Hollie Smith is one of New Zealand’s most predominant and iconic musicians.
Her first album reached multi-platinum status, and was followed with sold out tours, resulting in her winning several NZ music awards including ‘Best Producer’, ‘Best Female Solo Artist’ and ‘Breakthrough Artist of the Year’.
Her second album ‘Humour and the Misfortune of Others’ reached #1 in the charts and gold status in New Zealand, and followed it up with the 2011 release of her third album ‘Band of Brothers Vol 1’ – a remarkable collaboration with Mara TK from Electric Wire Hustle.
Hollie has performed to massive crowds during her tours throughout Canada, the US, the UK and Australia, Her eagerly anticipated latest solo album ‘Water Or Gold’ released in April 2016 entered the New Zealand charts at #1 sitting in the top 10 for three weeks. ‘Water or Gold’ gained two New Zealand Music Award nominations for Best Album & Best Female Solo Artist.
A prolific hardworking singer/songwriter and performer, Hollie maintains a highly respected reputation for creating music with the upmost integrity and passion, not to mention her incredible live performances and powerhouse vocals.
All-singing, all-dancing and all-harmonising entertainers The Koi Boys are Danny Faifai, Kevin Keepa and Ngahere “Nuz” Ngatai, three passionate and highly experienced musicians hailing from New Zealand and based on the Gold Coast.
Their latest album Shake It follows their platinum-certified runaway hit record Meant To Be, which debuted at #1 in New Zealand and remained in the album chart for a staggering 18 weeks.
The trio shot to fame in 2016 after their charismatic first appearance on The Voice Australia, winning over fans both locally and across the Tasman with their energetic performance of the doo-wop classic “Sha-Boom (Life could be a Dream)”.
Meant To Be saw The Koi Boys bottle the energy, enthusiasm and genre-spanning talent that has earned them their passionate fan base and notoriety as one of the most sought-after live vocal trios in the country.
The Koi Boys performed at Coca‑Cola Christmas in the Park in Christchurch last year and are delighted to be performing at the Auckland show in 2017.
“We are truly blessed to have the opportunity to create music that reflects where we are at in our careers and in our lives. A sound true to our hearts with a passion to reach all ages.”
"Tami Neilson is one of the most exciting artists in country music today. She’s bringing to country music what acts like Amy Winehouse and Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings have brought to R&B." Jonathan Keefe, Country Universe, USA
With a soulful voice straight from the golden age of country and rockabilly music, Tami Neilson has been described as "A red-hot honky-tonker, somewhere between Patsy Cline and Wanda Jackson with perhaps just a little bit of Peggy Lee sophistication.” (Nick Bollinger, NZ National Radio)
Singing her heart out along endless roads and stages, from her days as a young girl in Canada touring with the Neilson Family band, opening for the likes of Johnny Cash, to her full blossoming in New Zealand as a formidable talent in her own right, Tami Neilson has won the Tui Award for each of her past four albums.
In 2014, Tami was also awarded the APRA Silver Scroll, New Zealand’s most prestigious music award for excellence in songwriting, for her song “Walk (Back to Your Arms)”, as well as “Best Female Artist” at the National Country Music Awards and APRA’s “Best Country Song” at the NZ Country Music Awards. The release of her explosive album “Dynamite!” received rave reviews in MOJO, The Guardian (named “Top 10 Best Country Music Album”) and climbed to #1 on the NZ Music Charts, and winning the title of 2015’s “Best Country Music Album”
A 5 Star review in the NZ Herald claimed “This world-class album is a major statement from an artist at the top of her lyrical and vocal game.”
Internationally, 2016 has seen Tami play to sold out shows in Canada, hit the US Americana Charts, have a song from “Don’t Be Afraid” placed on the TV Series “Nashville, hold prime-time interviews on CBC Canada and gain airplay on several BBC Stations.
2017 will be the fourth time that crowd favourite Tami will return to the big CocaCola Christmas in the Park stage.
In 2004 Lavina joined the cast of The Lion King securing the principal role of the sassy and short-tempered hyena Shenzi.
She’s performed in Germany, writing and producing for the hit show Pop Stars, and in France she played Deena Jones in the Dreamgirls musical.
She then secured the lead role Motormouth Maybelle in the Broadway musical Hairspray. She’s been vocal coach for contestants of X Factor NZ and is a vocal / performance mentor for NZMC. In 2016 she was Musical Director of NZ’s first transgender musical People Like Us , and opened her own vocal performance school Vocals With Attitude. Lavina comes from the super talented Williams family, which include J, Emily and Ezra.
