New Zealand Concert Tour,
31st March - 16th April 2001
After a long, tedious flight from Bremen, marred by hour-long delays, the Company arrived weary but undeterred in Auckland on Saturday 31st March 2001 to be met by our host Mrs Mary Fleming who was to look after us for the first leg. We were just in time to take part in the celebrations which Mary organised regarding Peggy Grainger's 80th birthday. During those celebrations we met a certain Alan Birtwistle who spontaneously invited us to play in his home town, Rotorua, much to our delight and surprise. We also met Jan Grainger who kindly invited us to her home in Porirua, a town just a little to the north of Wellington. Our first engagement in New Zealand was a private recital for Peggy and her friends given in her own home on Monday, 2nd April and organised by her second son, Peter Grainger.
On the following day, we were invited by Matthew Fleming to open proceedings at the Roundabout Inn, in Royal Oak, Auckland. Thursday 5th April saw us on our way to Rotorua for an open-air recital that Alan Birtwistle had organised. We stayed three very pleasant days in Rotorua taking in the local sights before moving on to Taupo on the 8th April where we had been invited to spend a most enjoyable musical day with the The Pumice Valley Trout Stompers Celtic Bushband by Lorna and Barry Swallow, friends of Jan Grainger.
On Monday 9th April, we arrived in Porirua by bus from Taupo, to be welcomed by Jan Grainger who took us straight to her home overlooking Titahi Bay. We again took in the local sights and made one-day a ferry trip over the Cook Strait to Picton just to say that we had been to South Island. (Been there, done it!). Jan had organised a Lunch-time Recital at the "Porirua Arts' Centre" on Wednesday the 10th April whilst a recorder workshop had been organised by Katrin Eickhorst-Squire for the following day.
We started the final stage of our New Zealand tour by taking the scenic train from Wellington to Auckland where we were accommodated in that fine establishment, the Carlton Hotel. Its Food and Beverage Manager, Norbert Koptisch had organised an afternoon recital on Easter Monday in the foyer of that remarkable building.
After an eventful and happy tour, Mary Fleming saw us off on our way to Singapore on Tuesday, 17th April. She handed over "Misty" a tiny NZ lamb, complete with rucksack, camera, biro and diary to our care on the start of his one-year round-the-world journey. Misty belongs to the children of the Royal Oak, Auckland primary school and will tell his children all about it when he arrives back in New Zealand. We met a whole lot of charming and friendly people, our thanks and acknowledgements are given in the tab above.

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New Zealand Concert Tour

"Click" on [More ...] below to open and close performance descriptions:
2nd April 2001: Auckland, Onehunga, Recital for Nora Peggy Grainger [More ...]
Some twenty guests were packed into Peggy's appartment for the recital in a warm and relaxed atmosphere. Peggy's second son, Peter acted as master-of-ceremonies most competently.
Items played by the Company during the recital were:
Sonata No. 1 from Sonaten I, II u. III by J. B. Loeillet [de Gant], Sonata in F by Daniel Purcell,
Hoe-Down by Brian Bonsor, and A Maori Medley specially arranged by Geoff Grainger for the New Zealand tour. Maori Medley was especially well recieved with many of the guests spontaneously joining in by singing "Hine e hine", "Haere mai" and "Pokarekare Ana".
3rd April 2001: Auckland, Royal Oak, At the Roundabout Inn [More ...]
Matthew Fleming, a graduate broadcaster, organises various events at Roundabout Inn on a weekly basis. He likes to introduce a little "culture" on these occasions by inviting local music groups, such as school choirs etc., to introduce themselves and show off their performing abilities in front of a friendly and appreciative audience. On this particular occasion, an evening of "Trivial Pursuits, had been organised and the Company were honoured by launching the evening by playing movements from Sonata No. 1 from Sonaten I, II u. III by J. B. Loeillet [de Gant].

6th April 2001: Rotorua, At the Civic Centre [More ...]
Mr & Mrs Alan Birtwistle organised at very short notice an open-air recital under the shade of the wide awning gracing Rotorua's Civic Centre. We played, in bright sunshine, virtually the same programme as Peggy's appartment given in Auckland a few days previously but it was especially poignant when we played "Pokarekare Ana", part of the A Maori Medley, which we had arranged in honour of this tour.
For those not in the know, "Pokarekare Ana", is widely considered to be New Zealand's most cherished national song. The present-day version is adapted from a poem by Paraire Henare Tomoana (1868-1946) and starts like this:
Pokarekare ana nga wai o Rotorua. Whiti atu koe, e hine marino ana e.
(Troubled are the waters of Rotorua. If you cross them maiden, they will be calm)
It was just great to perform this item in its spiritual home.

Alan Birtwistle royally entertained us at the Rotorua Returned Servicemen's Association Club on the evening prior to the concert and his wife rewarded our efforts with a short tour around Rotorua and tea on the shores of Lake Rotorua. We also give thanks to Jenni & Barry Harford, proprietors of Fernleaf Motel, Rotorua who gave us warm support during the concert as well as to the spectators who humorously observed our struggles with the fresh breeze which literally sucked the air out of our instruments and our subsequent retreat into their midst.

8th April 2001: Taupo with the The Pumice Valley Trout Stompers [More ...]
Oops! Still to come ...
11th April 2001: Porirua, Lunchtime Recital at the Porirua Arts' Centre [More ...]
Oops! Still to come ...
12th April 2001: Khandallah, Wellington, Workshop with Katrin Eickhorst-Squire [More ...]
Oops! Still to come ...
16th April 2001: Auckland, Carlton Hotel, Afternoon Recital in Foyer [More ...]
Oops! Still to come ...

Many profound, heartfelt thanks to all those kind, hospitable and helpful people who made the 2001 New Zealand so enjoyable and memorable.
  • David Lines of the Auckland Society for Music Education for his help in setting-up initial contacts.
  • Jessica Shaw of the Society of New Zealand Recorder Players for her support.
  • Mary Fleming, Auckland, for accommodation and hospitality
  • Peter Grainger, Wellington, late of Melbourne, for arranging and compering the private recital
  • Matthew Fleming, Auckland, for the invitation to perform at the Roundabout Inn in Royal Oak, Auckland.
  • Mr & Mrs Birtwistle, Rotorua, for their hospitality and efforts in organising the open-air recital at the Civic Centre.
  • Jenni & Barry Harford, proprietors of Fernleaf Motel, Rotorua, for their generous hospitality and support.
  • Lorna and Barry Swallow, Taupo, and all the members of The Pumice Valley Trout Stompers Celtic Bushband for a wonderful afternoon and evening of folk music.
  • Jan Grainger, Porirua, for accommodation and hospitality as well as organising the lunch-time recital at the Porirua Public Library.
  • John Lister and Keith Riach, Wellington, two enthusiastic and very welcome "groupies" at the lunch-time recital.
  • Roger Palmer, President of Recorders & Early Music Union, for his support in drumming up the message of our presence in NZ.
  • Katrin Eickhorst-Squire, Wellington for her support, hospitality and organising a wonderful, all-too-short morning recorder workshop.
  • Norbert Koptisch, Food and Beverage Manager of the Carlton Hotel, Auckland for his generous support and organising our final recital> in New Zealand. Thanks also to the staff of this noble establishment for looking after us so well.
  • Last, but not least, all those anonymous well-wishers who we met whilst travelling or at the venues.

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