Frenchy fires up Wanaka for Matariki celebration
British-born youth worker and circus performer Claire ‘‘Frenchy’’ French has been living the Wanaka dream at Kahu Youth group for nearly six months.
The artistic traveller with a penchant for power tools and fire dancing moved south from Wellington with her builder partner Jules Townsend in January.
The club has between 40 and 50 regular Friday night stalwarts and hundreds more people take part in programmes for 11 to 24-year-olds.
The Russell Street club house is busiest on Fridays from 6pm to 10pm, when up to 40 youth hang out.
Performers are now preparing for Kahu Youth’s biggest night of the year, Matariki [Maori New Year] celebrations on June 24.
The annual community event could cost up to $14,000 to organise so Kahu Youth has put together a business sponsorship package and is calling for support.
‘‘My background is social work slash circus. So for me, bringing those two things together is what I am really passionate about. I really love using circus and fire as a vehicle for social change,’’ she said.
Wanaka lakefront, June 24, 2.30pm - 6.30pm. Entertainment, bonfires, fire dancing. If wet, June 25.
Youth workers Claire ‘‘Frenchy’’ French, Richard Elvey and intern Sarah Blechert.