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Turkish dancers to perform in New Zealand

Turkish dancers to perform in New Zealand

Associate Arts, Culture and Heritage Minister Judith Tizard today welcomed the Turkish dance group 'Fire of Anatolia' to New Zealand.

This is the first visit to New Zealand for the 120-member group, whose work incorporates thousands of years of Turkish mythology, dance and folk music, collected from almost every region of Turkey.

Judith Tizard first saw the group perform in Canakkale, during a visit to Turkey in 2004 for the Anzac commemorations.

"I am delighted to welcome 'Fire of Anatolia' to New Zealand. Turkey is a country with which we have long had very warm relations, based on our shared sacrifice at Gallipoli. I vividly remember the Anzac Festival performance, which was energetic and passionate," Judith Tizard said.

'Fire of Anatolia' will perform at the Aotea Centre in Auckland on 21 and 22 April 2005, and at the Events Centre in Wellington on 24 April. While in Wellington, they will also perform at public displays at the Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa, on 23 April at 3.30pm and on 25 April at 11.30am.

The group has choreographed works especially for their New Zealand tour, based on the famous words of Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, the Turkish commander:

Those heroes that shed their blood And lost their lives

You are now lying in the soil of a friendly country Therefore rest in peace.

There is no difference between the Johnnies And the Mehmets to us were they lie side by side

Here in this country of ours You, the mothers,

Who sent their sons from far away countries Wipe away your tears,
Your sons are now lying in our bosom And are in peace

After having lost their lives on this land They have become our sons as well. (1934)

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