Runga heeds her own advice

New Zealand musicians (from left) Anika Moa, Boh Runga and Hollie Smith.  Photo supplied.
New Zealand musicians (from left) Anika Moa, Boh Runga and Hollie Smith. Photo supplied.
Boh Runga's advice for musicians wanting to make a living off their talent in New Zealand is to ''gig as much as they can'' - and with 17 upcoming shows as part of the Classic Hits Winery Tour she is certainly putting her own advice into practice.

Runga is joined by Anika Moa and Hollie Smith for a collaboration simply titled AnikaBoh&Hollie.

Other acts on the tour are Fat Freddy's Drop, the Adults - another collaboration of New Zealand musicians - and special guest Clara van Wel, winner of New Zealand's Got Talent.

When spoken to yesterday by the Queenstown Times, Runga, who first achieved success in the '90s with rock band Stellar, had performed two shows of the tour and said the crowd response had been positive. AnikaBoh&Hollie released their debut album Peace of Mind last Friday.

The three friends came up with the idea to collaborate over a few glasses of wine early last year, Runga said.

In October the trio took their songs around the country on the Church Tour, which resulted in rave reviews and standing ovations.

When asked how musicians in New Zealand made a living, Runga said ''people should just gig as much as they can - in this day and age you just have to play as much as you can''.

''Music is a tough career.''

How musicians went about sustaining their career also depended on what kind of lifestyle they wanted.

''I'm really fortunate because I've been able to make a living.''

Speaking of Moa and Smith, she said it had been a ''great experience'' working with two likeminded people.

''We're really different, but we're similar in what we want to put across.''

The AnikaBoh& Hollie collaboration was a ''for now'' and she would ''see what happens'', Runga said, as all three had busy schedules and their own plans for the coming year - which would likely include ''taking a little break'' after the tour.

For now, there are 14 shows left, the tour coming to Waitiri Creek in Gibbston on Tuesday, February 19.

''I love Queenstown - it's a great place,'' Runga said.

Runga also doubles as a jewellery designer and, as the last concert in the tour is on March 3, she needed to design part of her new range while on the road, Runga said.

If singing and jewellery had not become her career, she would like to have been a biologist, Runga said.

Although her sister, Bic Runga, has also achieved success as a New Zealand musician, Boh said that there was not an ounce of rivalry.

''We're pretty used to each other'', she said, and ''too busy'' to be rivals.

The seventh annual Classic Hits Winery Tour will play at Waitiri Creek on February 19, tickets priced at $75 or $85 at the gate.

One child under the age of 12 is given free admittance with each adult ticket holder.

Full information is available at

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