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Monday, March 13, 2023

WOMAD kicks off this weekend

Kicking off this Friday, WOMAD NZ 2023 celebrates its 20th anniversary at the award-winning Bowl of Brooklands and Brooklands Park in New Plymouth, March 17-19. Final tickets are on sale now from

We would LOVE any mentions/features/highlights/coverage/love you could give the festival in the final lead-up.

Media assets are here - - and of course, we are here to help with any questions or facilitate any last-minute requests.


The World of Music, Arts and Dance festival boasts eight stages, each featuring an eclectic and cross-cultural line-up with talented musicians, artists, and inspiring speakers for three days and nights of extraordinary music and culture like nothing else in Aotearoa.

From; Afghanistan to Zambia, psychedelic rock to incredible vocalists, classical to hip hop, Grammy award-winning to up-and-coming, traditional to contemporary, The 2023 festival features incredible artists such as; Avantdale Bowling Club, Deva Mahal, Mdou Moctar, MEUTE, Sampa The Great, Youssou N'Dour and his backing band Super Étoile de Dakar many more musical acts.

And from memoirs to mathematics, outside of the live music programme, the WOMAD festival also showcases people at the top of their fields pushing boundaries and challenging the status quo. Inspirational speakers such as beloved painter Dick Frizzell and metrologist Lisa Murray will speak at World of Words and OMV STEAM Lab. Te Paepae proudly hosts Māori Culture workshops and activities, and music, food, and conversation are at the heart of Taranaki Offshore Partnership Taste the World.

Saturday, March 04, 2023

Review - The Culture (Powersuit Productions) Gryphon Theatre 28 feb - 4 March (Part of the Wellington Fringe Festival)

The 'Culture' tackles the very real and difficult modern landscape of relationships that have been tainted by the ever-present micro and macro aggressions that ooze from every pore of a tolerated, and often celebrated, toxic male culture.  
One that is present in nearly every nook of Western Society.  And they are over it.  They are over dating traps and pitfalls and clichés.  They're over swiping right!  They co-host a podcast called ‘Don’t Even Get Me Started’, the perfect platform to bitch about life, the universe and the poisoned hell that is hooking up in the modern world.   

Katie aspires to be Prime Minister one day, her role models being Julia Gillard and Jacinda Adern.  She quotes them ad nauseum, along with other female leaders.  The show even starts with sound bites and short clips of men in Office and on TV behaving badly.  Julia gives them 'what oh!' for being dicks in the house!  Too right!  

The couple have a number of 'routines' and in-jokes, developed over many years of BFF co-dependency.  Familiarity like brother and sister, lovers, mates.     At home, they are brave, fearless.  Safe, happy, cocooned bliss.  No one can hurt them. Everything they need. Almost.  But in the real-world things are more complicated.   Their sheltered sub-culture is tested when Katie falls for her co-worker, Kale.  Stupid name.  Stupid bloke.  but none the less.  A muscle-bound fitness freak.  A name like a salad vege.   

Will also pursues a romantic relationship, Kale's friend, who is still in the closet.  That sets up the dynamics.  The friendship is tested, in many ways - jealousy, abandonment, and later, when things go sour for Katie, a return to emotional support and a re-union.  Yes a spoiler.  But what did you expect? 

They’re safe, happy.  No one can hurt them. They have everything they need. Almost. Set in the Sydney club and dating world 'The Culture' is a look at a deep and enduring friendship, and the follies and, yes, sometimes dangers of looking for love in today's digital world.  

We are welcomed into their living room to watch this all unfold and, as a consequence are dragged into a more important, wider conversation. Although it's set in Australia, the cast, playwrite and actor Laura Jackson (Katie Monroe) and Mina Asfour (Will Archer) first performed the show in New York.  They told me after tonight's performance that following the Wellington run they were taking it to Adelaide and Sydney.  The Kiwi/Aussie crossover and references, were definitely stronger for the Capital's audience.  

Nods to Cherry Ripe (candy bars) and Jacinda's recent step down as PM, were topical and, fun but loaded with meaning, too.  References that we'd get more than an American audience, perhaps.   

Production Director Bethany Cuputo, who is an acting coach and director in NYC has extensive experience, working with Alec Baldwin, Laurie Metcalf, TV shows like 'FBI', 'Law and Order' and Marvel's Jessica Jone's' and her influence on the production shines through in the quick witted banter, delivered with perfect timing and energy.   The set is simple, created for touring and quick pack outs.  The furniture probably came from K-Mart or Ikea, all flat packs.  A couch, coffee table and two free standing wardrobes.  

