From Writers to Musicians: New Zealand’s Artistic Talent


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Kiwis are a serious artistic bunch that love to travel around the world. They understand what it means to look at something with fresh eyes. That is why the Australia & New Zealand Festival of Literature & Arts in London has been a huge success for the past two years. The festival’s goal is to create a year-round arts network to support artists from both nations in the UK, specifically London. The festival started with over 60 events with 130 writers, musicians, actors, opinion-makers and rising stars from both nations in a hope to promote their “seriously good” literature, film, music and performance scene.

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Although the festival didn’t take place in 2016, per se, events from the festival continue taking place in London this year. June saw a lot of activity with a “New Zealand Night” where two Kiwi writers (Witi Ihimaera and Dame Fiona Kidman) and a musician (Jason Bae) were present to talk about and showcase their arts. On another night and another venue, award-winning Modern Mãori Quartet, ‘Maori Ratpack’ played at St. John’s Smith Square to show their take on classic Maori showbands. Their act is fresh, hilarious and harmonious, making them one of New Zealand’s most sought-after musical acts. They are currently touring the world after doing a 4-city tour of the UK.

When it comes to painting, New Zealand also has a lot to prove. Just last year a rare painting by William Hodges, who was a crew member of Captain James Cook, went on sale at Christie’s in London. The piece, which depicts a Maori man near Cascade Cove and is approximately 250 years old, sold for $200,000. Hodges was a huge contributor to Kiwi art at the time.

More contemporary artists are also on the rise in London, such as Francis Upritchard, whose colourful sculptures have been a breakthrough in the contemporary art scene. She has even been exhibited at the Saatchi Gallery. As she resides in London, her work is often featured in the city but is also showcased on an international level.