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Wednesday 14 April 2010


Kia Ora Aroha!

Posted in: Events
By Matt Akersten - 9th March 2010

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Jackie Clark
Auckland has been treated to more LGBT festivals and events this summer than ever before – but out of all the various activities, none have been as intriguing as the Aroha Festival, which starts this Friday 12 March with a massive Gala Opening concert at the ASB Theatre.

"It's truly a tribal pop opera," Aroha's kingpin Mika tells GayNZ.com. "Here's an exclusive for you – we've just confirmed singer Jackie Clark is joining our line-up, which includes Japanese dancer Shakti, Alfira from Indonesia, and our all-new dance company of contemporary Maori dancers. So it's all come together very well."

The music for the large-scale, full-production show is scored by acclaimed composer Gareth Farr is collaboration with Mika, and will be performed by the Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra under conductor Hamish McKeich. More info and ticket details are on the event's website, and the after-party is at  - you guessed it - K' Road's Family bar from 9.30pm.

The rest of the Fest

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The magical Mika
Following Friday night's concert, the Aroha Festival features 36 other unique and exciting events over the following week.

GayNZ.com particularly recommends rocker Amanda Palmer's concert at the King's Arm's next Wednesday, Tess Tickle & Pollyfilla's Pop-Up Burlesque Revue at Galatos, and the unmissable free Aroha Day on entertainers in Beresford Square on Saturday 20 March. But there's so much more – check the Aroha website.

"The whole week will be very exciting," promises Mika. "It's just great to see so many talented acts wanting to be part of our new festival.

"We can never replace Hero (Auckland's long-running February LGBT festival which ended in 2008), but Aroha is all about gay people joining into and enhancing the mainstream." Mika considers, then adds: "But there's no doubt this festival is very gay!"

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So why does Auckland still need a festival like Aroha? "Gay and lesbian people are always a part of arts festivals," replies Mika. "We always have our place, that's very important.

"But just like we need the Maori Festival, the Pasifika Festival and more, we need our own. We have our rights, but we have a long way to go for acceptance.

"By the time the week is over it'll be like I'll be in another world. I can't wait for people to experience Aroha."


Matt Akersten - 9th March 2010

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