The players will use these to change outfits, at pace, lounge on, roll about, sit and scroll.  Costumes are mainly street clothes.  Katie prefers geeky outfits that show off her lanky, awkward frame.  Exceptions are a hugely loud pink two suit and a contrasting black demure dress (which Will refers to, insultingly as 'Armish').  The dress is a metaphor for the containment of Katie's personality, which comes when her new boyfriend starts to control everything in her life, from her movements to her phone and dress.  Will is always in understated t-shirt and jeans.  His personality is loud, but his conservative dress reveals his, shy, insecurities.  He needs Katie to really shine out and this is clear through out the show.   

 Jackson's acting feels very natural.  Having briefly met her afterwards, she seems on stage pretty close to her character on stage.  Her experiences writing the show, she told me, came, in part from experiences from friends.  She didn't specifically say there was an incident that inspired the domestic violence that crops up towards the end, but a collective experience by just being a woman is clearly the pivot point for everyhing that feeds into this narrative. Will will sum it up, at a point where he states the hypocrisy of media reportage of victims of domestic violence as the women and children harmed but never mentioning the man who caused it.  That and the chilling fact that one out three women will come into contact with some kind of abuse in their lifetime.  "Not her.  Not Her. Her!" Katie singles out audience members like a police line-up in reverse.   Jackson plays Katie with an explosive energy that matches Asfour's, particularly in the early stages of the show.  

Asfour plays Will as camp and loud.  Both characters are clearly holding their optimism masks up high, to protect themselves.  Will hides his hesitancy, learned from trying to connect with men at school who aren't ready to come out, with bitter consequences.  Jackson carries the shame of teenage body same T- perfect on the outside but always vulnerable to the reminders of earlier days when she 'carried a little fat."   They both reveal these very real experiences. 

Why can't we go through our teen age years without being outed, judged, body-shamed?  That's the micro-aggressions that haunt us and force us to judge ourselves and others constantly.  And everything feeds into that - from advertising to politicians to newsreaders.  That's the culture we navigate everyday.   

 Credits should also go to sound designer Charlotte Leamon and graphic designer Brandon Wong who were instrumental in putting together the media sound bites and film footage that provides the context for the show and wider conversations as well.  There is the additional use of text messages, portrayed on the screen, which pop up, in certain places.  

My only bug bear was that these were a little small and hard to read from the back row.  But overall, that had no effect on the plot or my enjoyment of the show.  I should have taken my glasses.   

The show is immensely funny at times, witty and very clever.  It makes you think, it angers you, challenges you.  It pushes you, not too hard, in the right direction.  It will make you cry, at the end at least. This is an important work.  It traverses a huge range.  I wonder if it would be suitable for schools.  Many senior students would recognise themselves in these characters and their future selves as well. 

When Powersuit Productions return for the next Fringe Festival, and I hope they do, I'll definitely be going.  I can't wait to see what they do next! 

A final point.  Powersuit Productions, in conjunction with the Robson Jackson Foundation, supports the work of Wellington Womans Refuge and Te Whare Rokiroki (The Maori Women's Refuge), matching donations from patrons of this season of 'The Culture' dollar for dollar up to $2000 per show.   

Groove encourages readers to generously support the important work of those at the forefront of domestic violence.           

 SHOW CREDITS: The Culture Cast: Laura Jackson & Mina Asfour Director: Bethany Caputo Creative Producer: Carly Fisher Dramaturg: Catherine Fargher Lighting Designer: Capri Harris Sound Designer: Charlotte Leamon Stage Manager: Natalie Low Graphic Designer: Brandon Wong 

Thursday, February 16, 2023


The Fringe Launch - Dec 2022 (Photos Tim Gruar)

It's finally happening! The New Zealand Fringe Festival has returned to the capital with more than 160 arts events due to be held over more than 40 venues.

It will run from tomorrow night, February 17 until March 11, hosting several award-winning international acts.  International shows that will be performed include The Pandemusical Diaries (San Francisco), Concept for a Film + Invisible Mending (United Kingdom), I Am King/Queen (Sydney), and Pillow Fight (Melbourne).

