Bay Batucada began back in early 2014, from very humble beginnings to a community music group with 40 regular members.

Co-founder and club president Murray Tonks first discovered batucada while he was working and studying Spanish in South America. He recounts watching a parade of statues of local patron saints in the town of Valparaíso, Chile:

"The procession included a batucada band. I had never seen or heard of a batucada band before... I was blown away. I wondered if it would ever be possible to see something like this happening in Hawke's Bay."

Left: Rinie Coppelmans. Right: Murray Tonks.

Fast forward many, many years later.

Back in New Zealand, Murray attended a local drumming workshop run by accomplished percussionist and drumming teacher, Rinie Coppelmans.

Rinie plays drums in a local band, has published several books of drumkit teaching material, and had been running djembe drumming workshops for several years.

The two men decided to make a samba band, and Bay Batucada was born.

Phil Solomon

Momentum gathered when Rinie and Murray happened to meet Phil Solomon.

Phil had been part of a batucada band in Australia, and on his return to New Zealand, he established Tauranga Samba. Phil had since relocated to the Hawke's Bay, and during his many years with the group, he brought a wealth of samba knowledge and expertise to Bay Batucada . 

The band has gone from strength to strength, learning with and from other established samba bands New Zealand, and growing its membership along the way. Some of the members have even joined with other groups to perform on stages and parades in Germany and Japan. In 2019, Rinie was invited to Tokyo to lead a samba workshop.

One highlight for the band is performing at Cubadupa in Wellington. Formerly the Cuba Street Carnival, CubaDupa is New Zealand's largest outdoor arts and music festival, bringing local and international acts to the streets and stages of New Zealand's capital city.

While samba music might immediately bring about visions of the hot summer sun, Bay Batucada has recently performed at the Taupo Winter Festival, and provided workshops there as part of the school holiday program.

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