Meet Hokianga's Queen of country music

There's a new queen of country music in Aotearoa - and she's showing kaumātua there's more to life than sitting on the paepae.

Isie Bristow is leading a group of seniors in the Hokianga who share a passion for line dancing, singing and performing the country blues.

The 83-year-old is encouraging kaumātua to embrace country music at the Hokianga Country Music Club

"Even though some may have a wheelchair, walking sticks, whatever they can still come and sing," she told The Hui.

Every month, the The Hokianga Country Music Club is the main attraction at Opononi.

Many of the club's members are ex-musos - but everyone is encouraged to jump on the mic and have a go.

Bristow says the club bucks the idea seniors should slow down in their later years.

"The expectation is that we're going to be at home, look after our marae and look after our whanau and we still do that.

"But the country music club - it helps us to just lift our shoulders up a little bit and enjoy life."

For Bristow - this whānaungatanga is helping her through her most difficult time.

Last year, her husband of 64 years John Bristow died - and the country music club wrapped their korowai around her.

"He loved music like I did and loved dancing - we went everywhere together and he enjoyed the music, enjoyed the companionship," Isie says.

The club president even sang John's favourite song You Go Your Way by Alan Jackson on the morning he passed away.

"It was absolutely beautiful so there were at least a half a dozen of them with us here in the morning."

Not only has it helped Isie to heal - it's an important reminder - you're never too old for a kanikani - or a good waiata.

"It's uplifting, it's fulfilling letting me know yeah I'm part of their whanau, they're part of my whanau - it's not just being a club but being a part of a very warm extended family."

The Hui