A dawn chorus signalled the start of the 2017 Tauranga Arts Festival.

Festival Trust Chairwoman Kathryn Lellman says the local choir was "grassroots" made up of people from all walks of life in the Tauranga community.

"There were school-kids and retirees, people who have sung professionally, people who have never sung in a choir before - and all led by the wonderful Ria Hall - it was a really wonderful mix," said Mrs Lellman.

The festival has been running every second year for 20 years and this year, it celebrates it's tenth anniversary, running from 19-29 October.

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