Hundreds of people packed the Tauranga Boys' College performing arts centre yesterday to be enchanted and enthralled by a troupe of the best young talent from the Chinese city of Yantai.
It was standing room only for the concert, which was the sparkling highlight of the 25th anniversary of Yantai's sister city relationship with Tauranga. The hour-long cultural performance was also the finale of the children's four-day visit to Tauranga before they fly home today.
The extraordinary talents of the Yantai Children's Palace Troupe belied their ages of 7 to 12 years old. They captivated the audience by a programme that ranged from a faultless violinist to beautiful stylised Chinese dances in traditional costumes to a stunning performance by a 7-year-old boy who wove martial arts into gymnastic floor routines.
The show was by way of thanks for four days being hosted in Tauranga by families from Greenpark Primary School, including a real Kiwi treat of fish and chips on the shore of Pilot Bay.
Yesterday's show also featured a performance by Tauranga Intermediate's Te Whanau o Te Maro kapa haka group.
Yvonne Tatton from the Tauranga City Council said the children were bowled over by how friendly everyone was, the open spaces and how they felt relaxed. The Google translator came in handy when they were with their host families.