Billy Karaitiana (Kristian)

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    Award presented 2007   Award presented 2007

John R Campbell Collection


Billy Karaitiana aka Billy Kristian

Born Wiremu Aata Te Rangi-amoa Karaitiana in Christchurch, Billy plays bass guitar and piano, starting his career in 1958 with Max Merritt and The Meteors.  He moved on to join Ray Columbua and The Invaders, Peter Nelson and Renaissance, Night, Headband and many others.  He recorded on Zodiac, HMV, Warrior and WEA, toured with The Searchers, The Rolling Stones, Roy Orbison, Chuck Berry, The Doobie Brotherss and The Who.  Billy comes from a family of entertainers — his father, Kahu Kuranui was a tenor of repute, and his mother Violet Edith was an expert of the hula and led a troupe of dancers and singers on many shows throughout the 40s, 50s and 60s.  His career started in 1958 when a young man called Ray Columbus asked him to join his band (then known as The Saints), which he did, but this band did not last very long and Billy moved on to join Saki and the Jive Five as a preliminary to Max Merritt and the Meteors where he stayed from 1959 to 1961, in 1962 Ray Columbus and the Invaders presented an opportunity for Billy when Puni Solomon jumped off stage to confront a guy dancing with his girlfriend and got himself fired by Ray.  Billy went to Australia with The Invaders and remained loyally with Ray until around 1965 when problems arose with denial of US Visas to The Invaders which caused the demise of the band.  He then hooked up with Max Merritt again for a short time, but found the group's drinking culture distinctly unpleasant, and so moved on to join The Keil Isles.


With Max Merritt and Peter Williams

Billy (circa) 1964

Billy (circa) 1964

With Ray Columbus + Invaders

The Cmon Backing Group

NZ Music Hall of Fame Induction 2009


With Peter Nelson + Rennaisance


In 1969 Billy left for Hong Kong to join Renaissance whom he worked with for 2 years.  On his return to New Zealand 1971, he was asked by his long time friend Tommy Adderley to join Headband, a band which played many tours throughout the country.  1973, post-Headband saw the forming of Kristian, Walker, Hamlet and Hill for Jock Ruddock's Tainui Tavern featuring Billy Kristian, Michael McLean Walker, Chris Hamlet Thompson and Ian James Hill (Jimmy Hill).  Billy went to Australia in 1975 and joined Billy Thorpe's Million Dollar Bill.  In 1976 he made his way overland to London from Kathmandu where he and some friends, Chris Thompson and Michael Walker formed Filthy McNasty, a blues band which played at the Bridgehouse in east Canning Town E16.  This band featured Stevie Lange, Geoff Whitehorn, Clive Edwards and later Robbie McIntosh who went on to play with The Pretenders, Paul McCartney's Wings, Nora Jones and John Meyer.  Pacific Eardrum was the next band Billy joined 1977.  Billy performed with Nucleus at the 1st Jazz Yatra in Bombay (now known as Mumbai) India 1978.  Filthy Mc Nasty signed a deal for 2 Albums for worldwide release with Richard Perry of Planet Records.  Two songs off the 1st album went in to the Billboard Top Twenty.  Hot Summer Night at 18 and If You Remember Me at 17.  While recording the 1st album in Los Angeles, the name of the band was changed to Night, which also toured for 3 months as support for the Doobie Brothers' Summer Tour 1979.




Keil Isles


Billy returned home to New Zealand in 1983 and started the band Billboard which included Martin Winch guitar, Beaver and Barry Saunders on vocals.  Billy next managed Mascot Recording Studios built by Doug Jane for Hugh Lynn, and while there he produced 2 albums for Pacific/Reggae band, Herbs.  On leaving Mascot, Billy and his long time partner Tric Mateparae started their own studio in Kingsland, Auckland called Muscle Music.  After 12 years in Kingsland they decided to head for the far north of NZ and so far Billy has produced 12 albums since living there, three of them being Tui Award Winners.  Billy is also Ray Woolf's bassist of choice, and has recently been seen working with Georgie Fame.


Additional Billy Kristian (Karaitiana) information is available on the Audio Culture Website .....


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