Sunday, 31 May 2020


Fun in the sun with next year's Concert in the Vines headline band

It’s a warm, sunny day last week and pohutukawa in bloom welcomes the band White Chapel Jak to Teal Park opposite Mechanics Bay, the Auckland home of the Auckland and Coromandel Westpac Rescue Helicopters. With the occasional breeze sailing in from the Waitemata Harbour, this year’s New Zealand Covers Band Award winners are keen to chat about their upcoming headline gig at Concert in the Vines 2019. 

The concert, the biggest rescue helicopter service fundraiser on the Coromandel Peninsula, will take place on Friday 11 January at Mercury Bay Estate outside Cooks Beach.

Dressed in their best kiwi picnic attire, it’s easy to get drawn into the good humour and genuine warmth of the five-piece band. You can’t help but feel that summer is on its way.

Without any effort at all, the band start singing impromptu harmonies as photos are taken as guitarist Nathan Boston strums away up a tree (of course). It turns out you need very little of anything to have a good time with the band. Just like the breeze, it’s easy for time to get away on you.

Almost in complete contrast are the life-saving services of the Auckland and Coromandel Westpac Rescue Helicopters, which are time-critical. But “job” is a word that you won’t find in the vocabularies of either White Chapel Jak or the rescue helicopter crew members. Such is their love for what they do. “The day we say this a job, it becomes a job,” says guitarist Bonnie Hurunui, who’s White Chapel Jack’s lead vocalist. “We don’t want that day to happen.”

The band started out when Bonnie and Nathan set a goal to be doing what they love doing the most, most of the time. Now they are living the dream and they couldn’t be happier. Joined by other band members Dean Tinning (vocals/percussion), Michael White (double bass) and Mark Steven (keyboard), they all feel incredibly blessed to be doing what they do.

The band say it’s difficult to define their music. Most of what they do revolves around taking a classic song and making it their own. “When it doesn’t feel fresh any more, we mix it up again,” says Michael.

The band agree that it’s Dean Tinning who “brings the funk” to their performances. The six-foot three percussionist, or “Viking” as he’s often referred to, is a man of few words, but this suggestion certainly makes him laugh.  

The Auckland and Coromandel Westpac Rescue Helicopters and White Chapel Jak have a relationship that goes back a long way. They often refer to each other as whanau.

“When we perform, having fun is our number one priority,” says Bonnie. “We like to give our audience permission to have fun too. For us, it’s easy to give to the rescue helicopter and they always give back too.”   

Concert in the Vines 2019 will be the seventh Concert in the Vines and is proudly brought to you by The Mercury Bay Informer. In addition to White Chapel Jak, the bands Pat for President and Chaidaze will also be performing.

Pat for President is returning after a very popular performance at this year’s Concert in the Vines. Expect a versatile performance of crowd favourites through the clever use of electro acoustic guitar, African percussion and vocal harmonies. Chaidaze will treat concert-goers to a relaxing performance of high vibration percussion percussion and melodic vocals.

The concert is a family-friendly event and concert-goers are welcome to bring a picnic along on the day. Wine, beer and pizzas will be available for sale at the Mercury Bay Estate cellar door and food trucks will be onsite. Alcohol cannot be brought onto the estate.

The gates will open at 2:30pm with an 8:00pm finish. A free Murphy’s shuttle bus from Ferry Landing will be available for the beginning and end of the concert. There’s also easy free parking on site.

Tickets cost $40 each (children under 12 free) and can be purchased online at Online purchases made by 31 December 2018 will go in the draw to win a fabulous picnic hamper for four filled with a variety of goodies and wine and pizza vouchers from Mercury Bay Estate. The winner will be announced on the “Westpac Rescue - Auckland” facebook page.

Tickets are also available from Westpac Whitianga, the Whitianga i-SITE, the Pauanui Information Centre, the Tairua Information Centre and the Mercury Bay Estate cellar door.

Pictured are the members of White Chapel Jak and the some of Auckland & Coromandel Westpac Rescue Helicopters crew celebrating the start of summer last week. From left to right - Nathan Boston, Dr Dean Bunbury (rescue helicopter HEMS doctor), Dean Tinning, Bonnie Hurunui, Mark Steven, Michael White, Stefan Gabor (rescue helicopter intensive care paramedic/clinical educator) and Mark “Tinny” Cannell (rescue helicopters crew chief). Photo by Mark Meikle.


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