Local shows will include ARAWHATA by Wellington Ballroom and Suitcase Show by Trick of the Light.

The 23-day season is “set to wow and inspire Pōneke, offering an incredible lineup of local talents as well as welcoming back an array of exciting international artists, all spanning a myriad of genres and styles”, said Vanessa Stacey, director of the Fringe Festival.

New Zealand Fringe Festival welcomes first-timers, one-off attendees, and seasoned Fringe fanatics!

NZ Fringe Festival is an open-access festival, which means that artists and performers are free to register their events without any barriers. Each year's programme depends entirely on who decides to register and we're lucky to always have a stunning array of talented people join us each year. It's a real lucky dip of bold, daring and diverse works!

OK, so where is it?

The Festival isn’t held in one singular location, rather a myriad of venues all across Wellington to the outskirts of town partake in facilitating the Fringe. For example, we have shows happening from seasoned arts venues such as Te Auaha, Hannah Playhouse, The Gryphon, to out-of-the-box spaces like the Wellington Zoo, Botanic Gardens and even a board games cafe... anything is possible! Refer to our venue map here to see where NZ Fringe is happening in 2023.

Get Fringeeeeee! 

Step out of your comfort zone. Go to shows you wouldn’t normally go to. You never know, you just might discover something new about yourself. The most important part of Fringe is getting out there and having fun.

Take me to the Tix! 

Nau mai haere mai to the Fringe Box Office! Located at 17 Allen Street, Te Aro, Wellington. You can pick up your physical tickets here at the following times:

10am to 6pm, Tuesday - Saturday.

11am to 4pm, Sunday - Monday.

From 15 February 2023 onwards.

Get online and get to the shows! 

Friday, February 10, 2023

We say goodbye to Burt Bacharach -

Burt Bacharach, the songwriter and performer extraordinaire was a writer beyond simple composition.  He turned easy listening into high art.  All in all he scored 73 Top 40 hits in the US and 52 in the UK.

Musicians, Singers, artists, admirers and friends all paid tribute to the late performer who died in London at 94. 

“Burt’s transition is like losing a family member. My heartfelt condolences go out to his family letting them know he is now peacefully resting and I too will miss him.”  Dionne Warwick said in a statement. 

Brian Wilson wrote on Twitter: “I’m so sad to hear about Burt Bacharach. Burt was a hero of mine and very influential on my work. He was a giant in the music business. His songs will live forever.”

In his tribute, the Kinks’ Dave Davies called Bacharach as “a great inspiration” and “one of the most influential songwriters of our time.” 

Gilbert O’Sullivan tweeted about him.  "He was a “huge influence” on his songwriting career and created “timeless melodies never to be forgotten.”

Bacharach was born in Kansas City, Missouri, in 1928 and raised in New York.  He'd sneak into jazz clubs underage to hear performers like Count Basie and Dizzy Gillespie, immersing himself in the work of composers like Stravinsky and Ravel. 

He was classically trained at schools in Montreal, New York and California.  after a stint in in the US army he became a piano accompanist to musicians, such as Vic Damone, the Ames Brothers and his first wife, Paula Stewart. He was also arranger and conductor for Marlene Dietrich when she toured Europe in the late 50s and early 60s.

Hi songwriting breakthrough came in 1957, after meeting and working casually with lyricist Hal David at the famous New York pop powerhouse, the Brill Building. They scored back to back UK No 1s with two of their earliest songs, The Story of My Life by Marty Robbins (Michael Holliday in the UK hit version) and Magic Moments by Perry Como.

Topped by David’s variously whimsical, wounded and earnestly romantic lyrics, Bacharach created expert arrangements featuring close vocal harmonising, string sections, jazz piano and distinctive details, such as twinkling percussion and whistled melodies. 

With David he created a string of all-time classics: I Say a Little Prayer, sung by Aretha Franklin, What’s New Pussycat? by Tom Jones, The Look of Love by Dusty Springfield, Make It Easy on Yourself by the Walker Brothers, and many others.

Raindrops Keep Fallin’ on My Head, performed by BJ Thomas and featured in the film Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, went on to win a Grammy and an Oscar in 1969, while Bacharach’s music for the film won the Oscar for best original score.

