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High quality, superbly run

Opinion Piece

I wish to give a humungous mihi to all the organisers of the inaugural Tairawhiti Arts Festival. The events were superbly run and presented an incredibly high quality of both local and national talent. They made me proud to live here with so much creativity around us.

From the opening ceremony, I knew we were in for something special. Then “Under an East Coast Moon” was a stunning showcase of Maori and Pasifika talent along with the iconic Dave Dobbyn and a fantastic backing band. Other shows I saw were “Henare” (wonderful to hear te reo flowing so freely on a public stage and the spontaneous audience karanga, whaikorero and waiata response at the end) and “Cellfish” ( I’ll never forget the dance in the second half and the kaleidoscope of characters presented by the two kaiwhakaari.) Friday night’s “Respect” concert was another feast of talent by four powerful Goddessses of Soul.

Can’t wait till next year! Nga Mihi nui ano ki a koutou — to all those who worked so hard to put everything together, it has really put Gizzy on the map and more importantly, especially following on from the Tuia 250 commemoration, opened up opportunities for cross cultural experiences and some real communication. This has to be good for our community!

Lesley Hawkins