The birth of Ardijah began in 1978 with the meeting of two Maori fellas, Ryan Monga and Jay Dee in a Dawson Rd garage in Otara. This was their first jam, with Ryan on funk/bass and Jay dee on funk/rock guitar, they knew by their 2nd meeting that the gelling of their musical talents was a winner. looking to expand their band, they placed a $15 ad in the NZ Herald. The placement of James Tuiara on percussion/vocals and Richie Campbell on drums meant Ardijah the covers band was born, generating the exact groove that Ryan & Jaydee were looking for. Their first full rehearsal felt like they had been jamming together for years. The seed was sown for a funky future.
After a year of playing at local social gatherings Ardijah entered the Billy Joe’s Nightclub talent quest in 1980. This was an event (unbeknown to all) which would lead the boys directly to the band’s female vocalist. A budding young 15 year old with a unique sweet voice and fine tuned vocal ability, Betty-Anne was indirectly auditioning for the band. No-one was to foresee the future, that this girl was going to end up the main focal point of the band, gaining huge respect as one of New Zealand’s top vocal divas.
As the resident funk/R&B band at various clubs, their popularity grew as they honed their skills to become one of Auckland’s tightest covers bands. They looked at this as their 6 year apprenticeship, playing ‘other people’s music’ but then decided, in order to take it to the next level meant that the direction would need to change. Their own original music was starting to emerge and in 1987 their first single and video for “Give Me Your Number” was released. The band and this song featured on the NZ movie ‘Queen City Rockers’ which was Ardijah’s first introduction to the ‘music industry’