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Viewers flock to online Mīharo concert

Henare OKeefe

Thousands across Hawke’s Bay gathered in their bubbles yesterday afternoon to connect and be inspired by the best of Hastings’ talent while watching Mīharo, the online concert created by Hastings District Council, Toitoi – Hawke’s Bay Arts & Events Centre, and Arts Inc Heretaunga.

More than 8600 households watched the concert, which was streamed on Facebook Live and YouTube yesterday, with nearly 5000 people commenting, liking and reacting to the concert as it streamed, and also donating to local charitable service providers through a website link.

Hastings mayor Sandra Hazlehurst said it was a wonderful opportunity for the local community to come together, connect and look to the future beyond the COVID-19 crisis.

“If lockdown has taught us anything it’s the value of being together with our family, and the importance of our friends and caring for our neighbours,” she said.

“With caring and kindness, and us all rolling up our sleeves, we’ll get through this. We’re making it happen.”

She said the conversations happening online while Mīharo streamed showed the strength of the Hastings community and its ability to support each other.

“What a celebration! We are blessed to have so many wonderful, talented, gifted and caring people in Hastings-Heretaunga. Thank you to everyone involved in creating Mīharo, for bringing us all together to celebrate, feel hope for the future and fill our hearts with joy.  I didn’t want the show to end!”

More than 80 per cent of Mīharo’s audience was based in Hawke’s Bay, though that didn’t stop people from further afield tuning in – one per cent of the audience was based in the United Kingdom.

Hastings Ambassador Henare O’Keefe hosted the show, from the stage of Toitoi’s Opera House, and said it was a chance for Council and the local arts industry to say thank you to the Hastings community for their strength and mana during lockdown.

“Mīharo is about you, to say we love you, we appreciate you and we value you. Mīharo has attracted our locals from around the globe, they’ve come from near and far to express their love for you, for me, for all of us.”

Featuring internationally-acclaimed Hastings artists such as Thomas Oliver, Hinewehi Mohi and Phillip Rhodes, alongside local acts such as poet Ben Fagan, story-teller Mary Kippenberger and dancer and choreographer Champa Maciel, the show was as diverse as its audience.

Mīharo also featured a special message from Dame Kiri Te Kanawa, who was filmed at her home in England, having just returned from spending lockdown in New Zealand.

“We are all far apart from each other and at these times we must stay strong. Music has brought us all together and, in these difficult times, will bring us all together again,” she said.

“I was privileged to perform in Hawke’s Bay, in your gorgeous Opera House, before a most warm and wonderful audience. Currently many of us are separated from our family and friends, far away from whānau… Stay safe, stay strong, my thoughts are with you all.”

The full Mīharo concert can still be viewed on Hastings District Council and Toitoi’s Facebook pages - @hastingsdc or @toitoivenues. Alternatively, you can search ‘Mīharo’ on YouTube.

11 May 2020

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