Updated: Mar 1
By Anusha Bhana
Photo credits: Anusha Bhana and Michelle Rhodes
Last Saturday proved to be a very special night as the Mercury Bay community banded together for the Cyclone Gabrielle Hawkes Bay Relief Fundraiser Concert at the Monkey House Lounge and Cabaret. It had all come together in less than a week!
Whitianga local and New Zealand Hip Hop artist, Tipene Harmer, originally from Hastings, was inspired to organise the event after hearing first hand from friends and whānau in his hometown about the extreme pressure small community groups and marae were under to support and house flood victims from the cyclone. “Three of our marae and urupā (cemetery) back home have been smashed and countless families have lost everything. It’s been very emotional watching the videos online. I’ve felt helpless not being able to physically help,” says Tipene.
Alongside national disaster response teams, grassroots community groups and marae have gone into overdrive in affected regions to help with disaster recovery. “Our whānau in Flaxmere have stepped up to house flood victims at our local community centre and Marae but their resources are stretched,” explains Tipene. “This fundraiser concert is something we wanted to do from here to tautoko (support).”
Tipene was the main organiser of the fundraiser, working alongside Beat Fairy (Molly Burke and Kaspur Franke), Korimako Creative (Anusha Bhana) and Dave Rhodes Productions (live sound).
From 6.00pm onwards, there was a steady stream of people filling up the venue, enjoying delicious kai and buying raffle tickets outside. There was plenty of laughter, hugs, dancing and a real sense of community solidarity for a good cause.
A stellar line up of local musicians donated their time and talent to perform at the concert kicking off with Pete ‘Rocking X-Realtor’ Lawrence, followed by Vegas Brown, Ian Thorne and then Roimata Taimana with Andrew Hopper on guitar and Gabriel Johnston on bass.
Next up, punk rock act, Corrosive Moses fronted by Stewart Pedley, with Gabriel Johnston on bass and Leo Magri on drums, got the crowd jumping to their energetic tunes. Then rock/roots band, The Generation, who made a special round trip from Hamilton, delivered a slick performance with the audience soaking up the reggae funk beats. C33Y aka Chance Taiaroa Haddon and Te Paea Seasons dropped an incredible set of hip hop tracks, before Tipene hit the stage wearing a Māori Tino Rangatiratanga flag as a cloak. He performed a wide selection of his music, all the while acknowledging the kaupapa of the event and how much it meant to him and his Hastings community..
“It’s been a real collaborative community effort. I put the call out for help less than a week ago and it’s come from people all over Mercury Bay and beyond,” says Tipene. “The funds we’ve raised so far are going to make a real difference.”
The total funds as of Sunday, 26 Feb were $5000. This will go directly to the Flaxmere Planning Committee and Te Aranga Marae in Hastings, so they can continue to house and support Hawkes Bay flood victims.
Caption: Tipene Harmer, Hip Hop artist and the main organiser of the event.
The event team would like to thank everyone who attended, donated and bought raffles, plus the following people and businesses for their generous contributions:
Food: TatiFrutti Juice Bar, Sausage Sizzle (Mikaere Waterhouse), Crayfish (Scott Makereth & Stacey Gaskell), Fry Bread (Bess Kingi), Countdown Whitianga.
Volunteers: Jacci Hilton (raffles), Liz Crompton (raffles), Clare Tod (door), Hilary Emerson Lay (bar), Pat Heemi-Salmon, Shannon Shwenke, Gibson the Dog (raised $20).
Promo Support: The Mercury Bay Informer, All About Whitianga, Coromandel’s CFM, Endeavour Print, Mercury Bay Twin Cinemas, Evolution Fitness, Mercury Bay Business Association.
Raffle Prizes: Mahi Toi Garden Studio, Luke's Kitchen, The Lost Spring, Wanderlust Media, Beauty Cabin NZ, Stirling Sports, Bakes by the Fisherman's Wife, Mint Hair Studio, Smitty’s, The Gardiners Flower Shed, Hula, Sylvia Lok Pedicure Specialist, The Nail Boutique, Whitianga Social Services, Evolution Fitness, Stilo Hair, The Warehouse, Whiti WOD, Releev Massage, Love it Bakery, Whiti Nails & Beauty, Whitianga Hair Co, Sarah Nicholson Art, Mercury Bay Twin Cinemas, Sangam Restaurant, Wild Wood Mini Golf, Toy Library, Nanny Neera, Blackjack Surf, Subway, Saasha Hoar (plants), Kerry Rhodes (weaver), Kerry Walker (carver), Ian Thorne Bone Studio & Gallery (Tākaka Marble Taonga), Whiti City Cabs, James Webster, Ngāti Hei, Sol Goods, Leanne Halliwell (Naturopathic voucher), Unique & Personalised NZ.