Symphonic Haka Group in 2010 World Expo Opening Ceremony

31 March 2010

A group of Wellington performers will wow audiences at the World Expo opening ceremony in Shanghai next month.

The symphonic haka group features the violinist Elena, opera singer Zane Te Wiremu Jarvis and kapa haka group, Te Ihi Connections. It will be directed by acclaimed artistic director and choreographer Tanemahuta Gray.

They are the only cultural group representing New Zealand, Australia and the Pacific at the 30 April opening ceremony.

The Shanghai World Expo is being held from May to October 2010. Seventy million people are expected to visit the expo and about 200 nations will take part in the global event, showcasing themselves through trade, business and culture. The expo has a budget of US$4 billion.

The invitation for the group to perform came about through the official relationship between Wellington City Council and the city of Shanghai.

Mayor Kerry Prendergast is delighted the symphonic haka group will represent Wellington. "We are proud to be taking Wellington performers to the expo and I am looking forward to showing the world what fantastic talent we have in our city."

Kapa haka tutors Merlene and Wi Wehi say their 20 performers are excited to be part of the opening ceremony entertainment line-up. "This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for our group. All of them are on cloud nine and proud to be representing their country in this way," says Merlene.

The opening ceremony will be broadcast worldwide.