Festival aglow with fresh dazzlers, old favourites

Fresh eyes bring new look to lights festival

JOHN ANTHONY
Last updated 05:00 13/12/2012
Sky of Diamonds installation
JONATHAN CAMERON/Fairfax NZ
DIAMOND NIGHT-LIGHTS: A crowd on Pukekura Park’s Poet’s Bridge marvel at the Sky of Diamonds installation by artist Nicola Haines Ramsay.

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A Wellington company with 20 years' experience in theatre lighting has turned on a dazzling show for this year's Festival of Lights.

Last night a select few got an early look at what will be on display during the annual six-week event in Pukekura Park.

This  year features glowing jellyfish, Dr Seuss gardens and skies of diamonds, among other visual treats.

Note: This story has been changed, the Festival of Lights starts on Sunday night after Christmas at the Bowl

A fresh set of eyes brought a new look to the TSB Festival of the Lights with MJF Lighting, of Tawa, controversially contracted to install the lighting.

This was despite a bid $26,100 cheaper from incumbent New Plymouth company Wells Instrument and Electrical, which had done the job for the past nine years.

New Plymouth District Council acting manager of events Tricia Logan said MJF Lighting had more than two decades of experience installing theatre and stage lighting.

Past experience included lighting up the World of Wearable Art, Auckland's The Cloud during the Rugby World Cup 2011 and more recently the outdoor theatre setting for The Hobbit premiere in Wellington.

Ms Logan said she was thrilled with the efficiency of the installation and the final product.

"Because all they do is event lighting they've just been amazing," Ms Logan said.

For the Festival of Lights MJF Lighting had installed a lot of light layering in the park's tree canopies and had paid close attention to detail in the more intricate installations, she said.

"You can expect quite a different look. It's quite subtle."

Old favourites such as the black-light area and the lit-up fountain remain, along with the ITL Light Couch near the waterfall, the Sleeping Giant and Grimace the Gorilla.

The best time to see the lights would be between 9.30pm and 10.15pm, she said.

Last year the festival was plagued by vandals so security patrols had been put in place early this year.

The Sparkle, Sing, Smile-themed TSB Festival of Lights runs until January 26.

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- Taranaki Daily News

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