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Unique evening of games and music to celebrate Puanga

Unique evening of games and music to celebrate Puanga

Local band and Puanga festival organisers combine for unique evening of family entertainment

Puanga, also known as Matāriki and the Aotearoa New Year, is a time to come together, acknowledge those we have lost and share in celebrations. Traditionally it was also a time to retreat into the warm and occupy each other during the cold winter with education, traditional craft and performance. Te Whare Tapere was the house of performing arts and the performance styles practiced and learned in Te Whare Tapere would come alive during winter. There were even performance troupes that would traverse the country entertaining people with stories, puppetry, dance and music. In the tradition of Te Whare Tapere a group of local musicians and artists have combined with the Puanga Organising Committee and the Whanganui Regional Museum to create a unique night of entertainment called Te Whare Tapere o Puanga.

On Friday 26 July the evening will begin with an introduction to Tākaro or traditional Māori games and toys. This will be a hands-on activity with a variety of games to learn and try. This will be followed by an interactive, audience participation, component introducing participants to taonga puoro (traditional Māori musical instruments). After this a light supper will be served creating an opportunity for audience members to meet and talk with others. The final segment of the evening will be a performance by local band ‘Awa’ who combine taonga puoro (traditional Māori musical instruments) with contemporary music traditions to create a unique variety of songs, many of which are inspired by our river, the Whanganui and heavily feature the use of Te Reo Māori (the Māori language.)

“This event was a matter of great minds think alike,” says event organiser and Awa band member Elise Goodge, “As a band we had been thinking of doing a concert to celebrate Puanga when we were approached by the Puanga Organising Committee; who also wanted to include a musical event in the programme.” She continues “The Museum were keen to see a family event that would bring whānau (families) together and that fit really nicely with our kaupapa (purpose) to increase exposure of taonga puoro to all ages.”

‘Awa’ have been performing together for just over a year and are made up of local musicians Sacha Keating (bass), Elizabeth de Vegt (keyboards), Andrew Wetherall (guitar), Brad McMillan (drums) and Elise Goodge (taonga puoro).

The musicians come from diverse musical backgrounds which combine to create an eclectic musical style that traverses jazz, pop, rock, soul, folk and chant. The whole programme will begin at 6.30pm and conclude at 9pm. Entry is $10, with supper provided. Entry to the Museum will be via the Davis Lecture Theatre entrance. All ages are welcome.

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