Dionne Warwick became one of Bacharach’s most enduring and fruitful collaborators. Their hits together include Walk on By, Do You Know the Way to San Jose?, Anyone Who Had a Heart, A House is Not a Home (later a hit for Luther Vandross) and her own original version of I Say a Little Prayer. Warwick later successfully sued Bacharach after he and David stopped working together, stranding her without material. It was a “very costly and unfortunate” dispute, Bacharach told the Guardian in 2019: “I stupidly handled it wrong.” He and Warwick reconciled for the 1985 Aids charity single That’s What Friends Are For.

After he and Stewart got divorced in 1958, he married three more times, first to Angie Dickinson in 1965, then to Carole Bayer Sager in 1982, and last to Jane Hansen in 1993. 

Bacharach and Hansen, who remained married until his death, had two children, Oliver and Raleigh. Nikki Bacharach, his daughter with Dickinson, killed herself in 2007, aged 40, after a history of mental health issues.

His hit rate tailed off after the mid-80s, but he continued to pursue eye-catching collaborations, with, among others, Ronald Isley, Dr Dre and Sheryl Crow. He made a pair of albums with Elvis Costello, plus a version of I’ll Never Fall in Love Again with him for the 1997 movie, Austin Powers.

Friday, February 03, 2023

The Womad 2023 Stage Schedule if finally here!

The stage schedule for WOMAD New Zealand 2023 has just been announced.  Get your friends together and start planning who'll you'll see and what you'll be doing over the full three days of the festival.  Don't forget to leave room for lunch and comfort stops! 

For all the info go to

WOMAD NZ 2023, March 17-19  Celebrating 20 years, 17 Festivals And Over 1500 Performers / Be Part Of Global History. 

WOMAD 2023 tickets on sale now from

Friday, December 02, 2022

How very dare they - Womad sign's missing 'M' given a 'deliberately shoddy' replacement


Following the theft of the letter 'M' from New Plymouth’s Womad sign, the Taranaki Arts Trust (TAFT) have erected a deliberately 'shoddy' replacement.

The M, which was stolen taken earlier this month, was one of five colourful letters making up the name Womad, the World of Music, Arts and Dance Festival, which returns to the city’s Brooklands Park from March 17-19 next year.

TAFT), the organisers of Womad, removed the remaining four letters after the theft, but then replaced them with a new 'M' created from pieces of 4x2 donated by a local builder.

“It’s a way of drawing attention to the fact that the M is still missing while also still being able to have the letters up,” TAFT chief executive Suzanne Porter told

“It would be a real shame to not have the letters up around Taranaki in the lead up to Womad - it’s one of the local signs that summer is coming, and Womad is on the horizon.”

She said TAFT did not want to keep the letters in storage but also did not want to waste time and effort running around trying to find them. They would much rather have the missing M back.

Ms Porter appealed to anyone who knew the whereabouts of the missing letter to contact police or get in touch with TAFT, either at their Brougham Street office, or by calling 06 759 8412.

Friday, November 11, 2022


L.A.B - Topic Photography (via Facebook)

Repeating their 2021 haul L.A.B has secured their spot in award history, taking out the same four Tūī for the second year running.

Their success story continues with the group taking home Recorded Music NZ Te Pukaemi o te Tau | Album of The Year for their fifth album L.A.B. V, Te Waiata Tōtahi o te Tau | Single of the Year for ‘Mr Reggae’, Te Roopu Toa | Best Group and Te Kaipuoro Taketake Toa | Best Roots Artist.

Tami Neilson - Topic Photography (via Facebook) 

Country singer-songwriter Tami Neilson has won three Tūī: her 6th Te Kaipuoro Tuawhenua Toa | Best Country Artist, as well as Te Kaipuoro Takitahi Toa | Best Solo Artist, and Massey University Te Kaiwhakaputa Toa | Best Producer for her album Kingmaker. Tami’s Best Producer nod makes her the first solo female to win the award since Bic Runga in 2006.

Fresh from their APRA Silver Scroll win, Rob Ruha has been recognised as 2022’s Te Kaipuoro Awe Toa | Best Soul/RnB Artist for his album Preservation of Scenery and under his mentorship, Te Tairāwhiti tira waiata Ka Hao received Te Māngai Pāho Te Kaipuoro Māori Toa | Best Māori Artist and the Te Māngai Pāho Mana Reo Tūī for Ka Hao: One Tira, One Voice and ’35’ (ft. Rob Ruha) respectively.

