New Zealand Trading Company

aka The Maori Hi-Quins

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.

New Zealand Trading Company
The Maori Hi-Quins with Lynn Rogers, Thomas Kini, left.
In Puerto Rico (from left) - Gonchi Sifre, Alberto Carrion, Thomas Kini (front), Maurice Moore, Kawana Waitere, Jorge Casas
Thomas Kini in Gisborne Photo News, 1965
Photo credit: Gisborne Photo News
New Zealand Trading Company beside the Mississippi River
New Zealand Trading Company after Thomas Kini's departure: Kawana Waiteri is second from left.
The New Zealand Trading Company's only album, issued September 1970
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.
Thomas Kini returns home to his Gisborne family for a short holiday, after three years away with the Māori Hi-Quins, May 1965. Also present are Kini Quartet members Martin Kini, third from left, and Barney Taihuka second from right.
Photo credit: Gisborne Photo News, May 1965
The Maori Hi-Quins in the Ottawa Journal
New Zealand Trading Company - The Prisoner
An "artistic" shot of the New Zealand Trading Company
New Zealand Trading Company - Oh What a Day
New Zealand Trading Company in a Puerto Rican newspaper: Gonchi Sifre, Jorge Casas, Alberto Carrion, Maurice Moore, Thomas Kini and Kawana Waitere
New Zealand Trading Company - Rua Moko
New Zealand Trading Company - Could Be
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
New Zealand Trading Company - Hey Jude
The New Zealand Trading Company at The Playboy Club, Lake Geneva, Wisconsin
Universal Recording Studios. A 1970 ad in Billboard magazine.
New Zealand Trading Company: Thomas Kini, Jorge Casas, Maurice Moore, Alberto Carrion, Gonchi Sifre and Kawana Waitere
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.
Photo credit: Junior Tuatara collection

Memphis Records

The Maori Hi-Quinns (sic) in April 1967 in Fresno, California

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

Funded by

Partners with