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Entertainment to garden by

Entertainment to garden by

Visitors to the Ellerslie International Flower Show are spoilt for entertainment choice this year.

The show has brought together a diverse group of singers, dancers and bands, all performing at the Manukau City Cultural Performance Garden just inside the main show entrance.

With a brief to choose acts that reflected Manukau’s cultural diversity, the organisers were spoilt for choice. As stage manager Graham Sanders says, every culture in New Zealand is reflected in Manukau.

Hip-hop dance group DZIAH, performing at 6pm on Saturday, are one of the headline acts. The world of opportunity opened to the 11 young men from Manukau in July when they were placed second in the World Hip-Hop Championships, in Los Angeles.

They’ll be followed on stage by Nesian Mystik, who won highest-selling single and best urban album at this year’s Tui Awards.

Other cultures include Taiwanese with the Yu Tzu Cheng Cheung umbrella dancers, Japanese with the Asahi Taiko Auckland drummers, Cook Island with Soifua, Filipino with the Philippine Impulse Dancers and Middle-Eastern with the Arabesque Belly Dance Troupe.

A young hip-hop dance group from Otahuhu College, Fusion, is also proving a crowd favourite. Producer Ayliss Ripley says the group is fundraising to attend the Hip-Hop Groove Dance Competition in Sydney and is receiving fantastic support from the audiences.

"We’ve had whoops and cheers – it’s really great for them in this environment."

Other acts feature jazz, orchestral, choral and the programme ends with the show-stopping Powerplay Show Band at 4pm on Sunday.

Off the main stage, Australian performer Harry Hughes is also entertaining with songs from his new CD, Songs of the Garden. Hughes, who has written other themed albums, says the inspiration to write Songs of the Garden, came to him one weekend while he was at the garden centre.

"There were thousands of people going through, and I thought ‘They would like music of their own’."

The result is an easy-listening album of 13 tracks, all inspired by gardens, flowers, trees, and even garden centres.

The 2006 Ellerslie International Flower Show continues over the next three days at Auckland Botanic Gardens. Opening hours are 10am-6pm Friday, 10am-8.30pm Saturday and 10am-6pm Sunday


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