After a four-year hiatus, Opera in the Pā did not disappoint crowds that gathered tonight
for a truly Kiwi concert celebrating Waitangi Day.
Guests splayed out across the Arts Village lawn with picnics, blankets and folding chairs to soak up the last rays of sun on the last public holiday of the summer season.
Māori Waiata and Pacific Island music was the main fabric woven with famous operatic tunes whilst Broadway star Turanga Merito entertained concert-goers as master of ceremonies.
Opening the event with a traditional pōhiri was director of Māori performing arts at Rotorua Boys' High School and cultural advisor for Tamaki Māori Village Jamus Webster who said it just felt like a picnic in the park with people stretched out in the sun.
"It's Waitangi day and I think it is good to celebrate it in a different way, a different light.
"We are sort of getting away from making it a time of protesting and activists coming out to the forefront. Instead everyone is relaxed and it is a great day."
Mayor Steve Chadwick said aside from celebrating Waitangi Day the event was a tribute to founder Bill Kingi who died in December 2017.
Situated under the trees, concert-goers Joyce and John Sorencen were most excited to see Sol3 Mio even after seeing them previously.
"It's really hot, but it is quite nice under the tree. Hopefully it will get cooler."
Sandra Hemopo had prepared a picnic with her family but was irritated that many of the concert-goers had brought tall chairs that made it hard to view.
"It's a good thing to have on Waitangi Day but you want to have a few choices."
Opera in the Pā musical director Elisha Hulton told the Rotorua Daily Post yesterday the event was proud to support the local talent along with international stars.
Rotorua's future stars Hohaia Macfarlane and Anahera Waiariki as well as winner of the 2018 Lexus Song Quest Joel Amosa, Sol3 Mio and Kararaina Walker were all singing with the accompaniment of world-class pianist Ludwig Treviranus.