Friday, 11 November 2011

RIP Izzy

Whangarei lost someone really special this week.  Many in Whangarei will not know this special woman, but her loss is being felt very strongly in the Whangarei music scene right now.

"Izzy" or Ihapeta Teru Epiha-Wellington was a true "Legend".
She was the "head honcho" of local band "Pumanawa".  This is not just "any" band, it's a band that takes on fresh new "kids" and musos, and nurtures them, lets them start to play in a safe environment with a very motherly support from Izzy. She had a knack of drawing out the potential within these young musos, and encouraging them, supporting them, giving them some belief in themselves, so that they can then step up confident in themselves and their talents.  Izzy never held them back either.  Once she'd got them to that point, she'd give them a nudge out of the nest!  She loved to see her "kids" go on to set up their own bands, or join other well-known bands, both locally and nationally.  When she spoke of these past and present members, it was always with a real twinkle and spark in her eye!  She just thrived on that!  
Izzy in a wig!! :)

When I first started with Kurfew, and we were gigging regularly around Whangarei, Izzy phoned and introduced herself to me.  She wanted to know who I was, where I was from, and what I was doing!! hehe.. Not at all in a bad way.  She was just interested in whatever was happening in the music scene.

She would call and talk for nothing under an hour, in fact I cannot recall a conversation that was less than an hour and a half with Izz.  (I would always look at my handset after hanging up to see what the length of the call had been!!).  Her conversations would always start "hellooooo Darlinnngg.... I hope this isn't a bad time to talk...." hahaha and regardless of if it was or was not, I would always talk!!

After the rather rapid departure of one of our drummers, our guitarist introduced us to Damien from Pumanawa, who was keen to get involved with us, as he wanted to do some "heavier" and "more up to date" stuff than what Pumanawa were currently doing.  So into the band came Damien, and this meant regular "check-ins" with Izzy....who knew all about D, and how to "handle him" hahaha.

It was around here that we really began to connect.  The calls becoming more regular, and the odd visit even!  In fact the first time I went to see her play, there was this amazing older bald headed woman, rocking away in leather pants, and a shiny head!!  She really had the crowd eating out of her hand!!  
The real "relationship" and bond with Izzy came when we were blessed with her "golden boy" Matt who came into our band.  She was so proud of Matt, and I never EVER heard her say a bad or negative word about him.  (at this stage I had worked with several of her "kids", and she had given me "heads up" about all of them in one way or the other), however with Matty, it was totally different.  
When Matt came into Kurfew, and initially was "filling in" for our guitarist, he said he'd guarantee he'd be available for ANY gigs..........................SO LONG AS IZZY DIDNT NEED HIM!!! hahaha.

So, that was the understanding... He was there for us, but he was there for Izzy first!  
And that's what we agreed to!  
When I discussed this loyalty Matt had to Izzy herself, she snickered away and laughed, and said "oh that blimmen boy" hahaha.. but secretly I think she was chuffed!! She loved and trusted Matt, and knew he was always there for her.........anytime.........anywhere!  He was "HER boy".
I feel so glad that she almost "gave her blessing" for Matt to be in our band.  She told me after watching us several times, that she loved the way Matt was in our band.  She loved that he was singing more, and she loved that we all got on so well and appeard to be having a ball!  So, when Matt agreed to come into Kurfew full-time, we were all super-stoked! 

I really REALLY got to know Izzy in this time of having Matt on board, and saw how genuine she was.  She was reliable. She was so very trustworthy, and she was such a "Nana"!!  (good thing!).  
She reminded me so much of my own very very loved and very missed Nana! She was so nurturing, and so very loving, and I guess she filled that void for me.  She was my Nana!  She would chuckle when I said that,  and said she was honoured, but to tell you the truth, I was honoured!  Honoured to have her in my life. 

 The pics above are taken in Ruakaka on a very windy day very early hours of the morning, when we were shooting the music video (shown below).... Izzy was our "support" woman.  She was there (with her own video camera ...... which she took EVERYWHERE with her).  She gave the encouragement, and kept us smiling even through a huge project, a long really tiring day!!  Just her presence was awesome!

I'm going to miss her larger than life personality.  Im going to miss her beautiful cuddles.  I am going to miss her hour plus phone calls.  I'm going to miss just knowing she's there.  I'm sad about the years that I wish I'd taken hold of and gotten to know her earlier.  I'm sad that we were due to have a "get together" next month and have an awesome time together, and now that will never be!  

I am so happy remembering her performing, having a great time entertaining.  She was flamboyant... loved taking off her hat and shocking people with her bald head!.... or shocking them with an outrageous hat or wig!! haha.

 I am happy remembering the special times that we did have.  I am so very happy that she really got to know my husband, and really loved him too!!  She was always going on to me about what a gem he was!! In fact she would ring HIM up and have hour and a half convos with him too.....and try to get him to manage this one and that one (little prospects that she had on the horizon!).

Im so very happy that the last time I saw her, she was performing her heart out in front of an awesome crowd, and she was truly glowing!! Pumanawa were playing at the Fireworks display here in Whangarei, and she was just so vibrant, so happy and just pumped!  They sounded great too!  And...all the while up on stage, she had that blimmen video camera attached to her eye!  haha.

I took the kids, and we went behind the stage, and when she saw me, she tried to lure me onto the stage for a song, I shrugged it off and pretended not to see her!  She even yelled..."here's Kurfew" over the microphone!!! hahaha she was awesome!  We had a quick catch up.........a big cuddle, and that was the last I spoke to , and got a cuddle from the wonderful Izzy..   The next time I saw her was in her lounge, in her coffin, looking very "girly" in her wedding dress (pictured below).  An orange lacey number!

Matt and I reckon she was smirking... she had a little "grin" on her face!

Tomorrow she will be buried.  In her orange lacey number...with her smirk on her face, and we will say goodbye.  She will however, still live on in our hearts, in MANY hearts that she's touched.

Thank you Lord, for Izzy.  For her life.  For her love.  We have been so blessed by her and by being loved by her, and this world is so much more blessed by having had such an awesome woman in it!

Haere e whaea, Haere, Haere Haere


  1. lovely tribute. I was wondering if this was the Izzy you were talking about on FB. I have met her along the way.
    Sorry you have lost a friend Neetz :(

  2. Beautiful words written by a beautiful woman for a beautiful woman. RIP Izzy. xxx

  3. What a lovely tribute. She sounds like a special lady. Sorry for your loss. x

  4. Such lovely words and memories of a special lady to you. We are so much richer for having these people in our lives. x


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