Rob Ruha and Te Tairāwhiti tira waiata Ka Hao - Topic Photography (Via Facebook)

Tauranga-based artist and first-time nominee Georgia Lines has scooped the Tūī for Te Kaituhura Puoro Toa o te Tau | Breakthrough Artist of the Year for her sophomore EP Human, while pop juggernaut BENEE takes home the 2022 Te Kaipuoro Arotini Toa | Best Pop Artist for the fourth year running.

The other winners this year include Waipu-based metal band Alien Weaponry for Te Kaipuoro Rakapioi Toa | Best Rock Artist, Vera Ellen for Te Kaipuoro Manohi Toa | Best Alternative Artist for the critically acclaimed It’s Your Birthday, first time nominee LEAPING TIGER for Te Kaipuoro Tāhiko Toa | Best Electronic Artist, and Robert Ashworth & Sarah Watkins for Te Kaipuoro Inamata Toa | Best Classical Artist for their album Moonstone – a collection of works by New Zealand composers.

Two-time 2022 Pacific Music Award winners Diggy Dupé, choicevaughan and P. Smith also took home the Tūī for Te Kaipuoro Hipihope Toa | Best Hip Hop Artist for The Panthers OST.

Vera Ellen - Topic Photography (Via Facebook)

Another year, another awards season for Six60 who continue to show us why they’re history makers, taking out Te Toa Hoko Teitei | Highest Selling Artist for the fourth year running, and Te Rikoata Marakerake o te Tau | Radio Airplay Record of the Year for the sixth time for their single ‘Someone To Be Around’.

There will be one surprise award announced tonight – the Tūī for Te Kōwhiri o te Nuinga | People’s Choice will be tallied up and presented to the recipient this evening and on social media.

Announcing the Artisan Awards winners

Alongside the main awards finalists, the behind-the-scenes heroes of the hapori puoro were also announced and celebrated today.

While Tami Neilson received Best Producer, the Tūī for Te Kaipukaha Toa | Best Engineer went to Simon Gooding for his contributions to Tami’s album Kingmaker.

L.A based Chelsea Jade Metcalf was awarded Te Toi Ataata Pukaemi Toa | Best Album Artwork for her album Soft Spot while Joel Kefali and Ella Yelich-O’Connor (Lorde) were recognised with the NZ On Air Te Kiko Puoro Ataata Toa | Best Music Video Content for Lorde’s music video ‘Secrets from a Girl (Who’s Seen It All)’, the video which features three different versions of Lorde — literally and figuratively.

Recorded Music New Zealand Kaiwhakahaere o Ngā Tohu Puoro o Aotearoa Sarah Owen says this year’s awards are a testament to the passion and commitment displayed by the local music scene.

“Being able to see such deserving artists receive recognition for their art is an honour – such a broad range of recorded work with originality and artistry, showing the depth and breadth of talent in Aotearoa,” says Owen.

“With many of our 2022 award winners being first-time nominees, we hope it also encourages our aspiring and emerging ringapuoro across the motu to press ahead with their own musical journeys.”

With thanks to NZ On Air and Te Māngai Pāho for their continued support.

Monday, October 31, 2022

Bird of the Year Winner is - Pīwauwau Rock wren

Can you name a bird that loves our mountains so much that it never retires below the bush-line? Look no further than New Zealand’s true alpine bird species! Weighing less than an AA battery and laying eggs the size of 10c coins, these tiny rock bobbers defy all laws of survival and demonstrate true mountain bravery.

The pīwauwau/ rock wren is the winner of the Bird of the Year contest for 2022.

The winner of the country's most popular competition was announced on Morning Report today.

By yesterday three frontrunners had emerged, the pīwauwau / rock wren, the kea, and kororā / the little blue penguin.

The diminutive alpine dweller narrowly defeated the little blue penguin to take the top spot, with nearly 3000 voters putting it in the top spot.

Pīwauwau campaign leader Stephen Day said the bird had definitely flown under the radar up until now.

"Unless you'd spent some time in the mountains, you'd probably never heard
of a rock wren until two weeks ago. It's a true underbird."

The two-time champion kākāpō was barred from the ballot, as the organisers, Forest and Bird, decided to focus on the underbirds.

Last year's competition proved controversial, with a win by the long-tailed bat.

Kororā PremiereKororā / the little blue penguin is the runnerup this year

For more information - go to

Thursday, October 20, 2022

WOMAD NZ 2023 - Artists announced!

