Four local migrants will be ditching their shyness, finding their voice and publicly telling their stories to a packed audience next week.

Cynthia Qiu (China), Beverly Scarlett (Solomon Islands), Richard Bialostocki (Poland) and Dhaivat Mehta (India) will be the opening acts William Yang's performance piece The Story Only I Can Tell, part of Tauranga Arts Festival.

William Yang is an Australian architect, playwright, visual artist, photographer and film- maker.

He has created a performance piece to tell his story, and his forebears, in the hope of connecting hearts and minds.


His work explores cultural and social diversity, belonging and travel.

The four local migrants have been asked by William himself to open the show and tell their own stories. They will each have one-on-one workshop sessions with William who will teach them his method of storytelling.

Cynthia will talk about her life - growing up in Shanghai and training in finance before working in New York. A lifestyle change took her to North Carolina where tragedy struck her life.

Beverly works in early childcare education. She grew up in the Solomon Islands, met her husband and emigrated with him to New Zealand more than 20 years ago. She has some wonderful memories of the Solomon Islands.

Poet Dhaivat Dhaivat grew up in Ahmedabad, India, before emigrating to New Zealand with his family. They did as many others did, and bought a local store. Dhaivat will talk about this cultural transition.

Richard's childhood was harrowing - he was a displaced child of war and one of 730 Polish child refugees to suffer extreme hardship in Siberia before ending up in Iran.

Richard was among the first of New Zealand's children refugees from Poland and grew up in Pahiatua.

All four say they have shared their stories with others, but not on such a public platform.

■ William will share his skills with the migrants, backed up by photographs, which will be presented on Tuesday, October 24 at 6.30pm at Baycourt's X Space. Adults $35, students $25.