Special concert brings hope to mill town of Kawerau

Published: Wed 7 Sep 2011 09:45 AM
Special concert brings hope to mill town of Kawerau
The Laughing Samoans
Two of New Zealand’s best comedians, the Laughing Samoans, will headline a special comedy concert to be held in Kawerau on September 24.
The Kawerau Town Hall is expected to be a sell-out and will provide Kawerau’s young people the opportunity to perform alongside some of their celebrity role models.
The Kia Kaha Kawerau Concert has been put on to help the community and young people (rangatahi) of Kawerau, organiser and Te Waka Kötuku Trust chair Tania Waikato said today.
``We wanted to show our support for the families affected by the suicides and recent negative publicity about Kawerau,’’ Waikato said.
This year, the North Island timber mill town hard hit by the recession has seen 13 young people commit suicide in just 18 months.
``We run a facebook page called We Tautoko Kawerau where one Kawerau resident Renee Hohepa posted a suggestion that we organise a concert. Our trust was already considering the same idea so we took that as a tohu (sign) and just ran with it.”
The Laughing Samoans, Eteuati Ete and Tofiga Fepulea’i, said they would perform at the concert for nothing.
``After seeing the publicity about the suicides in Kawerau, Eteuati had been talking about the issue in our town with his wife so when we emailed him he said straight away they would do it.
``I was blown away by their generosity, especially considering they’re in the middle of a gruelling international tour schedule for their current “Greatest Hits” show”.
New Zealand’s soul diva, Whirimako Black, will also be one of the feature performers. Black, born in Whakatane and a former Kawerau resident, is one of this country’s finest musicians and has donated her time to perform for the event. Local talent include home town singing star Lili Latham, the Kawerau College kapahaka group, student band The Typical Maoris along with solo and group dance crews.
Sponsors have provided the venue and billboards are being provided by the Kawerau District Council, Tech Pa - Te Whare Wananga o Awanuiarangi, will provide sound and technical equipment and Air New Zealand is paying for the flights for The Laughing Samoans.
``We still need to raise about $4000 to cover all our costs. Our trust is a not-for-profit organisation aimed at improving the health and well being of all people but with a special focus on the revitalisation of rangatahi (youth) and whanau (families).
``Proceeds to the trust, if we actually make any money at all, would towards a camp for at-risk youth and their families that we will be running later in the year.’’

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