Lavina is a long- time favourite and star performer at Coca‑Cola Christmas in the Park.
Originally from Wellington, Caleb Jago-Ward is a Melbourne based theatre entertainer and vocalist recently seen on screens across Australia and NZ on The Voice. Time on screen was followed by a NZ wide tour of The Ten Tenor’s rock spectacle The Power of Ten and glittery moments as Felicia in Priscilla Queen of the Desert the Musical.
Other stage credits include Little Shop of Horrors, High Fidelity, Duet NZ musicals 1938 and 1958, Grease, the Australian / Asian tours of Peppa Pig Treasure Hunt, the NZ production of Hairspray and Vivid Sydney’s Hidden Sydney.
He has taken a break from touring with Burn the Floor’s brand new show Hit it, Spin it, Swing to help welcome Christmas to New Zealand.
“Christmas is about whanau and being together, and there’s nothing better than sharing music to celebrate our community. It’s a complete joy and honour for me to come home and once again perform at Coca‑Cola Christmas in the Park”
Auckland based singer and songwriter Maaka burst on to our music scene in the X Factor NZ’s first season with his soulful rendition of Titanium. Two years on Maaka has produced two EPs, one in English and one in Maori.
One of the songs, Written in the Stars, reflects Maaka’s positive outlook and reminds us we can do great things in life, even the simplest things. His te reo Maori EP Moeke features original tracks and Maaka says, “The English version EP has more of a poppy, EDM feel, whereas the Maori album has a roots-reggae feel.”
Maaka is hugely versatile, in terms of language and music styles which has been a big plus working with the Waatea Music label over the past year.
Maako will have a key role on the big stage at Coca‑Cola Christmas in the Park, as singer and performer and he’ll also don the Santa suit to surprise and delight young fans throughout the show.
Jessie Cassin is an Auckland based singer/songwriter. With a background in professional musical theatre, opera and television, Jess started her career playing lead roles in NZ musicals Sweeney Todd, Evita and High School Musical, alongside which she’s worked with Chapman Tripp Opera Chorus and performed as a session singer. Jess has fronted for Sola Rosa’s Magnetics Tour in Europe. More recently she’s opened for Queens of the Stone Age with Auckland shoegaze originals band ‘Eyes no Eyes’, who recently charted with their single On TV. Recently Jess performed in All is full of Love at Auckland’s Q Theatre.
Twenty one year old Wellingtonian, Ella Monnery recently graduated from Whitireia Performing Arts Centre with a degree in Performing Arts (Singing). She’s currently a member of the internationally renowned performance group The Beatgirls. From age 6, Ella took singing lessons and trained in five different dance styles. Recently she was a special guest at The Beat Girls 21st. She performed at Gray Bartlett’s Variety Artists Club of New Zealand and also performed the national anthem and half-time entertainment for Netball New Zealand.
Ella is extremely excited to be joining the team at Coca‑Cola Christmas in the Park and can’t wait to perform for New Zealand!
All round entertainer Josh Leys grew up in West Auckland playing music throughout his childhood and going on to earn a diploma in music at MAINZ. Whether he’s human beat-boxing, rapping, singing or looping up a storm with his one man band show, Josh has it down pat with his all instrumental live experience. Josh is a full time musician, playing year round in Auckland and Singapore. With an extensive catalog released over the last 9 years we can expect to see much more of Josh’s original work coming up.
Josh says, “Since I was small child, I have dreamed of one day singing on the Coca‑Cola Christmas in the Park stage. I’m so excited to be part of this amazing show!"
Resonate is a vocal harmony group, based in Auckland, and made up of 3 Tongan siblings - Richard, William and Moala plus Richard’s wife Leah and their guitarist Arona.
Their medley of songs from the popular Disney movie Moana catapulted them into the spotlight after it got over 1 million YouTube views in just three days. Since then they have been singing at festivals, corporate events and ceremonies.
Earlier this year they competed on the national cappella singing show The Naked Choir and finished the competition in second place. They have a passion for using their music to spread love and light to all people. Perfect for Coca‑Cola Christmas in the Park!
Originally from the Hawkes Bay, Auckland-based 23 year old Niuean/Kiwi singer, songwriter and recording artist Tommy Nee has been performing up and down New Zealand after the release of his soulful EP Colorblind and a video for Pick up the Phone.
Attracting attention for his original music and song writing capabilities, Tommy has a music degree from Auckland University, he was named Most Promising Pacific Artist at the 2017 Vodafone Pacific Music Awards, and he featured as a finalist in the Best Pacific Artist, up against Savage and Kings.
