World's top young piano players compete in Kerikeri
Five days of world-class piano competition gets under way at the Turner Centre a week from today.
The 2018 Kerikeri International Piano Competition starts with a recital next Wednesday evening, September 26, by judges Awadagin Pratt of the United States and Phillip Shovk from Australia.
Then, from Thursday to Saturday, 15 top young pianists from around the world will battle it out for a place in the final on Sunday, September 30. Just four will make it through to the final round.
The total prize pool, a record for the biennial event, is a huge $32,500.
The contestants are aged between 16 and 27 and have studied at some of the finest music institutions around the world. The countries represented are China, South Korea, Australia, US, Israel, Japan and New Zealand.
Carrying the New Zealand flag, Auckland-born Delvan Lin has an impressive performance history under his belt despite being just 19. In 2016 he became the youngest winner of the Wallace National Piano Competition.
The 2018 competition also features a "fringe" with four free pre-session talks on the Thursday and Friday, in which the public can meet the judges and learn about the process of selecting a competition recital programme.
Another talk will focus on the technical side of piano preparation from Glenn Easley, the event's piano technician, who will be on-hand during the contest to make sure the Steinway retains its top-quality sound.
A masterclass for non-finalists will be held on the Sunday morning before the final.
All 15 contestants will be billeted by Bay of Islands residents.
This year's chief judge, Pittsburgh-born Awadagin Pratt, has played the piano since the age of 6 and has studied piano, violin and conducting. He is currently a professor of piano at the Conservatory of Music in Cincinnati.
The competition started as a national event in 1987 and went global in 2012. The patron is top New Zealand pianist Michael Houstoun.
The 2016 winner, Dong-Wan Ha of South Korea, took home $15,000 in prize money. Go to www.kipc.org.nz for the full schedule and more information; you can also check out he Facebook page @Kerikeri International Piano Competition.
Tickets are available from the Turner Centre on Cobham Rd, online at www.turnercentre.co.nz, or by calling 0800 200 411 or (09) 407 0260. Tickets are free for under-18s.
Firefighters remember 9/11
For the fourth year in a row members of the Kaikohe Volunteer Fire brigade took part in a Sky Tower climb in Auckland to remember US firefighters who died in the 9/11 terror attacks of 2001.
Unlike the Sky Tower Stair Challenge held every May, firefighters in the September 11 memorial event are encouraged to take their time as they climb the 1103 steps and stop at photos of fallen colleagues.
As well as the 343 firefighters who died in the 9/11 attacks, the climb is dedicated to the 56 Kiwi firefighters who have lost their lives in the line of duty.
This year the Kaikohe brigade led the procession to the Sky Tower with Brendon Mayall and his son Aiden, 6, given the honour of going first and carrying the US flag. Kawakawa and Kerikeri brigades were also represented.
More than 160 firefighters from New Zealand, Australia and the US took part in the event which, like the Stair Challenge leukaemia fundraiser, is organised by Tony Scott of Pakaraka.
Riverview School's famous spring bazaar returns from 11am-3pm this Sunday, September 23. It will feature all the usual attractions such as a food hall, cakes, plants, silent auction, second-hand books, clothing, white elephant, raffles, live music, children's rides and more. The bazaar is the main fundraiser of the year for the school, which is on Kerikeri's Riverview Rd, off Landing Rd.
Blankets for babies
Some of the Bay of Islands' oldest residents have been helping the very youngest by knitting baby blankets for Kawakawa Hospital's birthing unit.
Last week the knitting group at Radius Baycare rest home at Haruru Falls — Pat MacIlwaine, Marie Anderson, Margaret Bristow, Patricia Burger, Yvonne Jones and Sarah Prime —handed over another nine hand-knitted cot blankets. Hospital staff will give them to new mums to take home after giving birth at the unit.
Each blanket is made of 12 peggy squares and takes about two weeks to make.
Activities manager Pauline Ferris said the rest home believed in the saying "charity begins at home".
"We want to look after our local children. We hear so much about child poverty in the news."
In previous years the ladies had knitted booties and beanies for the hospital, as well as pom-poms for a large consignment of beanies knitted by Paihia residents for a charity in Nepal.
Marie Anderson, whose job is crocheting the squares together and adding borders, said she found the work therapeutic.
"It keep your fingers nimble, your brain active, and it keeps you out of trouble," she said.
Sarah Prime said they were responding to a need in the community.
"And I never had time before," she said.
Pat MacIlwaine said she had knitted for her own children and had just taken it up again after a break of about 40 years.
"It gives us a lot of pleasure and it's a great excuse to chatter. I think a lot of elderly don't know what to do with themselves. This has been a great project," she said.
R Tucker Thompson building
The R Tucker Thompson Sail Training Trust is opening a new, two-storey headquarters at the end of Opua wharf at 9am this Sunday. The new building replaces a single-storey shed the trust has long outgrown.
Hessell wins byelection
Alan Hessell has won last week's byelection for a new South Hokianga representative on the Kaikohe-Hokianga Community Board.
The final count at the close of voting at noon last Friday gave Hessell 312 votes with his nearest rival, Fred Hohua, gaining 160. The other candidates were Mervyn Gray (152), Amanda Phillips (146) and Colin Rameka (71). A total of 844 votes were cast in the postal ballot, or just under 30 per cent of the South Hokianga's 2830 eligible electors.
The byelection was called following the resignation of community board member Robert Cassidy in June.
Opua Hall is hosting a spring fling from 6.30pm this Saturday, September 22, with live music to dance and sing along to. BYO drinks and a plate to share; entry $10 adults, kids free.
Waitangi adventure race
A new adventure race, the Frazzled Kiwi, is being held at the Waitangi on Sunday, September 30. The two-hour race is geared at families and schoolchildren and involves running around farmland, looking for checkpoints and completing mystery activities. It's also likely to involve a bit of mud.
Go to soakedinadventure.co.nz for more information. Entries close on September 27.
Hip-hop dance show
DDF Dance Studio is performing an end-of-term showcase hip-hop dance show by students of all ages in the Turner Centre Plaza this Friday, September 21. Doors open at 6pm; the show runs from 6.30pm-8.30pm. Cash door sales only at $10 each or $35 per family of two adults and two children.
Waitangi Day speech contest
Entries in this year's Waitangi Day Speech Competition close on September 28 so, if you haven't already, it's time to start writing.
The theme for this year's nationwide speech competition, organised by the Waitangi Treaty Grounds, is What does Waitangi Day mean to me?
The winner receives return flights for two to the Bay of Islands, accommodation in Paihia and VIP attendance at Waitangi Week functions on February 5-6, as well as a certificate, a taonga and a carved trophy for their school. Last year's winner was Te Hinenga Te Hemi from Avonside Girls' High School in Christchurch.
Waitangi Treaty Grounds chief executive Greg McManus said the competition was all about inspiring young people to reflect on New Zealand's national day and what it means for them.
"I was so impressed with the entries we received last year and Te Hinenga was a fantastic ambassador for her school when she came to Waitangi in February. I really look forward to even more entries this year and to hearing fresh perspectives about Te Tiriti and nationhood."
Go to www.waitangi.org.nz/education/speech-competition for more information.
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