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Tauranga Arts Festival

Tauranga Arts Festival

Pss Pss. Photo Tauranga Arts Festival

Tauranga Arts Festival’s tenth birthday programme offers entertainment from as far afield as Switzerland and Germany, as well as Australia and from all around New Zealand.

“We’re always looking for acts that will not only appeal to a wide range of people,” festival director Jo Bond says, “but also those that push boundaries for their audiences – that take people to a new place that may enrich their lives.”

Theatre shows include That Bloody Woman, a “feminist rock opera” about Kate Sheppard, the two-person Swiss circus-clowning Pss Pss, a “Christmas special” from Hudson and Halls Live, and The Ballad of Backbone Joe from Australia.

America’s southern states are the destination for those riding along with Big Daddy Wilson, who reckons his voice is a mixture of “all the spices and good stuff you’ll find in most southern kitchens”, while there’s a distinct Australian note to the shows of Bush Gothic (new takes on settler songs) and The Suitcase Royale Band who swing out rockabilly and country numbers.

Also appearing are Kiwi musician Thomas Oliver, one of the world’s leading players of the Weissenborn lap-steel guitar, and chorale group Voices NZ, who celebrate spring with a French-language programme.

Writers include Witi Ihimaera, Kate Grenville from Australia, Catherine Chidgey, Stephen Daisley and Phil Gifford, who will talk about men’s health. Novelist and creative writing teacher Paula Morris will lead a workshop, while economist Shamubeel Eaqub, business commentator Rod Oram, former Green Party co-leader Jeanette Fitzsimons, historian Vincent O’Malley and poet and Waikato University writer-in-residence Bob Orr are also among the line-up.

A waterfront garden of sculpture will take root for the festival’s ANZ Community Day on Saturday, October 21, which sees The Strand closed to traffic and markets, events and free entertainment sprout up.

Bloom consists of thousands of identical pink pieces that allow 3D construction with no boundaries or rules – people of all ages can work alone, together or leave a partly created piece for another set of hands to add to with each construction being unique (and maybe never finished).

See the full festival programme at


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