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South Canterbury to Celebrate RWC 2011 with Unique Festival

31 August 2011

Region to Celebrate Rugby World Cup 2011 with a Unique New Festival

South Canterbury’s celebration of the Rugby World Cup 2011 season will centre around “Art Rocks”, an exciting and unique new festival, says Aoraki Development Business and Tourism Chief Executive, Wendy Smith. The Art Rocks Festival is part of the REAL New Zealand Festival, a nationwide programme of events designed to showcase New Zealand during the Rugby World Cup 2011 series.

Art Rocks will present a variety of cultural activities from Friday 23rd to Sunday 26th September. The event has been designed to highlight South Canterbury creativity, culture and unique heritage as the home of Maori Rock Art through a spectacular and colourful programme of music, art and activities, says Mrs Smith.

“From learning about and creating your own Rock Art to rock concerts, contemporary dance and visual displays, kite making and a photographic competition, the Art Rocks Festival will provide something for everyone,” she says.

The three day Art Rocks Festival kicks off on the Friday night with The Aoraki Polytechnic Art Rocks Concert at Caroline Bay Soundshell, headlined by top New Zealand band, The Phoenix Foundation, supported by The Thomas Oliver Band, both visiting Timaru as part of the REAL New Zealand Music on Tour programme. Local teenage band Sam Says will open for the concert.

On Saturday 24th September, the Aoraki Kite Fest on Caroline Bay will provide the opportunity for participants to create and fly their own kites in a giant overall display.

On Sunday, the Te Ana Ngai Tahu Rock Art Centre will present the Art Rocks Festival Day in the area in front of the Timaru i-SITE Visitor Centre in the Landing Service Building in George St. The Festival Day will provide creative and fun demonstrations of both traditional and contemporary art forms. Activities, designed for family groups with a strong focus on children, will enable participants to try their hand at rock art design, raranga (weaving), pounamu carving mokihi making (reed rafts) or helping to create a large scale rock art themed urban/graffiti art mural. Stalls of contemporary Maori kai (food), arts and crafts and live music will complete the picture, complemented by a special line-up of entertainment including “Voices of our Ancestors” – a mix of modern and traditional expression with three Ngāi Tahu women sharing story and song - Ariana Tikao, Christine White, and Mahina-Ina Kaui.

The setting sun on Sunday evening will set the scene for Aoraki Fire and Rock – a stunning multi-media extravaganza with locally created animation, visual effects and video, featuring live music and dance from Timaru expat Mika and Flame Fire Productions.

Throughout the three day Festival programme, the Te Ana Ngāi Tahu Rock Art Centre will offer both a hosted Centre experience and guided tours to view ancient rock art drawings at premier sites around South Canterbury. The Centre, which opened in December 2010 as a new cultural tourism attraction, has both national and international significance in its interpretation of precious Maori Rock Art Taonga, the myths and stories that surround it and the living Maori culture that embraces it to this day.

Even though South Canterbury was not able to host a game or Rugby World Cup team, the region will still benefit from flow through of independent travellers during the period, with Art Rocks timed to coincide with travellers moving around the South Island in between cup games in Nelson and Dunedin, said Mrs Smith.

In addition to its role sourcing REAL New Zealand Festival funding and assisting with the development of the Art Rocks event, Aoraki Development Business and Tourism was working hard to ensure South Canterbury presented a good “shop window” during the Rugby World Cup series for both domestic and international visitors, said Mrs Smith.

The new South Canterbury website, a new Official Visitor Guide, several promotional initiatives targeted at the Christchurch market and the Hospitality & Tourism Awards on August 26th were all part of a combined promotional push to raise the profile of the region, she said.


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