This is Tommy’s first Coca‑Cola Christmas in the Park and he says, “I am so excited to be in this year’s show. Watching it on TV since I was a young boy and wondering how they managed to fly that Santa Clause through the air always had me amazed. To think I’ll be performing on that actual stage is definitely a huge milestone for me.”
From Tauranga, 19 year old Elijah Taula has a passion for jazz. He has been singing since a young age as a solo act and with his sister Leilani as part of school groups. Elijah won the David Feehan Trophy for the most outstanding young jazz vocalist at the Tauranga National Jazz Festival competitions, placed among the top performers on X Factor New Zealand, and placed third at the national Smokefree Rockquest with his band Ah Jeez.
Recently he has been gigging with jazz combo Plum Jam. He is currently studying Jazz Performance at the Auckland University School of Music hoping to take his passion further, and continue to perform after graduating.
Elijah says, “Appearing at Coca‑Cola Christmas in the Park is a huge opportunity as it gives me valuable performance experience, an opportunity to be heard by a huge audience and to make my family proud.”
Originally from the UK, 29 year old Clare is one of the lead singers for Fifth Element. She also performs with Velour Estate and is there when needed with the Hipstamatics. Clare has travelled the world, having spent over four years singing and performing on cruise ships.
Clare’s career highlights include performing to 16,000 people at New Year in Whangamata, another memorable New Year on a cruise ship on Sydney Harbour, and performing for 4,000 Lions fans during the Lion’s Tour.
Clare is very much looking forward to her Coca‑Cola Christmas in the Park. “It will be an amazing opportunity to collaborate with Auckland’s finest musicians and performers.”
Twenty four year old Sophie has professional experience in theatre and musical theatre, opera and live performance.
She recently performed as Rapunzel in Fortune Theatre’s Into the Woods. Singing the national anthem at the Parker v Ruiz fight at Vector Arena and playing Sandy in GREASE: The Arena Spectacular have been the two standout highlights so far in Sophie’s career.
Performing at this year’s Coca‑Cola Christmas in the Park will be a first for Sophie. “I’ve always been a huge fan and dreamed of being part of the show for such a long time.”
Ness is a Kiwi-born singer, vocal coach, dancer and actor who is passionate about performing.
She has toured the country as a dancer, performed on NZ’s Stars In Their Eyes, does recording work for Bigpop Studios, has featured in TV commercials, performed the national anthem for televised netball, was in a duo with Tami Neilson, and currently fronts her own covers band.
Ness is really looking forward to being a part of Coca‑Cola Christmas in the Park as it brings together music, family and community - a few of her favourite things. Ness has a rich powerful voice and enjoys entertaining a crowd and engaging them with her exuberant sense of humour.
SUPA – SaintzUp Performing Arts was founded in 2009 and is based in Auckland. SUPA is a Community Performing Arts Programme for young people aged 3 - 17 years, working under the vocal and musical direction of the SUPA Co-Programme founder and director Nainz Tapa’i who is one-half of Adeaze.
SUPA have recently performed at Vodafone Pacific Music Awards, Vodafone NZ Music Awards, Silver Ferns Netball, Vodafone Warriors half-time entertainment, and have appeared on various TV shows.
SAINTZ Dance Academy is the nation’s most established Hip Hop Dance Academy since forming in 2006. Lil Saintz Dance Crew, well known in the Hip Hop dance scene, has picked up many accolades and successes along their journey, both nationally and internationally. This year Lil Saintz continues with a new generation of dancers led by the original 2006 Lil Saintz dancers. Saintz Dance Academy is led by Chantelle Huch and her team.
This year sees Aja Tuua (13), Lika Leavasa (15), Peachez Vetenibua (13), Seletute Tu’ima (13), Selevasio Tu’ima (14) and Viliami Va’ai-Tupa’I (12) performing at Coca‑Cola Christmas in the Park in Auckland.
Mikaela “Mouse” Varcoe has been involved with music and the arts since age 7 when she first competed in a talent show.
Performing alongside Kiwi legends in a Play it Strange concert has recently been a massive step in her musical journey. This has given Mouse the opportunity to work with some of the worlds most talented performers.
Mouse says, “Being part of Coca‑Cola Christmas in the Park this year is such a surreal feeling, I feel honoured to be working and growing alongside such a talented cast and seeing where this takes me and my music.”
Year 13 student at Manurewa High School, Nicola Nimo is an award winning musician and dancer, excelling in the performing arts and taking her craft very seriously. Her mature approach to songwriting and performance has gained her numerous awards including a two time Smokefree Pacifica Beats national finalist and a two time winner.
