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Inaugural Ukulele Festival launched for Niue

26 July 2016

Inaugural Ukulele Festival launched for Niue

Ukulele players and fans will descend on Niue Island from throughout the Pacific in late October as the island hosts its first Ukulele Festival – NiueKulele.

The Festival, which runs from Friday 21 October to Monday 24 October, will feature ukulele workshops, concerts and instructional (“tips and tricks”) sessions by Panels of leading ukulele exponents including:

• Paul Jonson from New Zealand

• Hawaiians’ Jody Kamisato and rising superstars Honoka and Azita

• Niue’s maestro Sani Hekesi

• Mac Toomalatai and Ben Vai from Samoa

• Cook Island players John Wichman, Jarome Pare and Henry Teokotai Tupou

Niue Tourism Chief Executive Felicity Bollen says the island decided to create its own uke’ festival in response to the ukulele’s recent global resurgence in popularity and the wonderful experience many have enjoyed from such gatherings all over the world. “But in particular we’ve gone for our own festival because the ukulele, like no other instrument, is synonomous with the Pacific. It’s often called an instrument of joy and love because its tones make you happy, and its music brings people from all walks of life together to celebrate life.

“It’s such a great instrument because it’s affordable and accessible and can be played by anyone from young children to virtuosos like Jake Shimabukuro and James Hill. We thought it’d be great to gather some of the best ukulele players from the Pacific and host an entertaining and educational event here on Niue which will showcase the region’s different styles and techniques.”

Felicity says the Festival will include an auction of ukuleles hand-painted by well-known figures such as Niue’s internationally recognised artist John Pule, proceeds to go to the ongoing conservation and protection of the humpback whales - Niue is an international whale sanctuary, and a raffle for a beautiful resonator ukulele – a louder, more sophisticated version of the instrument – donated by Paul Jonson, who will feature at the Festival. The raffle proceeds will go towards a Ukulele School being set up on Niue.

Felicity says around 50 uke’ aficionados from the region are expected to attend the Festival.

To find out more about Niue please visit


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