Visit Hastings in September and there’ll be no doubt you’re in a vibrant Pacific city.

The Hawke’s Bay Opera House precinct will hum with the National Waiata Music Awards on September 7 and 8. The Awards seek to develop, encourage and honour outstanding traditional and contemporary musical composers and performers each year.

Both days begin with the Mãori Music Expo, featuring kapa haka groups, and workshops and forums showcasing some of the most experienced performers in entertainment and music.

The Te Koanga Fashion Show takes centre stage on the first night and the Music Awards on the second. This year’s performers include Moana Maniapoto, Anika Moa, Young Sid, Ardijah, Frankie Stevens and last year’s stand-out winner Maisey Rika, to name a few.

And on September 15 Ngati Kahungungu launch the Takitimu Festival with a 3,000- strong Powhiri at the Regional Sports Park, Hastings, to welcome guests from other New Zealand tribes and over 500 Pacific performers here to take part in the Festival. This will be some welcome!

Participants, who are all linked to the Takitimu canoe, will continue festivities at the Hawke’s Bay Opera House.

Roger Coleman, Opera House manager, could be called the master of understatement when he says the event will be “a nice injection into the end of winter”. His mind will probably be less on the weather and more on ensuring his venue can deliver 12 hours of entertainment simultaneously on 5 stages, for four days!

There are huge demands on staffing and technical equipment, but it is what the Opera House was designed to cope with, and he, along with Festival Executive Director Tama Huata, are confident it can.

Throughout the Festival a 100 metre marquee, housing multiple outdoor entertainment spaces, a Pacific food market and children’s entertainment, will close Hastings Street outside the Opera House.

In addition to music, culture and food, the programme features the Indigenous Peoples’ Business Conference and a Pacific Fashion Show Expo.

Visitor numbers are estimated to be 5-6,000 people, including Pacific visitors from Tahiti, Fiji, Samoa and Tonga.

The very busy Tama Huata, who is also Executive Director of the Waiata Music Awards, encourages Hawke’s Bay locals and their visitors to enjoy both these dynamic cultural events. Details at:

Spring Fling

Load up the kids, grannies and the dogs and head to Central Hawke’s Bay for The Festival at Pukeora Estate, just south of Waipukurau, Sept 8 –11. It’s a celebration of art, live music, food and wine in one venue. As a bonus, drive a bit further south to pick daffodils from Taniwha Station – $2.50 for ten as a Plunket fundraiser.

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