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Porirua Waitangi Day Festival Set To Rock!

January 25, 2008

Porirua Waitangi Day Festival Set To Rock!

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The Wellington International Ukulele Orchestra leads a packed programme of top entertainers at this year’s Festival of the Elements.


The idea of having a bunch of ukulele players to headline New Zealand’s biggest Waitangi Day festival seemed a little left of field at first.

But once Porirua’s Festival of the Elements Chairman Bob Cater heard the Wellington International Ukulele Orchestra, there was no question about the top bill.

“I was sold! They are fantastic! The orchestra was formed only three years ago, and has been a smash hit, with glowing reviews where-ever they have played,” says Mr Cater.

“They will be a great headliner for our Festival. Something unique, different, and quite sensational on the main stage. The orchestra will certainly uphold the Festival reputation of terrific producing headline acts,” Mr Cater says.

“I remember having heard fabulous Maori ukulele players providing great entertainment on marae and at social functions in years gone by. The instrument itself seems to blend musical elements from the Pacific and Europe."

The Wellington International Ukulele Orchestra includes some of Wellington’s favourite musicians, reproducing hit songs from across the musical spectrum including The White Stripes, David Bowie, Johnny Cash, Dolly Parton, Rod Stewart, Leonard Cohen, The Muttonbirds, Split Enz, Pixie Williams, DD Smash and more.

Their version of Andre 3000’s ‘Heya’ has become a YouTube hit, and in Jan ‘07 they strummed their way across the top of the South Island in a sold-out summer tour.

Last year they also opened the NZ Music Commission’s NZ Music Month showcase at Galatos, and played sell-out concerts at the Tauranga Arts Festival and Nelson Arts Festival. This year they featured at WOMAD 2008 in Taranaki and at Splore 08.

The WIUO has Played Favourites on Kim Hill, taught Campbell Live’s Jaquie Brown how to play the uke, and attracted 73 ukulele enthusiasts to a mass uke-in on the waterfront for the Wellington Fringe Festival Fricnic.

The WIUO will perform two half hour sets, the first starting a bit before 5.00pm and the second an
hour later.

“We were planning to finish the Festival at 6, but it will now go on until around 6.30/7 because of the great array of performers we have lined up for our audiences,” says Mr Cater.

Mr Cater said another Festival attraction that he was looking forward to this year would be the 34 piece Wellington Mission choir.

“Mission has a musical repertoire covering a range of genres, including traditional Samoan church hymns, soul, R&B, jazz, blues, and of course, gospel,” says Mr Cater.

“With Mission, you can expect a soul stirring passionate performances. They include some wonderful singers from churches in South Wellington, and are in strong demand at a lot of festivals and events across New Zealand. I’m thrilled to have them at the Festival of the Elements,” he says.

The Mission Choir is due to sing just after 1.00pm .

NZ Idol finalist Ben Hazelwood, celebrating his newest album Second Chances, will also be back on the main stage at the Festival.

This year the Festival of the Elements will be held on Waitangi Day from 10am to the evening at its new site at Elsdon Park and Mana College. The full Festival programme is available on the Festival website at


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