Palmerston North Mayor Grant Smith is throwing the resources of the council behind the Fight the Fire Fundraiser on Australia Day.

The January 26 event to be held at Caccia Birch from 3-7pm is to raise funds for the survivors of the Australian bush fires where 27 people died, an estimated billion animals, creatures and ecosystems perished, and properties worth millions of dollars were destroyed in the burning inferno.

The Regent on Broadway has been booked as a wet-weather back-up.

Entry to the event is off Te Awe Awe St with an entry fee of $20, but if people want to give more there'll be opportunities throughout the event.


"I'm indebted to those who've already come forward. I will update people through the media as decisions are made over the next few days," Mayor Smith says.

"We are a multi-cultural city and have many Australians living and participating in Palmerston North.

"A number of us have family and friends in Australia and among them will be those caught up in the fires or who are on constant alert they might have to be evacuated at any moment.

"We have all read about the devastating fires and the toll they're taking on the Australian people or have watched tragic and disturbing images on television.

"Our hearts have gone out to them. Australia is our neighbour and the best way we can help is by providing funding for the various causes."

Palmerston North is already involved with PNCC staff, military from Linton and Ōhakea, fire and emergency and clergy at the flash points in Australia.

The FFF organisers say they have had an incredible response from artists who will perform on the day.

A special Voices For Australia chorus will assemble next week to perform a special arrangement of You'll Never Walk Alone and Hine e Hine to end the fundraiser.


Musical director Roger Buchanan says he's been overwhelmed by the positive response from Manawatū musicians and singers.

Truly Made led by Jon Bowen are a seven-piece original band who describe themselves as soul-ska groovsters while Swamp City Big Band led by Neville Lauridsen is one of the city's top jazz bands who feature regularly at the Manawatū International Jazz Festival.

Vocalists include Kathi Craig, awarded the MNZM in the New Year honours for her contribution to music; outstanding young C&W artist Carson Taare who recently returned from Nashville; Sharon Cotter, the lead in last month's Mamma Mia!; Amy McKenna and Erica Ward, stars of Sister Act, and musical theatre singer Douglas Ransom.

Two performers have strong Australian connections.

Jenna Baxter, who returned to Palmerston North this month, graduated from the National Institute of Dramatic Arts in Sydney and toured Australia in major musical roles.

Andy Anderson who spent 25 years in Australia playing principal roles in TV series such as The Sullivans and guest starred in episodes of Packed To The Rafters, Sea Patrol, All Saints, McLeod's Daughters and Prisoners.

In addition jazz and classical electric violinist Hannah Fang will compete the lineup with Chris Burns compering the afternoon fundraiser.

"We could have filled the concert twice over with generous offers and I encourage those singers who've just caught up with Fight the Fire, to join the special chorus," Buchanan says.

Mayor Smith welcomes funding or offers of support from individuals and businesses in the city.

Contributions will be acknowledged from the stage at the event.

The same format of the popular Wine, Women and Song that was held at Caccia Birch and attended by hundreds of people who brought deck chairs, rugs and umbrellas, will also be used for the fundraiser.

The stage will be erected at a central point of the Caccia Birch lawn and the audience can gather around it or sit in the shade of the trees for protection from the sun.