WOMAD NZ announces 22 more incredible and diverse international & local talent for the 20th anniversary of the festival. 
Including Sampa The Great, Deva Mahal, Fly My Pretties, Mdou Moctar, Youssou N’Dour & Le Super Étoile de Dakar, and many more. 

WOMAD NZ 2023, March 17-19 Celebrating 20 years, 17 Festivals And Over 1500 Performers 

From; Afghanistan to Zambia, psychedelic rock to incredible vocalists, classical to hip hop, Grammy award-winning to up-and-coming, traditional to contemporary, memoirs to mathematics. 

Today, WOMAD NZ 2023 has announced 20 new music and dance acts and two World Of Words and OMV STEAM Lab speakers as part of the 2023 festival this March. The festival will celebrate its 20th anniversary at the award-winning Bowl of Brooklands and Brooklands Park in New Plymouth. 

Set to celebrate, inspire and entertain, the 22 new artists performing WOMAD 2023 in alphabetical order are: Acapollinations (Aotearoa) * Bab L’ Bluz (Morocco/France) * Béla Fleck & Abigail Washburn (USA) * Cimafunk (Cuba) * Constantinople (Canada) * Deva Mahal (Aotearoa) * Fly My Pretties (Aotearoa) * Professor Hinke Osinga (Aotearoa) * Justin Adams & Mauro Durante (UK/Italy) * Kefaya and Elaha Soroor (Afghanistan/UK) * Kita (Aotearoa) * Lil O'Brien (Aotearoa) * MazbouQ (Aotearoa) * Mdou Moctar (Niger) * Mudra Dance Company (Aotearoa) * Pandit Ronu Majumdar & Dr Jayanthi Kumaresh (India) * Rizwan Muazzam Qawwals (Pakistan) * Rubi Du ( Aotearoa) * Sampa The Great (Zambia) * The Garifuna Collective (Belize) * The Langan Band (Scotland) * Youssou N’Dour & Le Super Étoile de Dakar (Senegal) 

These 22 new musicians, dancers and speakers join the already announced brilliant multi-award-winning Korean folk-pop group ADG7, Aotearoa's genre-pushing jazz, hip hop project Avantdale Bowling Club, and modern Occitan troubadours San Salvador from France. Plus, World Of Words speaker Dick Frizzell and OMV STEAM Lab meteorologist Lisa Murray, both from Aotearoa. 

More artists and festival announcements are expected in the coming months. The World of Music, Arts and Dance festival boasts eight stages, each featuring an eclectic and cross-cultural line-up with talented musicians, artists, and inspiring speakers for three days and nights of extraordinary music and culture like nothing else in Aotearoa. Situated in a natural amphitheatre over a lake, the iconic Bowl stage is a venue with the wow factor. While the Dell Stage is an intimate affair surrounded by gentle native bush. 

Both The Gables and the Brooklands stages are known for their high energy and late-night sets. The Kunming Garden hosts the World Of Word stage, which celebrates diverse and exciting voices designed to inspire people to think, talk, laugh, listen and learn and the OMV STEAM Lab is a place of wonder where Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics unite, with inventors, innovators and people at the top of their fields pushing boundaries and challenging the status quo. 

Unique to Aotearoa, Te Paepae proudly hosts Māori Culture workshops and activities, and music, food, and conversation are at the heart of Taste the World. Loved by all ages, WOMAD NZ 2023 is a worldly fix without leaving the country—the ultimate culmination of sounds, scenery and good vibes. 

Chief Operating Officer for WOMAD UK, Mike Large, states, "WOMAD, first and foremost, is a great festival to enjoy and discover music, arts and dance. But it was born with a purpose and created in response to difficult times. There was apartheid aboard, race riots and terrorism at home in the UK. Our founder Peter Gabrel believed that by bringing great artists together in a family-friendly environment, the audience would forget their fears and prejudices and open their hearts to the music instead... WOMAD and what it stands for feels more important now than ever." 

Tickets to the three-day camping festival are on sale now from .

This year, WOMAD has teamed up with PayPlan making it easy for festival-goers to book tickets now, pay in regular, easy payments, and be dancing under the mighty Taranaki Mounga in March 2023. 

Camping and glamping options are available.

