Bringing more to Arts Festival

ELTON SMALLMAN
Last updated 11:33 31/01/2013
Craig Muntz
Shane Morton/Fairfax NZ

HOME FIRES: Maori performing arts promoter Craig Muntz prepares for the Ahi Kaa showcase.

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Some of New Zealand's best performing artists will play at this year's Hamilton Gardens Arts Festival in a four-hour showcase of traditional and contemporary Maori arts.

Festival organisers have worked with Hamilton Maori arts promoter Craig Muntz to bring award winning groups Katchafire and Three Houses Down to the stage with newcomer Mihirangi, kapa haka group Te Pou o Mangatawhiri and  other Waikato based performers as well.

''It is the first time there has been a significant Maori art programme developed in support of the Hamilton Gardens arts festival,'' Mr Muntz said. ''The partnership has provided a platform for it to happen.''

They have been working on the collaborative effort for six months receiving ''significant support'' from Creative NZ and Trust Waikato.

''I can't think of any better way to spend a summer's evening,'' Mr Muntz said. ''Sit down, cold drink, excellent line up of entertainment, pull the blanket out and enjoy the evening.''

The four hour act will draw a ''broader audience'' to the arts festival and will give Maori arts greater exposure to the public.

The show falls on the same day of the Warriors NRL pre-season match against the Penrith Panthers at Waikato Stadium and Mr Muntz is hopeful for a good turn-out.

''This event provides an excellent post-match entertainment option. Where else can you go to get kind of line-up for only $10?''

The Saturday night show celebrates traditional Maori performing arts, contemporary arts and a mix of the two forms and includes workshops on Saturday and Sunday.

''You look at someone like Mihirangi who incorporates the reo into her electronic looping so it is a fusion drawing on from that strong traditional base.''

He said the appetite for traditional and new forms of Maori art is increasing but there are limited opportunities for the public to see the product in action.

''What we lack is an opportunity like this to showcase  and provide focus. ''The interest is there it has just needed someone to come along and weave it all together.''

Ahi Kaa - Home Fires, Saturday 16 February 2013, Rhododendron Lawn, Hamilton Gardens, 6.30 - 10.30pm
www.hgaf.co.nz

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