Of New Zealand Maori descent, he has been mentored by Dame Kiri Te Kanawa and has performed with her at numerous national and international engagements. He has also performed for Their Royal Highnesses Charles, Prince of Wales and Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, Prince Henry of Wales, and has attended Buckingham Palace to meet Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth and Prince Phillip.
As Joan Kennaway was led to the podium by her husband Rick and great-grandchildren Poppy and Violet Wilde, the audience rose in a spontaneous standing ovation. The concert felt more like a party as the Opera North Chorus, Kawiti and soloists sang music from the Magic Flute, Eugene Onegin, and La Traviata. Kawiti sang romantic Neopolitan songs and the Spanish song Granada before joining the Opera North Chorus and Bronwyn Kennaway for the Act 1 Finale of The Merry Widow. An unexpected addition to the programme and special treat for everybody, was the duet of Kawiti and Joan Kennaway singing The Merry Widow Waltz, which led to another standing ovation and not many dry eyes. Lisbe Jooste with the Opera North Men's Chorus, sang a beautiful La Vergine degli Angeli from The Forice of Destiny and the first half ended with the dramatic Polovtsian Dances from Borodin's Prince Igor.
During the interval a giant 21st Birthday Cake was wheeled out, ceremoniously cut by Joan and Rick Kennaway.