Wednesday, October 19, 2022

2022 Silver Scroll Awards announced

Photo - Supplied

This year's top Kiwi songs for were announced last night at a special ceremony at Spark Arena. About 500 people attended, with many more watching it online. This was the first full-scale event to take place in over 3 years, due to Covid-19 disruptions.

Each year a different musical director takes care of the performances - this year being Rob Ruha and Cilla Ruha.

The APRA Silver Scroll Awards, which celebrates Aotearoa's songwriters and composers, is an annual event.  Members of APRA AMCOS, which takes care of musical royalties, were able to vote in the awards. 

This year's winner was the song '35' by Rob Ruha and an East Coast youth choir.  he song is named after a State Highway that loops around Te Tairāwhiti, the East Coast.

Members of APRA AMCOS, which takes care of musical royalties, were able to vote in the awards.

The released version was performed by Tairāwhiti youth choir Ka Hao with Rob Ruha, and was written by Rob Ruha, Kaea Hills, Te Amorutu Broughton, Ainsley Tai, Dan Martin, Whenua Patuwai.

"The feel-good local anthem gained international recognition late last year after going viral on TikTok, proudly putting Māoritanga and the East Coast on the map," the APRA statement said.

"The coming together of Rob Ruha and Ka Hao is seamless, as a project to promote and revitalise te reo Māori, the group's name refers to the proverb ka pū te ruha, ka hao te rangatahi (as the old fishing net is worn, a new one is made), referring to youth growing up and entering adulthood."

The song was performed at last night's performance by Stan Walker and Hamo Dell.

Maioha Award for a te reo Māori waiata

Aja Ropata, Byllie-Jean Zeta and Chris Wethey took out the Maioha Award for an exceptional waiata in te reo, for their song 'Te Iho'.

"'Te Iho' praises the essence of powerful wāhine Māori, using poetic language to express the importance of women. [It] is a potent waiata about whakapapa and the DNA passed down from atua wāhine," APRA said.

SOUNZ Award winner inspired in Paris

Reuben Jelleyman won the SOUNZ Contemporary Award for his orchestral work called 'Catalogue'.  He has been nominated for the award twice previously.

The composition is described as: "a chaotic collision of Jelleyman's musical exploration", created whilst Jelleyman was studying at the Conservatoire national Supérieur de Musique et de Danse in Paris (and  written for the performance ensemble Multilatérale).

Compositions for film and television

The award for original music used in a film was scooped up by Dana Lund and Horomona Horo for their score for Whina, a story about the legacy left by Dame Whina Cooper.

And the award for music used in a TV series was won by Jonathan Crayford, Joel Tashkoff, Troy Kingi and Stephen Atutolu for the soundtrack to TV Mini series 'The Panthers', about the history of the Polynesian Panthers and the Dawn Raids.

Here is the full list of finalists:

2022 APRA Silver Scroll award finalists

WINNER: '35' written by Rob Ruha, Kaea Hills, Te Amorutu Broughton, Ainsley Tai, Dan Martin, Whenua Patuwai, performed by Ka Hao and Rob Ruha

'Beyond the Stars' written by Tami Neilson and Delaney Davidson performed by Tami Neilson and Willie Nelson (Native Tongue Music Publishing)

'Girl At Night' written by Natalie Hutton, Minnie Robberds, Joel Becker, Angus Murray, performed by There's A Tuesday (Native Tongue Music Publishing)

'He Ōrite' written by Troy Kingi*, Iraia Whakamoe, Ryan Prebble, James Coyle, performed by Troy Kingi and The Nudge (*LOOP Publishing Limited/Kobalt Music Publishing)

'My Boy' written and performed by Marlon Williams (Native Tongue Music Publishing)

APRA Maioha Award finalists, celebrating exceptional waiata featuring te reo Māori

WINNER: 'Te Iho' written by Aja Ropata, Byllie-Jean Zeta, Chris Wethey, performed by AJA & Byllie-Jean

'E Hine Ē' written by Em-Haley Walker, performed by TE KAAHU

'Rangatira/Owner' written and performed by Ria Hall translated by Teraania Ormsby (published by LOOP Publishing Limited/Kobalt Music Publishing)

SOUNZ Contemporary Award finalists, celebrating excellence in contemporary composition

WINNER: 'Catalogue' by Reuben Jelleyman

'more full of flames' and voices by Neville Hall

'Manaaki' by Phil Brownlee, Liane Taikao (Ariana Tikao)

