Visiting Napier Boys’ High School brought back many memories for Six60’s Eli Paewai and Marlon Gerbes, who spent their formative years at the school.
It was only fitting that the two members of the five-piece returned to their roots and imparted some of their musical wisdom to the current cohort of budding musicians.
In celebration of their documentary ‘Till the Lights Go Out’, drummer Paewai and Gerbes (synths and samples) spent an afternoon at NBHS with music students last month, where they were welcomed with a rousing haka by year nine and 10 students.
Gerbes said he was “pleasantly surprised” by the haka, as he remembers performing Tika Tonu to guests when he was a student at NBHS.
“It was surreal to receive it and I will remember that for the rest of my life.”
But getting to go back to the music room was “amazing” for Gerbes, who was brought up in Maraenui.
“I remember cutting my teeth in that room. Mr Weber was the music teacher back then and was one of the most encouraging and patient teachers I’ve ever had.
“I have since hung out with Mr Weber at Six60 shows and it was awesome for both of us to reflect on our time at NBHS,” he said.
Paewai, who was raised in Dannevirke, said: “We spent a bit of time with the music students and tried to give them some helpful advice and direction as they start their own musical journey.”
They also spent some time catching up with some of the teachers that were there when they were there as students.
Gerbes said it was “cool” to briefly see his calculus teacher Mr Gourdie who gave him the “tools” to start his degree in Engineering at Canterbury University.
“He had a knack for teaching math with real-world examples. I remember many rugby related examples Mr Gourdie used. And asking questions was always easy with Mr Gourdie.”
Year 10 student Christian Lilburn said it was “pretty cool” to be able to spend some time with the band members.
Christian, who is the guitarist and singer for his band ‘The Grapefruit Smugglers’, said they “loved” their name.
“I made them laugh when I said our band was ‘The Grapefruit Smugglers.’ But it was just great getting to talk to them.”
He particularly enjoyed listening to Gerbes speak.
Head of Music Bojan Madzunarov said it was generous for them to stay for as long as they did and speak to his students.
“They’re both very humble and nice guys and it was very cool for our students to see people who went out there and made it,” he said.
The men presented the school with their latest album with a signed cover by all the band members. This will be framed and put on display at the school.
It was the first time they had visited the school during Madzunarov’s five years.
“We have extended the invitation for them to come back and hopefully they can manage in their busy careers to come back and share some music for the boys, but it was great to have them in.”
Paewai and Gerbes both say they would “love” to visit again, and perhaps take the music class for a day.
The entire band will return to Hawke’s Bay for a concert at the Tomoana Showgrounds in Hastings on January 23.