Maua Setu Miller was born on 27 July 1958 in Apia, Samoa where he grew up with his brothers Harry and Latu. On finishing school Maua worked in Polynesian Airlines for some years. Musically, he was the anchor who “held the fort” and kept the Miller Band going after Harry and I had left home. We could all play a few different instruments (well, four actually – guitar, bass, drums, and some piano) but Maua was the one who exercised this versatility the most.
He would switch from bass to guitar to keyboards to drums depending on player availability. When The Miller Band disbanded in 1980 Maua continued entertaining in Samoa. He joined Lyle Moors, Oliva Va’ai, and Francis Keil of The Tusitala Band, the resident band at the Tusitala Hotel at the time. Thanks to support and sponsorship from hotel management the Tusitala Band headed off to New Zealand in the mid-80s on a recording gig. At Kiwi/Pacific Records in Wellington they recorded their first cassette tape album, called Flight to Paradise.
A while after, guitarist friend Tenari joined the group on guitar. They were then off for another recording date, this time in Hawaii, and again thanks to hotel management. At Rendez-vous Inc., Honolulu they recorded their second cassette tape album, entitled Le Taeao. As before, all the original compositions in Le Taeao were penned by the band members with the exception of the tribute to the late Billie “Pili’opo” Retzlaff (nee Nelson).
The title track Le Taeao, which in Samoan means “the morning” “the tomorrow” or “the future” was composed by Maua and has become well known in the Samoas and recorded by other Samoan artists. In 2000 Maua and wife Faye (nee Penn) moved to Auckland, New Zealand with their five children Annie, Pafuti, Maryann, Archie, and Escmay. The move was so that Faye could receive treatment for cancer. Faye lost her battle with cancer in Auckland a couple of years later.
Maua remarried and continued to live in Auckland with Josie Keelan and the children. He then spent a few years tutoring music at the University of Auckland in the Department of Pacific Studies, followed by a stint at Best Training’s Pacific Island Performing Arts (PIPA). Currently he teaches music at the School of Community Education at Freyberg School. It was Maua who introduced me to the world of DAWs (digital audio workstations). I have never looked back! Maua is a very versatile musician with a relaxed style of delivery, whether it be on bass, guitar, keyboards or drums. Like Dad he is also of fine voice, and still a practising multi-instrumentalist.
Click on the player buttons below to hear some abridged extracts of Maua’s performances.
Tribute to Billie Nelson, 4:04. This is a track from Le Taeao, and it’s a medley of the two Billie Nelson compositions It Is Only A Memory and South Sea Island Dream. Maua plays all the instruments except the flute (courtesy of a studio musician) and drums (courtesy of Francis Keil).
Le Taeao, 4:30. This is the title track from Le Taeao.
Island Woman, 5:25. This is a track from Le Taeao
Tausagi Mai O Manu, 1:29. This is a track from Flight To Paradise.