Everyone knows the classic Kiwi song Ten Guitars - but how about 8000 Guitars?

That's what Kaikohe musician Tip Nikora hopes will ring out over his home town on December 8 as he attempts to set a new world record for the most guitarists playing at once.

Breaking the current world record of 7273 - set in Poland earlier this year - in a town with a total population of just over 4000 might seem a little optimistic, possibly even delusional.

However, Tip believes it is possible, as long as he can draw in guitarists from across the Far North and as far away as Whangarei.


At the very least he's convinced Kaikohe can set a record for the biggest group of guitarists relative to the town's population.

The tune selected for the record attempt is Ten Guitars, originally popularised by Engelbert Humperdinck as the B-side to Please Release Me but which later became the 1960s anthem of urban Maori.

Tip, who works as a school bus driver and is a founding member of the Kaikohe Music Club, says he took part in a previous record attempt at Sky City in Auckland a few years ago.

``But I always wanted to do one at home. We have a lot of musicians and a lot of talented youth in Kaikohe,'' he said.

He chose Ten Guitars because it was simple - it only required chords A, D and E - and because it had become a New Zealand anthem.

''Anytime you go somewhere to play a party, you can guarantee someone will say, 'Can you play Ten Guitars?'''

Tip first immersed himself in music at Northland College alongside Max Cochrane and Ivan Hoani, both of whom are still key players in the Far North music scene.

After leaving school he played clubs and venues in Auckland and Tauranga before returning to his Kaikohe roots in 2001.

His record bid will take place at Maihi Park (also known as the Kaikohe rugby league field) on Recreation Rd, opposite the Pioneer Village, from 4-7pm on December 8, after the Kaikohe Christmas parade.

The event would feature entertainment and, of course, bands. A massed practice of Ten Guitars would be held every half hour until the record attempt around 6-6.30pm.

Would-be record setters need to bring a guitar but leave any alcohol or drugs at home. You can register on the day or email nikora.contra@hotmail.com for more information. If you're not sure of the tune, look for ''Tip Nikora and the Boyz Ten Guitars'' in a practice session on YouTube.

The current world record for the largest guitar ensemble (7273 guitarists playing at once) was set at the Thanks Jimi Festival in the Polish city of Wroclaw in February this year with the classic Jimi Hendrix number Hey Joe.

Previous records were 6346 guitarists (the same song at the same festival in 2009), 1857 (in Luckenbach, Texas, in 2009, playing Luckenbach Song) and 1802 (in Leinfelden-Echterdingen, Germany, in 2007 with Smoke on the Water).

Kaikohe turns around tarnished image

Next weekend's world record attempt is part of the inaugural Shine! Kaikohe festival, a bid to inject Christmas spirit into the Mid North town while also turning around its tarnished image.

The decline of traditional industries and the shift of population from what was once lauded as the Hub of the North to settlements on the east coast has hit Kaikohe hard.

Unemployment skyrocketed, shops were abandoned, and the mugging of Santa in the 1991 Christmas parade - an incident which was reported around the world - destroyed what was left of the once proud town's reputation. While the opening of Ngawha prison just outside town brought jobs, it also brought crime and a more itinerant population as inmate's families moved into town.

While Kaikohe still has plenty of problems, over the past year a shift in its mood has been palpable.

Successes on the world stage, such as Chris Huriwai's defence of his world unicycling title, boosted pride, as did local successes such as Kaikohe Intermediate's victory in the regional primary schools kapa haka competition. Kaikohe businesses cleaned up in the Tall Poppies business awards and the volunteer-run Mill Gym was named the Far North's best community group.

The business association has big plans for revitalising the town and many of the long-empty shops are finding tenants.

The Shine! Kaikohe festival is the latest bid to lift spirits in the town and rebuild its reputation.

It opened on November 17 with the illumination of a 20-metre-high Christmas tree, the decorating of which doubled as a chance for Kaikohe kids to learn some serious tree-climbing skills, and includes a life-size interactive nativity scene, next Saturday's Christmas parade and guitar-playing record attempt, and a busker's day on December 22.

A veritable forest of Christmas trees has sprung up in a disused shop where schools and businesses have each decorated a tree and kids can put their requests to a roster Santas in a variety of sizes and ethnicities.

Festival co-organiser Mike Shaw, a pastor at Heart of the North Celebration Centre, said the aim was to uplift people's spirits by promoting goodwill and positivity.

He was already seeing the effects and people were stopping him on the street to thank him for the giant Christmas tree.

''There's a sense this Christmas is a lot more uplifting than previous ones. It's a reflection of the revitalisation of our town, people's faith in the community and a belief in better things ahead.''

Another sign of change was the revitalised business association, which was investing time and energy to better the town where once people would have expected the council to fix their problems.

The Shine! festival could become an annual event, as could a mid-winter Matariki festival, Mr Shaw said.