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Tributes flow for muso Moses

A jewel in Gisborne's musical crown was lost when Moses Hiakita passed away on Wednesday.

One of Tairawhiti's finest bass guitar players, the wheelchair-bound Moses was put into an induced coma at Waikato Hospital after suffering a cardiac arrest while in Gisborne, but died.

He was 60 years of age.

Tributes were immediately posted on social media for the self-taught musician, with all walks of life remembering the softly-spoken and kindly man.

Musicians remembered jamming with the prolific player, others simply recalled his cheeky smile and big bass-playing hands that would smother any handshake.

“RIP Moses. I'll never forget the late night yarns as a young, up-and-coming musician and those rough, strong hands absolutely digging into that bass,” said Vegas Brown on Facebook.

Moses was unmissable on the streets in his “trusty iron steed”, as a profile in The Gisborne Herald once pronounced — a Gisborne icon if there ever was one.

Cool, calm and coy, he was a fixture at Smash Palace with publicans Kerry Donovan and Daryl Monteith, the latter also his bandmate in local group The Ashes.

“Moses and I have been playing music together since 1988, and he's an integral part of our family, so this is a great loss,” Daryl said.

“I'm so proud of all that he achieved in his life despite his disability, particularly the way that his positive attitude affected others.

“He really could light up a room or even a whole city block with his smile and his music.

“He attracted love and respect wherever he went and we will all miss him so much.”

The pair go way back, performing together in Hamilton-based band Whisperscream in the 1990s, alongside Wayne Lim and Jason Tong.

The group won Battle of the Bands competitions in Waikato, Bay of Plenty and Auckland.

They were together from 1990 to 1993, toured the North Island extensively and released the album Vampire Cafe recorded over two years at AC/DC drummer Phil Rudd's Mountain Studios in Tauranga.

Confined to a wheelchair after suffering polio at just three months old, Moses took life by the reins.

“I believe if you can convince the mind to do something, the body follows,” he said in a Gisborne Herald article in 2004. “The hardest part is getting the mind to do it.”

Moses grew up in Hamilton and spent time in Auckland and back in Hamilton before finding his way to Gisborne.

He was told about the East Coast music scene and after heading to Gisborne made Tairawhiti his home.

Based in the old Masonic Hotel before it was shut down, he was a regular feature busking downtown.

Archive searches showed he featured multiple times in Herald street polls over the years.

Smash Palace is organising a “proper tribute” for Moses once Tairawhiti is at Alert Level 1.

BIG HANDS AND HEART: Tributes have poured in over social media for Gisborne musician Moses Hiakita, who passed away this week after suffering a cardiac arrest. He was 60 years old. Smash Palace, where Moses regularly played, is to hold a tribute for Moses in Alert Level 1. Picture by John Flatt, Lightseeker Photography

  1. Hēmi says:

    A fitting tribute Jack

    Miss you brother Moses