Art & Entertainment | Book Reviews | Education | Entertainment Video | Health | Lifestyle | Sport | Sport Video | Search


Lights; music; amazing action

Lights; music; amazing action

The Lighting of the Osmanthus Gardens has again been a resounding success – with live music adding to the atmosphere for the first time.

While numbers through the gate were not counted, based on the donations it was estimated that more than 12,000 people had gone through the gates, well up on last year’s estimated 10,000.

The highlight this year was “undoubtedly” the Chinese musicians, said Hastings District councillor and event organiser Kevin Watkins. On the first three nights of the five-night festival [finishing April 9], Evy Tian played the pipa, a traditional Chinese four-stringed instrument, sometimes compared to a lute. Ms Tian, who is based in Wellington, had played the instrument for 12 years to the highest level.

On the last two nights three musicians from Hastings sister city Guilin had played at the gardens. They flew in from China on the Friday to play on the Saturday and Sunday evenings, and flew home on Monday morning.

“This was a magnificent gift from our sister city and the musicians. To fly the 20,000km round trip to play at our gardens during our lighting festival was just incredible. These musicians are at the pinnacle of their musical careers; we are honoured and cannot thank them enough.”

And the musicians were as excited as the crowd, he said. “Evy went back to Wellington buzzing; she just loved it and kept thanking us for the opportunity.
“Our three who were here from China for the last two nights were so excited. They said the people were so lovely and kind, and so keen to have their photo taken with the musicians when they took breaks from playing to stroll around the garden.”

On the last night, the trio played “a stunning version” of Pokarekare Ana on their traditional instruments. “That was really special and the crowd loved it.”

As always, the coloured traditional Chinese lanterns were stars of the show, with four more of the large floating lotus lamps imported for this year’s festival. “We had every age group through the gates, from littlies with their parents, to teenagers and older folk. The atmosphere was fantastic and the feedback amazing,” said Mr Watkins.

There was another special visitor this year, with the China Culture Centre director Zongguang Guo driving up from Wellington on Thursday, especially to enjoy the festival. Mr Guo was impressed, said Mr Watkins. “The atmosphere, the authenticity; he was very impressed with the whole festival.”

Next year’s festival will be the tenth, and Mr Watkins was already hatching plans to make it extra special. “But this year’s musicians will be a very hard act to follow.”

The koha of a gold coin per adult went straight back into preparing for the following year’s festival, said Mr Watkins.

© Scoop Media

Culture Headlines | Health Headlines | Education Headlines


Joseph Cederwall Review: NZSO Plays Zappa

The first of the NZSO’s Shed Series concerts at the more informal and intimate space of Wellington's Shed 6 last Friday night featured music composed by, or with a connection to Frank Zappa. Zappa, a psychedelic rock legend, activist and popular culture figure and all round colourful character, was an excellent choice for the concert’s theme of innovation. More>>

Let The Games Begin: PM Sends Best Wishes To Athletes

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has sent her warm wishes to the New Zealand athletes preparing for the opening of the Commonwealth Games on Australia’s Gold Coast... More>>


Scoop Review of Books: Martin Edmonds' The Expatriates

This book is an extension of, and tribute to, the life’s work of James McNeish. Without sacrificing any degree of authorial independence, the result is gracefully written, handsomely produced, and likely to propagate many further works of its kind. More>>

Max Rashbrooke Review: The King's Singers and Voices New Zealand

To be good at one thing is impressive; to be so versatile across a range of genres is truly exceptional. More>>

Joe Cederwall Review: WOMAD 2018 - Harmony of Difference (part 1)

A friend described WOMAD as his “favourite white middle class celebration of diversity.” There is certainly an echo of truth to this as the crowd is still largely white and middle class, but this WOMAD for me represented that a better world is possible ... More>>

Harmony of Difference (part 2)

Top international world music artists seldom make it down to this neck of the woods, so for those of us into this sort of thing WOMAD is certainly a welcome addition to the cultural calendar. Now it is a case of waiting and looking forward to seeing what they manage to conjure up for next year. More>>

Howard Davis Review: A Bigger Splash - Te Papa Celebrates Twenty Years

Considering the available resources, this is a decidedly hit-and-miss affair, mainly due to some highly questionable curatorial decisions. In their overweening wish to "push boundaries," Charlotte Davy and Megan Tamati-Quennell have made a number of serious miscalculations by ignoring a basic rule - keep it simple. More>>



  • Wellington
  • Christchurch
  • Auckland