NZ at Edinburgh 2014 has officially launched

The arrival in Edinburgh of over 200 Kiwi performers was celebrated at the NZ themed Backyard Bar at the Roxy with performances, speeches and delicious refreshments and hospitality.


10548274_482400411896085_4759113064136032457_oThe NZ at Edinburgh 2014 season features New Zealand artists at seven of the Edinburgh Festivals: the Edinburgh International Festival; the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, the Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo; the Edinburgh Art Festival; the Edinburgh International Book Festival; the Edinburgh Jazz and Blues Festival and the Scottish International Storytelling Festival.

This is the first time such a large group of leading New Zealand actors, dancers, musicians, writers, Maori performing artists, spoken word and visual artists has been invited to Edinburgh.

William Burdett-Coutts, Artistic Director of Assembly thanked all of the Companies and commented that “even though Assembly’s relationship with New Zealand goes back many years, nothing has ever happened on this scale.”

Dr Dick Grant, Chairman of Creative New Zealand said, “this is a very exciting project for us. It’s an unprecedented opportunity to show the vibrancy and creativity of New Zealand and its people. Edinburgh is a unique place in which to showcase the depth and the breadth of our country’s creative achievement.” 

Neil Ieremia, Artistic Director of Black Grace, congratulated all the companies on getting here and their journeys so far; and wished them all the best for their seasons ahead. He quoted Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, as a reminder as to why it is important for artists and audiences to have platforms like the Edinburgh Festivals, in saying “a man should hear a little music, read a little poetry, and see a fine picture every day of his life, in order that worldly cares may not obliterate the sense of the beautiful which God has implanted in the human soul.”

Vela Manusaute, former factory worker and one of the founders of New Zealand’s leading Pacific Island Theatre Company Kila Kokonut Krew, ended the celebration by saying “we are deeply connected to the Scottish people; we wear lava-lava skirts, you wear kilts! Thanks for believing in us. The Factory is all about celebrating the stories of real people; it might be set in New Zealand, but we hope the story is universal. From the Pacific we rise!”  

There were  performances by leading dance company Black Grace (19.20, Assembly Roxy) waiata haka by Te Matatini (14.00, Assembly Hall and playing at the Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo nightly), a traditional speech (Mihi), led by Creative New Zealand’s Muriwai Ihakara and a number performed from The Factory, the musical being  hailed as ‘the Pacific Les Mis,’ performed by the Kila Kokonut Krew (19.15, Assembly Hall).

Designed by New Zealand design company Main Reactor, the themed Backyard Bar at the Roxy serves up the best of New Zealand’s craft beer and cider, organic soft drinks, award-winning wine and delicious coffee.  Recreating the ambience of a relaxed New Zealand villa garden in the middle of summer complete with bean bags by Coast and designs by  Auckland graffiti and stencil artists Haus of FLox and respected New Zealand nature photographer Rob Suisted. Suppliers include Monteith’s, Babich Wines, Allpress coffee, Old Mout Cider and Karma Cola.

The NZ at Edinburgh 2014 season is supported by Creative New Zealand to showcase New Zealand arts and culture on the world stage, to engage with international arts practitioners and to develop new audiences, buyers and networks.