Nicola welcomes the opportunity to perform at Coca‑Cola Christmas in the Park this year. “This will be my first opportunity to share the same stage as so many professional musicians; I’m so prepared and excited for the challenge.
Members of Voices Co. Academy range from 17 to 35 years old and were the winners of TVNZ’s Naked Choir. Recently Voices Co. Academy, a brilliant contemporary acappella group has completed Live in Concert and a variety of corporate gigs, thrilling audiences nationwide with their unique take on ensemble singing. Inspired by the likes of Pentatonix, the Pitch Perfect movies and the burgeoning worldwide a cappella scene, Voices Co. is essentially a vocal-only pop band - every note, beat and sound is created using only the voice!
They say, “Coca‑Cola Christmas in the Park is iconic, it has been a feature in all our lives. It’s so great to see fresh Kiwi talent being showcased and celebrated live and on air every year.”
Twenty one year old Michala Keene was born and raised in Nelson. She has always loved to sing and started vocal lessons with Erica Sim when she was 11 years old. Shortly after starting, she competed in her first performing arts competition, and hasn’t looked back since. She sang in two college choirs and over the years took part in a number of performing arts competitions.
In 2014 she moved to Auckland, attending the Excel School of Performing Arts and winning Top Female vocalist award. In 2015, she joined a team of students on a 21 week national performing tour.
Michala says, “I am really excited to be performing at Coca‑Cola Christmas in the Park in Christchurch. It’s a wonderful chance to share my love of singing and see the joy that music brings to others.”
Originally from Brisbane Nick Hollamby has been a professional jazz singer for over a decade with musical theatre experience in both Australia and New Zealand. Currently Nick is working on a duet album with Australian jazz pianist Viv Middleton, and Songs for a New World, the musical theatre work of Jason Robert Brown.
For Nick, the greatest thrill is performing alongside artists at international festivals but Coca‑Cola Christmas in the Park is also going to be a thrill. “I love Christmas, love music and have heard this show is the highlight of the Christchurch calendar. There is no better way to spend a night.”
Scottish-born “pocket-rocket” entertainer Nyree Huyser, has over a decade’s success in the music industry and is well-known as the little lass with the big voice! She began her career performing in the top European Abba tribute show, AbbaMania, and toured across Europe for 6 years. In 2012 took part in a televised tour of the Philippines. Nyree has toured throughout Europe with her tribute diva show to Celine Dion and her Beyoncé tribute show Get Fierce!
Now based in Christchurch, Nyree is established as one of the city’s top performers, performing at the ICC Cricket World Cup, Netball New Zealand Constellation Cup, Canterbury’s Cup and Show Week, many Crusaders home games and several major festivals. Nyree is thrilled to be performing at Coca‑Cola Christmas in the Park once again, and hopes the audience enjoys the show and has a wonderful Christmas!
Twenty one year old Aporonia has been performing all her life, starting with playing the saxophone before discovering her voice.
Highlights of her career include releasing her video single Mana Tuauku, appearing on Maori TV and voicing Tora Matatoa.
Like so many young artists in past years Aporonia knows what Coca‑Cola Christmas in the Park will be for her, “an amazing opportunity and experience to sing with some great artists.”
Twenty one year old Tiana Haze grew up in the lower South Island. She trains professionally as a developing artist at Nathan Phillips Vocals, where training includes stage performance, vocals, styling and writing. Tiana is currently working on an eagerly awaited EP. Performing at Coca‑Cola Christmas in the Park has always been Tiana’s dream and she can’t wait to perform in Christchurch.
From a young age Victoria has loved to sing and perform, especially if it is to a large audience. She was in the Top 18 of NZ Idol, and in the Top 9 for the MoreFM Telethon audition. Victoria also appeared as Alicia Keys on Stars in their Eyes and sang female lead for Voices Co – Acapella Academy. Eagerly sought as a singer at many Canterbury wedding ceremonies, Victoria has also performed the NZ national anthem at the NZ Greyhound Cup over the past 10 years at Canterbury Cup week and she is part of duo groups Rhymes and Double Entendre. Victoria has written and recorded with Kahu Records in Auckland and is very much looking forward to being part of Coca‑Cola Christmas in the Park in Christchurch.
