Stephanie is a senior reporter for the Rotorua Daily Post.

Country flavour strikes a chord with city visitors (+video)

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Anahera Herewini Waiariki, 13, had the audience tapping their toes. Photo / Ben Fraser
Anahera Herewini Waiariki, 13, had the audience tapping their toes. Photo / Ben Fraser

Locals and tourists alike were drawn to the Government Gardens by the catchy tunes and belting ballads of the annual Country in the Park concert.

The free event was held yesterday by the Geyserland Country Music Club at the garden's band rotunda in front of a crowd of about 150.

Last year's winner of the New Zealand Country Music Entertainer of the Year Junior section, Rotorua's Anahera Herewini Waiariki, 13, took to the stage as the guest act.


Concert organiser Julie Hill said they had a positive response from the crowd throughout the day.

"This is our seventh year running and we always get good feedback. This year we had calls from people in Kawerau and Auckland wanting to know if the concert was going ahead and what the details were.

"The concert is a community event we do as a way of giving back and it is a bonus to see its reputation growing."

Ms Hill said they were also pleasantly surprised to see singer Will Garrett from Nashville, the country capital of the world, started following their Instagram account.

"It's great to see our concert grow by word of mouth and we were really excited to have Anahera as our guest act."

As well as locals, people visiting from as far as Germany were lured to the Government Gardens to check out the source of the music.

Tourist Leonie Zahn said she and her friends had only been in Rotorua a day and were looking for things to do.

"We heard the music and wanted to see where it was coming from. Country music is not really the genre I like but the weather is nice and the atmosphere is welcoming."

Her friend Thomas Kalla said the music was nice for relaxing and he had not expected there to be a free concert on in the middle of the day.

Local woman Billarina Ripia said she went to the concert for the first time last year and liked what was on offer.

"It's a great, free event that you can just go along to and relax. This is only my second time going but I think I will make it an annual event I go to."

- Rotorua Daily Post

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