May Day con­cert back by pop­u­lar de­mand


Lo­cal ac­tivist and union or­gan­iser Dion Martin has a strong be­lief that In­ter­na­tional Work­ers’ Day should be cel­e­brated.

Over the past 15 years May Day con­certs have been held an­nu­ally in Palmer­ston North with a re­cess last year. Dion be­lieves the time is right to bring the con­cert back to the Globe Theatre. He’s had plenty of en­cour­age­ment for its re­turn.

He says In­ter­na­tional Work­ers Day is a huge cel­e­bra­tion over­seas with a num­ber of coun­tries treat­ing it as a pub­lic hol­i­day.

‘‘It’s im­por­tant for work­ing peo­ple and the com­mu­ni­ties in which they live. We need to cel­e­brate the pos­i­tive as­pects of our work­ing life,’’ Dion says. ‘‘It’s a chance to stand on the shoul­ders of those who’ve gone be­fore.’’

He says the April 30 con­cert at The Globe takes the form of mu­sic, song, dance, po­etry and short ad­dresses. The im­pres­sive line-up of artists in­cludes folk singer/song­writer Peter Hicks, the Brazen Hussies, a women’s singing group, the Brass Ra­zoo Sol­i­dar­ity Band, a pop­u­lar in­stru­men­tal group and Not the Day Job, a group who’ll sing three songs ded­i­cated to the late union­ist Peter Con­way,

One song is spe­cial. To a poem writ­ten by Dave Evi­son, Peter Hicks has com­posed a melody and will pay trib­ute to the mem­ory of Peter, in the pres­ence of mem­bers of his fam­ily.

‘‘The con­cert is a cel­e­bra­tion of peo­ple in their work, the sig­nif­i­cance of the union move­ment and how it has en­hanced the lives of mil­lions through­out the world,’’ says Dion.

While it’s firstly a con­cert, it’s also a gen­tle com­pe­ti­tion for the May­Day Cup. All those who want to com­pete are eval­u­ated by a se­nior panel of judges on the night.

The con­cert be­gins with the Roger Award ‘‘for the worst transna­tional cor­po­ra­tion op­er­at­ing in Aotearoa, NZ.’’ The Roger re­ferred to is Roger Dou­glas whose po­lit­i­cal ca­reer and his in­tro­duc­tion of Roger­nomics had a detri­men­tal ef­fect on work­ing peo­ple.

‘‘This is a se­ri­ous but also tongue in cheek award where we high­light op­pres­sive leg­is­la­tion and prac­tices that have threat­ened the lives of work­ers and the com­mu­nity.’’ Dion says. The award will be pre­sented by po­lit­i­cal ac­tivist, Sue Brad­ford. En­try is $5 or a koha.

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