Tena Koutou Arts Lovers,

Firstly, a note to the All Blacks- congratulations on doing what you do best. If you were here I’d give you all a dramatic kiss on both cheeks. I do need to apologise for not being game enough to get out of bed early on Sunday. However it was great to have some Facebook-in-bed and see that fantastic score.

And to the rest of you- I hope you had a good weekend, and that you too managed to enjoy something that you are passionate about… I certainly did.

Saturday was the day that I chose to sacrifice my lie-in, and no regrets there. I got to bask in the vivacious presence and powerful voice of one of New Zealand’s finest female singers- the lovely Ria Hall.

Ria has arranged Takiri Ko te Ata, the waiata that will be performed as a dawn chorus on Thursday, to celebrate the opening of our festival. The lyrics and music were composed by her cousin, Teraania Ormsby-Teki. Ria will sing the solo in the performance, backed by a choir comprised of members of our community (myself included- didn’t want to miss out on this one).

Our first rehearsal was on Saturday morning, and over the course of three hours these two amazing women managed to transform a group of willing strangers into a unified choir. Ria and Teraania have an incredible way of making you feel at ease and inspiring excellence at the same time.

It was easy to embrace the spirit of the lyrics and melody. Takiri Ko te Ata is a haunting composition about the Fairies of Hautere, who return to Mauao every night and depart on the dawn. With the power to create beautiful pictures in the listener’s mind, it is more than a song. It is a musical masterpiece.

If you want to experience this beautiful soundscape, join us on the waterfront at 7am on Thursday.

There is no cost and it will be pure magic.

With love from another proud little Kiwi,

Leah x

Wherever you fly,

You’ll be the best of the best.

Wherever you go,

You will top all the rest.

-Dr Seuss