Most of the members of Nesian Mystik met at Western Springs College, where they formed a band initially called "Tropical Penguins" to enter a school talent competition. This group, consisting of Te Awanui "Awa" Reeder, Donald "MC Oldwun" McNulty, Junior Rikiau, and David "Dmon Finguz" Atai were joined by Heathdale "Notiq" Manukau and Feleti "Sabre" Strickson-Pua before changing their name to Nesian Mystik in reference to their various diverse Polynesian backgrounds, and the influence of those on their gentle R&B/hip-hop music. The new lineup was more successful, winning the regional section of the Pasifika Beats competition. A string of instantly successful singles was followed by their album Polysaturated in 2002, which debuted at number one and was certified platinum multiple times. Their 2006 album, Freshmen, made it to number eight.
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