Unique sound: Contemporary quartet Tararua combines traditional Maori and western instruments


While countless events have fallen victim to ‘Red light’ settings, one event’s been given the green light.

The Whakatipu Music Festival is going ahead this Easter at the Queenstown Events Centre, featuring a dozen emerging New Zealand artists and local musicians.

It centres on classical music with a view to providing economic stimulus, work opportunities and learning opportunities to the local community.

‘‘This unique platform for NZ musicians is also a sigh of relief … with events dwindling, it’s important now more than ever to be supporting artists and creative industries with opportunities like this,’’ executive director Anne Rodda says.

She says extensive planning has gone into the event to ensure it can go ahead.

“The festival by nature is a sum of many parts, which means it can proceed, safely and meaningfully, even under any capacity restrictions,” Rodda says.

Pulling strings: Young violist Cecile McNeill performing last year

In the week leading up to the festival, Queenstowners will be able to take part in free workshops, and there are also opportunities for emerging classical musicians aged 18-28 to receive mentorship and perform alongside each other.

The festival weekend features performances by soprano singer Madeleine Pierard, violinist Robin Wilson, flautist Bridget Douglas, cellist Andrew Joyce and pianist Stephen de Pledge.

Festival-goers can also look forward to seeing Wellington-based contemporary quartet, Tararua, who combine Taonga Puoro (Maori instruments) with waiata, karakia, purakau (story), and western instruments.

“It’s an exceptional event that’s an absolute treasure for Queenstown and Aotearoa,” Rodda says.

The festival is supported by several community sponsors and partners including the Hill Family Foundation for Arts and Music, Queenstown Lakes District Council, Central Lakes Trust, Creative NZ, and Community Trust South.

Whakatipu Music Festival, April 15-18, Queenstown Events Centre, tickets on sale from March 18 at