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The Wairoa Invasion

A kind of Renaissance is happening in the little big-river town south of the Whareratas, but a plan to bring some of that to Gisborne was delayed due to Covid restrictions.

No punters will be harmed when five-piece band Hydra, named after the many-headed monster of Greek mythology, rocks Smash Palace this weekend, drummer Joanna Joseph assures the Guide.

On the contrary.

“It's like a whānau member who hasn't come to visit for a long time is dropping in. We're both so isolated, so for that reason it's more a whānau than a neighbourly thing.”

Hydra's upbeat sound is made up of original songs penned by lead guitarist William Hartley, says Joseph, who plays drums and percussion.

The advent of Covid-19 resulted in an influx of creatives who have returned to their hometown and others who have made Wairoa their home and are contributing to a surge in the arts there, says Joseph.

“There is a renaissance going on here. It's really exciting. Covid has changed everything. People who would not normally come here live here now. They come here and see there are creative people from around the world.”

Hydra is made up of Israeli singer and rhythm guitarist Shuki Shukrun, keyboardist Tristan Abraham who is from Wellington, as is Joseph, while Hartley, originally from Wairoa, has returned from many years overseas. Bass player Barry Mahy is the band's sole long-term Wairoa resident.

“We have a following now,” says Joseph.

“Mums, football kids, people of all ages, come to our gigs. They come to the Saloon for a dance and a good time. A whole lot of them are coming up to Gisborne to support us. They're booking accommodation and coming to the gig.

“They're gorgeous people.”

Hydra are playing at Smash Palace, Saturday, 9pm. $5 at the door.

Check this link for a taste of what is to come tinyurl.com/48tkm2yr

HYDRA ON SCENE: Wairoa's Hydra are set to take over the stage at Smash Palace this Saturday. Picture supplied