Meridian Gardens Magic promises to shine bright on the Summer City calendar

5 January 2015

Summer City’s popular Garden’s Magic concert series at the Botanic Garden promises to offer an even bigger line-up for 2015, from solo artists to big bands and for Kids Magic the Wellington Orchestra.

Kitty Hart, performer at Meridian Gardens Magic

Kitty Hart, performer at Meridians Gardens Magic


Each night from 6–25 January local musicians and performers will entertain Wellingtonians with free concerts in the Soundshell.

Meridian Gardens Magic features a mix of musical styles – from country-folk songstress Kitty Hart, to the acoustic soul sounds of internationally acclaimed Thomas Oliver and Silver Scroll finalist, Louis Baker. While Drax Project and The Bone$ will be warming up the dance floor with a mix of pop and hip-hop and the 21 piece Balkanistas will provide a gypsy groove with an enthusiastic energy that’s hard to beat.

The Royal New Zealand Air Force Swing Band brings us the big band sound from the 30’s and features well-known songstress Stephanie Paris.

Stephanie is the voice behind many of New Zealand’s most celebrated bands. She is a member of the Holly Smith band, appears on Trinity Roots album and performs with the Pink Floyd Experience. She was the lead vocalist in top Wellington jazz band Shaken not Stirred and has performed countless gigs and festivals over the past years.

When Stephanie was asked to join the Royal New Zealand Air Force Swing Band, she thought all she would have to do was sing. What she discovered was that she had to sign up to the NZ Air Force to join the band.

“The band members are all part time reservists,” says Operations Manager for the band Alistair Isdale. “While they’re in uniform and playing for the band they officially belong to the NZ Air Force. 85 percent of the band holds from undergraduate degrees to doctorates in music and a lot of the members freelance.  Stephanie’s husband, Andre Paris plays with the Rodger Fox Big Band and with the New Zealand Symphony – we very lucky to have some of New Zealand’s finest.”

So Stephanie enlisted, which required a lot of paper work and donning a uniform on stage. She now carries the title NZ Air Force LAC (Leading Air Craftsman). Andre has been in the band for more than ten years so has moved up the ranks and is addressed as Corporal.

Stephanie will be performing with her husband Andre for both the Wellington’s New Year’s Eve Party on the Waterfront and Meridians Gardens Magic on 24 January.

The ever popular lighting installations are proudly sponsored by MJF Lighting and this year’s guest artists are a selection of Massey University School of Design students.

Design lecturer, Antony Nevin, met Meridian Gardens Magic event’s organiser, KJ Smith, through his work on LUX Festival. Together they decided it would be a good idea to co-opt students into lighting the Botanic Gardens for Meridians Gardens Magic.

The students were given a brief to design a creative work for Gardens Magic involving light. A mixed group of second and third years alongside honours students have taken part. The students come from all different disciplines – fashion, textiles, visual communication, advertising and visual and spatial design and will earn degree credits working on this project.

The designs have been based on illuminating fish – iconic Wellington buildings, glowing flora and fauna are among just a few of the many designs. This is a group of creative, young, enthusiastic students that are going to provide a stand out event for the 400,000+ people that attend Meridians Gardens Magic every year.

“I’m thrilled to be a part of the 2015 Meridian Gardens Magic series;” says Council Events Coordinator, KJ Smith. “We have a great line up of bands and performers who were chosen from numerous applications from great bands all over New Zealand. We also have an exciting new element with the lighting installations from the Massey Students.”

To find out more go to our Summer City events calendar or download the Meridian Gardens Magic Concert Programme (138KB PDF)