Per­former jumps at the chance to chore­o­graph Christ­mas show

Central Leader - - NEWS - By CIARA PRATT

Tu­ranga Mer­ito has Christ­mas in the Park to thank for launch­ing his dream per­for­mance ca­reer.

The dancer and singer is re­turn­ing as chore­og­ra­pher of the an­nual event af­ter hav­ing first per­formed in the show 10 years ago. He is promis­ing Auck­land’s 40th show for Coca-Cola Christ­mas in the Park will be a spec­tac­u­lar dis­play.

This is Mr Mer­ito’s sec­ond time chore­ograph­ing one of New Zealand’s big­gest tele­vi­sion events and he says the show has ‘‘gone all out’’.

‘‘This year we’ve taken a dif­fer­ent di­rec­tion with the show which will be really ex­cit­ing.

‘‘We still have the tra­di­tional Christ­mas carols but we have a lot of spe­cial ef­fects this year and it’s a lot more mod­ern.

‘‘It feels like I’m in a dream. To now be one of the cre­ators of a show that started my ca­reer is amaz­ing.’’

Mr Mer­ito first per­formed at Coca-Cola Christ­mas in the Park when he was 18. His tal­ent was no­ticed by the show’s mu­si­cal di­rec­tor who set up an au­di­tion for him with the direc­tors of The Lion King stage show.

He was given a role in the en­sem­ble cast and later took up the main role of Simba.

‘‘Christ­mas in the Park set up the rest of my ca­reer. Coming from Ro­torua, it was just rugby and there weren’t any shows but singing in church and do­ing kapa haka really pre­pared me.

‘‘It was life-chang­ing and I can’t be­lieve it.’’

Now based in Mel­bourne, the former Avon­dale res­i­dent has played main roles in sev­eral Aus­tralian mu­si­cals, tour­ing na­tion­ally with The Lion King, The Wed­ding Singer, High School Mu­si­cal, West Side Story and an opera ti­tled Chess.

Mr Mer­ito is also a dance and singing teacher six days a week in Mel­bourne and has pro­vided back­ing vo­cals on Aus­tralian Idol.

Chore­ograph­ing both Auck­land and Christchurch shows is a lot of work says Mr Mer­ito but he is grate­ful for the op­por­tu­nity to be in­volved.

‘‘When they called me and asked

still me if I was in­ter­ested in chore­ograph­ing, I was ter­ri­fied but I love be­ing a teacher and Christ­mas in the Park al­lows me to be cre­ative in a sup­port­ive team.

‘‘It’s really great to be part of a team that show­cases New Zealand tal­ent and I love that it gives ev­ery­one a chance to per­form and that it is so di­verse.’’

Sub­ur­ban News­pa­pers, pub­lisher of the Cen­tral Leader, is part of the Fairfax me­dia Mighty A Net­work, the ma­jor print me­dia spon­sor of Coca-Cola Christ­mas in the Park.

All pro­ceeds from the event will go to Surf Life Sav­ing New Zealand.

Mr Mer­ito says although he is ner­vous for the show, he feels very lucky to be liv­ing his dream.

‘‘I’m so happy with how ev­ery­thing has worked out.’’

Dance spec­ta­cle: Tu­ranga Mer­ito is re­spon­si­ble for chore­ograph­ing Coca-Cola Christ­mas in the Park this week­end.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from New Zealand

© PressReader. All rights reserved.