lynne Toner.
Photo credit: Hoghton Hughes collection
Celine Toner recording her debut album at Mandrill Studios, 1981
Photo credit: Pat Mahoney collection
Music World congratulates Celine Toner on her album and makes a suggestion as to the single, targeting her as a country-rock artist, contrary to her father's suggested single.
Celine Toner at the Grand Ole Opry with George Hamilton IV, 1984
Celine Toner on stage with the Royal Scots Dragoon Guards
Celine (left) and Lynne Toner on stage at the Vocation Hotel, 1982. Laurie Dee in the background. 
Photo credit: Pat Mahoney collection
A Celine Toner publicity shot from the early 1980s
Mandrill Studios' Glyn Tucker Jnr congratulates Lynne on her 1982 win in the Country Quest and explains her options. Lynne and Celine Toner would use the prize to record a single.
Music World offers Celine Toner a deal
Celine Toner, at a Heads, Hands & Feet gig, Hamilton, 1980s. 
Photo credit: Karen Ford
Lynne Toner with some of her trophies from 1978 and 1979
Celine Toner’s Music World album released in 1981
Lynne Toner in the 1990s
Lynne Toner’s Music World album released in 1980
Lynne and Celine Toner in the early 1980s
Celine Toner’s independent release from 2002
The Toner family in their Napier home, 1980. Left to right: Adrienne (front), Evelyn, Lynne, Celine, Peter, Richard (front) and Jim.
Lynne & Celine Toner’s single release from 1983
Celine Toner at the Grand Ole Opry, 1984


Music World


The first country music song Lynne Toner sang in New Zealand was Slim Whitman’s ‘Bandera Waltz’ as a 12-year-old at the Hawke’s Bay Country & Western Music Club in 1974. She performed unaccompanied because her dad didn’t know the chords.

As well as managing his daughters Lynne and Celine in the early parts of their careers, Jim Toner also led his own Napier bands such as Ramrod and The Overtones. At one time he owned an independent musical instruments store and ran an Access Scheme for unemployed Hawke’s Bay musicians. He passed away in 2007.

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