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Wanaka Launches Inaugural Festival Of Colour

26 April 2005

Wanaka Launches Inaugural Festival Of Colour With Fanfare

Hundreds gathered in Lake Wanaka’s main street last night (Monday 25 April) to witness the high-energy launch of the inaugural Southern Lakes Festival of Colour.

As darkness fell, the front of the two-storey Infinity Investment Building transformed into Michel Tuffery’s Wing of the Manu, a piece of living art projected onto the building.

The performance featured a collaboration of sound and sight, with the underlying theme of humanity and respecting other people’s space. The montage of images ranged from scenes from the Pacific Islands to members of the Maori Battalion, drag car races to airplanes, lilies bursting into life to giant turtles.

“We wanted to acknowledge the old fellas on Anzac Day and show them some respect,” said artist Michel Tuffery. “We’re enjoying our freedom because of them so we included footage of the Maori Battalion accompanied by Prince Tuitika on the trumpet.”

Other footage included the New Zealand Airforce’s Orion. “Kiwis are always the first ones to turn up to help at a disaster in the South Pacific,” said Tuffery. “We’ve got a reputation of putting our bodies on the line for others. The repetition of the red cross throughout the performance is to make people aware of this symbol and the good that it brings in its many forms.”

The images were accompanied by an upbeat mix of Cook Island and Fijian music, together with sounds by Wellington dub aficionados, Rhombus and Nomad. The whole set was DJ’d by Anton Carter from Rhombus and VJ’d by Mike Busy.

The festival officially opened earlier in the day with a whakawatea and waiata with members of Ngai Tahu, including kaiwhakahaere Mark Salomon and board members Matepura Ellison and Huata Holmes.

The ceremony took place overlooking a giant 20m long photo-mural by fine arts photographer, Fiona Pardington, on the wall of the Wanaka Masonic Lodge. Part of her ‘Helping Hands’ exhibition that explores the links between the Maori concept of awhina and the Masonic philosophy of helping hands, the mural represented a giant cloak of kakapo feathers ‘thrown around the shoulders of the community’.

Other exhibitions opened were New Zealand Listener’s chief photographer, Jane Ussher’s Portraits of New Zealanders and Colour of the Land, New Zealand’s largest 24-hour gallery featuring Central Otago images by many of the country’s top photographers, including Andris Apse and Craig Potton.

The Festival of Colour’s performance programme gets underway on Wednesday 27 April at midday when celebrated New Zealand soprano, Deborah Wai Kapohe, sings in the magnificent Infinity Pacific Crystal.


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