Creativity shines on world stage
Porirua and Tawa creatives had a superb year, with many making a splash on foreign shores in their chosen fields.
In October, Porirua dancer Kirsten Ocampo travelled with Wellington’s Infinite hip-hop crew to Serbia, where they were crowned the world’s best.
Tawa horticulturist Bayley LuuTomes exhibited his garden artistry at Hampton Court Palace Flower Show in April, having won student of the year at Ellerslie in March.
Tawa ballet dancers Olivia Harris, 14, and Jemima Scott, 12, performed at the Albert Hall in London as part of the Dance Proms. Jemima will spend much of 2014 in Melbourne in the Australian Ballet School’s development programme.
Closer to home, teen barbershop singers again stunned judges at nationals in September, with Aotea and Tawa college quartets and choruses taking most of the country’s honours.
Titahi Bay photographer Billie Brook won a Listener magazine photo essay competition in February for her portraits of a friend undergoing a sex change, entitled Sam Sam but Different.
Pukerua Bay author Gillian Candler’s field guide At the Beach was nominated in the nonfiction category of the New Zealand Post Children’s Book Awards. It later won the Elsie Locke medal in the Lianza awards, voted for by the country’s librarians. A sequel, In the Garden, was published this year.
Another homegrown bestseller was Pauatahanui: A local history, which sold hundreds of copies at its launch in October. Other notable Porirua books this year were Gay Hay and Margaret Tolland’s Watch Out, Snail!, Adrienne Jansen’s The Score, and many self-published books under designer Stephanie Drew’s wing, including Captain Cook’s Discipline and Cross Creek Return.
In theatre, Aotea College deputy head boy Corey Fuimaono won a Sheila Winn Shakespeare acting award in April for his portrayal of Othello.
It was a mixed year for Porirua Little Theatre, which staged successful productions, including Calendar Girls and The Witches of Eastwick, while facing continued uncertainty about its future.
Highlights for Mana Little Theatre included The Old People Are Revolting in June.
In April, Aotea College hosted a run of Romeo and Tusi, an irreverent take on the Shakespeare classic directed by Porirua woman Sasha Gibb.
Titahi Bay jazz legend Rodger Fox celebrated 40 years in business this year. Aotea College band Until Autumn staged their first national tour, and former Tawa College students The Whiskey Show made the Australasian final of the Global Battle of the Bands.
Maori band WAI launched an acoustic album on October 1, and Samoan-based Porirua musician Lole Usoali’i-Hickey recorded her third bilingual album in October.
Victoria University poet Moe Nainai made waves on YouTube in May with her spoken-word poem defending her hometown, Porirua.
Highlights included Aucklander Niki HastingsMcFall’s lei-covered domestic scenes, In Flyte, in February. Auckland artist Joseph Michael stunned in September with his landscape timelapse videos Dark Cloud/White Light , and Wellington man Murdoch Stephens got Porirua talking with his Iranian refugee snapshots in July.
Pataka hosted a refugee forum in September to complement Stephens’ exhibition, and a Melanesian celebration in April after staging a huge exhibition of woven bags and artefacts, Baskets of Melanesia. Other memorable exhibitions included Rob McLeod’s mutant Mickey Mouse paintings; portraits of Porirua greatgrandparents and children, Same Difference, and Tiffany Singh’s prayer flag installation in August.
World champions: Porirua dancer Kirsten Ocampo, centre, won the world hip-hop championship in Serbia with Wellington’s Infinite crew in October. Left is coach Libby Calder, and right is dancer Jordan Malthus.
Political pictures: Wellington artist Murdoch Stephens staged a powerful exhibition of Iranian refugee snapshots at Pataka in July.