A veritable musical feast
The Bay of Islands Singers are performing a concert at the Kerikeri Baptist Church and it's a little different from the norm.
For starters, they are singing with the Matt Watson Jazz Quintet. The main work in the concert has been described by Sylvia Burch, who leads the singers, as "one of those quirky and fun pieces which entertains both audience and performers".
Song Cycle – Vivre le Vélorution by Alexander L'Estrange is a sequence of songs about the bicycle and the joys of cycling. Vélo is French for bicycle. The work was commissioned to mark the grand departure of the 2014 Tour de France in Yorkshire, UK.
"The piece contains a wide variety of musical styles including jazz, musical theatre, barbershop, pastiche, Victorian Music Hall and folk," said Burch.
For the rest of the programme the 64-strong singers will sing jazz, which includes Blue Skies, Ain't Misbehavin', Let's Do It, Over the Rainbow and world folk songs such as Malaika (Kenya) and Kalinka (Russia).
But wait, there's more! At the Turner Centre at 6pm on the same day, the Aroha Music Society is performing Vieux Amis (Old Friends), which brings together three friends, neighbours and long-standing colleagues.
Violinist Justine Cormack, cellist James Bush and pianist Sarah Watkins all grew up together in Christchurch. They performed together 25 years ago as the Miro Trio. Now they're getting together in Kerikeri.
The concert is at Kerikeri Baptist Church on Saturday, August 28, at 3.30pm. Tickets at Paper Plus. The Aroha Music Society performs on August 28 at the Turner Centre @ 6pm. Visit turnercentre.co.nz for more information.
Bless this house
Blessing a house for new owners is a growing trend. It can be blessed by a celebrant, by a member of the family, by anyone in fact, and methods vary.
Chris Swannell and Michael Hooper chose Anglican priest the Rev Ellen Bernstein from Awanui to conduct an official blessing of their new property in Haruru Falls. They have a professional association.
Chris was the first openly gay priest to be ordained as a minister at Christ Church in Russell and Ellen Bernstein is the church's official enabler.
The blessing started at the gate and then moved to a hillside paddock where first the chickens were let out of their confines and blessed, before the alpacas were called to the fence.
TimTam and Black Adder are two alpacas who were inherited when the property was bought. They obliged by putting their noses over the fence railing for an official splash of water done with a rosemary stalk and a ritual patting.
The blessing continued around the house before going into every room inside. It's a proscribed ceremony that, on this occasion, adhered to the Pastoral Liturgy of the New Zealand Anglican Prayer Book. There can be variations according to circumstances.
Chris and Michael owned Orongo Bay Homestead near Russell for 26 years before moving to Haruru Falls. Their new property was formerly known as Morepork Lodge but they have changed the name to Riverview Homestead Waitangi.
"It makes it so special to have whanau and friends along to celebrate the ceremony," said Chris. "It strengthens the aroha."
Conservation projects receive boost
Conservation Minister Kiri Allan has announced Jobs for Nature funding for numerous projects in the Far North as part of the Government's acceleration of the economic recovery from Covid-19.
Between $700,000 and $3 million will go to 12 community or iwi-led projects, which are estimated to create 324 jobs over three years.
"This investment will see over $20 million invested into creating jobs and controlling predators in vitally important areas; protecting our forest giants, the kauri, restoring important dunes and wetland systems in the region, propagation and planting of indigenous species, weed control and species protection," Allan said.
It has been touted as a game-changer for conservation in the district. Bay Bush Action, which relies on donations to carry out pest control work in Ōpua Forest, will now be able to expand the area of protection from 500ha to 2000ha.
Moemoea Puketi, a conservation initiative involving Puketi Forest Trust and iwi/hapū, will get $3.01 million for pest control in Puketi/Ōmahuta Forest, which is estimated to be able to employ 51 locals over three years.
Another of the projects to receive funding is Te Komanga Whangaroa, which involves working closely with local youth to provide training. It will enable 2300ha of pest control via trapping and bait stations targeting stoats, cats, possums, pigs and wilding pines in support of the community working towards a predator-free Northland.
Te Rūnanga–Ā-Iwi O Ngāpuhi and its Kaitiaki Kauri project get $840,000 to help safeguard kauri across the Bay of Islands including Russell, Puketi, Whangaroa, Omahuta, Rakaumangamanga and Opua Forests.
"This investment provides a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to lay the foundations for a better future by creating tangible and long-lasting benefits not only for the environment, but for communities who have borne the brunt of the economic impacts of the Covid pandemic," Allan said.
Tourism projects receive funding
In April, the Far North District Council was seeking funding to the tune of $642,406 for several tourism projects.
Chief executive Shaun Clarke said they weren't confident of getting the funding because council had received significant funding in previous rounds. Additionally, the Government said funding decisions in round five would favour South Island regions where tourism had been heavily affected by Covid-19.
In fact, the Government agreed to fund all the projects FNDC sought.
Self-compacting, Wi-Fi-enabled smart rubbish bins will be installed at Paihia, Russell and Karikari Peninsula.
Installing rubbish bins with a lid, and which are big enough to cope with holiday rubbish, is something Resilient Russell Charitable Trust has been seeking from council for more than seven years, so to have the "deluxe" models is a bonus.
Wi-Fi-enabled streetlights will be installed at Paihia and Russell.
Public toilets will be built at Lake Manuwai in Sandys Rd near Kerikeri and near the sand dunes at Te Paki Stream (Ninety Mile Beach entrance), which also gets a recreational vehicle dump station at Te Paki Rd. The latter two projects are in partnership with Ngāti Kuri and Department of Conservation.
Funding will also allow Bayly Rd, which provides access to the Waitangi Mountain Bike Park, to be sealed.
KOAST has expanded format
After the Covid-enforced cancellation last year, the popular KOAST (Kerikeri Open Art Studios Trail) returns in spring with an expanded format and a record number of entries.
The cancellation fuelled creative expression and interest from artists with entries being at an all-time high. More than 75 artists around the Mid-North are preparing for the KOAST return with paintbrushes loaded, wood chips flying and kilns cooking.
Event chairman Bruce MacGregor said they have extended the geographic boundaries this year to include more Far North artists. There will be three guest artists from Northland and one from New Plymouth.
"While local artists open their studio doors to visitors for the event, artists from further away will exhibit together in collective hubs to keep travel down for the viewers," he said.
The first event was in 2014 and since then KOAST has become an integral part of the Northland art scene. Artists include jewellers, painters, sculptors, ceramicists, fibre artists, wood carvers and photographers.
"Visitors and locals have the opportunity to come and see artists at work in their studios and chat with them about the inspiration and intricacies of their art," said MacGregor.
KOAST is on for three days over Labour Weekend.
Visit koast.org.nz for more information.
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