A set of Hawke's Bay singers performed front and centre at a one-off "love letter" concert at London's prestigious Royal Albert Hall.
Five singers from Hawke's Bay - Madeleine Pierard, Phillip Rhodes, Benson Wilson, Carleen Ebbs and Rhonda Browne – graced the stage at one of the UK's most prestigious music venues to perform in the Whanau: Voices of Aotearoa, Far From Home show.
Pierard, a Napier-born soprano, said the name of the performance is what the concert represents.
"A musical love letter to Aotearoa from all of us who can't get back, and whose livelihoods are on the brink due to the Covid crisis in the UK is what it's all about," she said.
The hour-long concert, which was filmed before London's latest lockdown at the Royal Albert Hall, will be available to view on the RNZ website from 9am on November 23 for one month.
It will also be broadcast on RNZ from 1pm on November 23.
Pierard said recording the performance with a group of singers in the same situation as her was a "remarkable and healing experience".
"We have become whānau here in London. That feeling of support and community shone through when we recorded this concert," she added.
Pierard said the full concert programme, which features 21 UK-based Kiwi singers, will feature music from their collective past in Aotearoa and Pasifika.
While the concert is free to watch, it also acts a fundraiser for New Zealand artists based in the UK.
The UK government shared an advertisement campaign in October encouraging people in the creative industries and arts sector to retrain, despite a £1.57 billion government rescue package for cultural and heritage organisations in the wake of coronavirus.
Pierard said even though the arts sector is a multibillion-pound industry in the UK, without the ability to perform to live audiences, it's a business that the government has "deemed unviable".
"The problem is that it needs to be preserved desperately," she said.
Concert organiser and baritone Julien Van Mellaerts said most of these singers haven't performed since theatres, opera houses and music schools closed in March.
"We have been silenced for months through no fault of our own," he said.
"We're incredibly proud and excited to share the smallest of insights into what it feels to be us at the moment, what our whānau means to us, and how we long for home, for better times and to be together once again."
Four of the five Hawke's Bay musicians involved attended Havelock North High School as teenagers.
Pierard said she continues to miss Hawke's Bay – the place she was brought up and where her children were born.
She said while she would like to return home, it's not as simple as hopping on a plane and leaving her life in London.
"We simply can't afford to get back to New Zealand yet."
Music lovers are encouraged to tune in and watch the performance, to send messages of support to these talented Kiwi musicians via their social media channels and to give what they can via whanaulondonvoices.com.