APRA Best Original Music in a Feature Film Award finalists

WINNER: Dana Lund and Horomona Horo for Whina

Karl Steven for The Justice of Bunny King

Conrad Wedde, Samuel Scott, Luke Buda (Moniker) for Night Raiders

APRA Best Original Music in a Series Award finalists

WINNER: Jonathan Crayford, Joel Tashkoff, Troy Kingi, Stephen Atutolu for The Panthers

Conrad Wedde, Samuel Scott, Luke Buda (Moniker) for Wellington Paranormal

Claire Cowan for One Lane Bridge

2022 NZ Music Hall of Fame Inductees: Te Kumeroa "Ngoingoi" Pēwhairangi QSM, Tuini Moetū Haangū Ngāwai

For the full story, go to the APRA Website

Sunday, September 18, 2022

Tahi Festival: The Shit Kid - Sarah Harpur (Bats Theatre 16 & 17 September)

There’s a ‘shit kid’ in every family. In Sharni’s case it’s her. Her twin, Nige got to be a champion rower. He wins big at the Olympics and gets recognized everywhere he goes.
She ain't.

Sharni, once married, once divorced, parent of one (oh yeah, two) kids, is not interested in sibling rivalry. Well, ok just a little. She’s on a mission to get back her horse from the rich horse breeder neighbors next door. She trades in black market pony poo and teaches posh kids to ride. She has a plan to get her nag back. 

The only thing standing in her way is her baby, a lack of intergenerational wealth, her temper, and an actual plan. 

After a five-year hiatus from the comedy scene, award-winning writer and funny woman Sarah Harpur (101 Dates (2010), 7 Days (2009) and Everybody Else Is Taken (2017), returns with her hilarious one-person play. She’s built it all on sibling rivalry, Olympic ambition, some very dodgy Mark Todd fever-dreams and a very sexy horse. 

Some people dream of success, winning, taking it all. Sharni is all about being the best at being mediocre. 

To pull it off Harpur has summoned all the ghosts and energies of Lynn of Tawa, the Topp Twins and Sharon from the takeaways down the High Street to bring you the most Sheila-ish character she can muster. 

The laughs come thick and fast. Her anecdotes and punch lines a re course and crass at times. Farm humour, perhaps. Subtly and wit is not called for here. 

The story goes from the sublime to the ridiculous as she reveals clanker after clanker. Such as everyone calling her a bad mum for taking her daughter, Mitzy Evo, to the pub at 1.00AM. Or Mistaking horse semen for ice-cream. Or accidently, on purpose getting a Kaimanawa Wild Mare pregnant to a thoroughbred in a midnight rendezvous. 

Harpur’s execution is part actor/part standup comedian and it totally works. It’s a totally hilarious 55 minutes of quality comedy. 

This is a complex, layered and ridiculous performance. Shortlisted for the 2022 Adam NZ Play Award this is pure fun. Harpur is also responsible for Dead Dads Club, which has also had rave reviews. 

Behind the comedy is a serious message. She told the press that the initial inspiration for Play was the world of equestrian and the lack of access to anyone without a trust fund.

“During the kōrero following the Tokyo Olympics,” she told the NZHerald, “I started to wonder if the Olympic dream is a flawed concept." 

Because of the pressure American gymnast Simone Biles pulled out of the Games.  Then there was the untimely death of Kiwi cyclist Olivia Podmore due to other pressures.  And so many more athletes were sharing their experiences of the destructive power of the Olympic Dream. 

Harpur started to question why the dream was important and the toll that achieving it had on the mental health of competitors. She wondered about the short time the athletes get to be at the top before their body gives out or their mind cracks. 

So, writing it, her story became more about the character's motivation for trying to get into the Olympic world and discovering, through Nige’s experience that maybe it's not all it's cracked up to be. 

Extra credit goes to award-winning and multi-talented Carrie Green (Ngāti Porou), for some clever stage direction, especially the incorporation of a toy hobby horse into a steeple chase race against a Kawasaki farm bike. 

This was laugh out loud, high energy, and thought provoking. I loved this show. If it comes back, make sure you go. You are in for a treat.

Tahi Festival, at Bats Theatre and Circa Theatre is a celebration of solo artists, a 10 day Festival dedicated to showcasing the finest and most engaging solo performance from around the motu.  Check Out the Tahi Festival