A little Cook Island magic in Bellambi

The music washed over the Bellambi foreshore with Monday afternoon's heat, as families dipped in and out of the ocean pool and the occasional passer-by travelled along the bike path.

It was coming from the hand of 14-year-old Leon Tiere, who sat between the two palm trees in his family's ocean-front yard and strummed a home-made ukulele.

"I think every family should have one," said Leon of the ukulele.

"It's a traditional instrument."

Leon's father, Eddie Tiere, and his older brothers, began teaching him the secrets of the ukulele when he was 10. 

There are three of the instruments in the Tiere household, where the family's Cook Island moorings are embraced, and music is a part of daily life.

The family's alfresco ukulele stylings draw smiles from passing strangers and lend a little bit of island ambience to the Bellambi foreshore.

Leon will perform in more formal terms - with the Pukapuka Dance Group, with which he is a drummer - as part of Wollongong's Australia Day festivities in Osborne Park.

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