Singer and songwriter Kyon, formally known as ‘Riley Richards’, has been writing music since the age of 12. Studying music at high school gave him the inspiration to pursue music and singing as a career. Since then Kyon has released two singles funded by NZ On Air, and once of these singles got into a top 40 spot on the NZ charts, got heaps of radio airplay and played on a morning current events show. Kyon has also been doing various gigs throughout Christchurch and, as he continues writing and working on new music, currently with Brad Banks, Kyon is excited to be performing in Christchurch, on the Coca‑Cola Christmas in the Park stage for the first time, saying “it’s a great show for artists with different styles to come together and celebrate Christmas.”
23 year old Samoan born singer Jason Aileone came into the music spotlight as a member of the New Zealand boy band Moorhouse after making the semi-finals of The X Factor and later releasing their self-titled debut LP in 2014.
This is not Jason’s first time on stage at Coca‑Cola Christmas in the Park in Christchurch, first appearing with Moorhouse.
Jason’s skill set has gone from strength to strength performing at events all over NZ and Australia. He has a developing fanbase on social media based off of his soulful powerhouse covers of today’s most recent hits, showcasing his vocal, instrumental and producing ability as an all-round artist. Jason is looking forward to being on the big stage again. “What better way to further entertain the community that has supported us by performing at a special event like Christmas in the Park, 2017. Proving that no dream is too big to achieve!”
Actor, singer and dancer Paul Fagamolo is one of New Zealand’s most versatile performers, with all-round talent that’s taken him on the road with Coca‑Cola Christmas in the Park over the past four years.
Now based in Wellington, Paul was one of the original cast members of Kila Kokonut Krew’s The Factory, performing sell-out shows at the Auckland Arts Festival and the Edinburgh Festival in 2014. If he’s not on stage, Paul’s likely to be busy behind the scenes, with his talents extending to theatre production and stage management.
Iri is an Auckland based singer, songwriter and producer who has collaborated on countless musical projects ranging from performing, writing and recording with original artists Jamoa Jam, Wale Vocals, 2XL and Sola Rosa.
His stunning, soulful vocals have seen him performing on TV, YouTube, at festivals throughout NZ, Australia, Hawaii, USA, Tahiti, Samoa, Rarotonga and at functions for high flying corporate companies from Air NZ, Telecom and Vodafone to Graeme Hart’s super yacht, ‘Ulysses’. He was singer and front man to legendary covers group ‘Black Salt’ from 2002 to 2015. Iri is currently working towards releasing newly arranged compositions he penned with his originals group I.D.
Anna Grahame’s soulful sound has taken her from Tasman to Tinseltown, where she represented New Zealand in the 2016 World Championship of Performing Arts.
Nelson-bred Anna grew up on the stage, with regular performances in choirs, musical theatre productions and local events. Now based in Auckland’s Otahuhu, Anna sings at community and church events, where she enjoys practicing her favourite genre, gospel.
This is Anna’s fifth year as a backing vocalist for Coca‑Cola Christmas in the Park, an event she loves.
After years of performing and touring locally and internationally with the likes of Dane Rumble and Sola Rosa, Ben is fresh from the studio after recording an EP. From a stint in South Africa to touring NZ with Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat this year, Ben is now looking forward to another Coca‑Cola Christmas in the Park that promises to be an action spectacular not to be missed.
Dixon’s 25 year music career has seen him perform with some of New Zealand’s top jazz & pop musicians as a backing artist and session player. His guitar can be heard on a variety of albums, he teaches jazz and regularly hosts guitar workshops. He’s performed with Rufus Wainwright (USA), Andrew Dickeson (Aus), Michel and Shem Benebig (New Caledonia) and New Zealand’s Annie Crummer, Whirimako, Black, Stan Walker, Vince Harder, Ria Hall, Troy Kingi and Rob Ruha to name but a very few. Dixon currently teaches jazz at Auckland University
Trumpeter Mike Booth has maintained a freelance career performing with some of the top talent in New Zealand. Internationally, Mike spent 20 years playing with the Dutch pop band Dzde Dijkdzand, the Dutch Jazz Orchestra, and lectured at the Rotterdam and Alkmaar Conservatories.
Since 2008 Mike has taught at universities in Auckland and Wellington, has co-founded the Auckland Jazz Orchestra, and performs with a wide variety of musicians including Tui Jazz award winners Phil Broadhurst, Nathan Haines, and Rodger Fox. Mike also currently plays with the Walters/Booth project, and the Superhero Second Line Band.
This will be Nick’s fourth Coca‑Cola Christmas in the Park after joining the team in 2014. He cut his teeth joining Midnight Youth in 2008, touring New Zealand and the world extensively for around six years at the same time as picking up three New Zealand Music Awards, an APRA for Most Performed Work award, three top 10 singles and a platinum album for 2009, The Brave’s Don’t Run. Nick brings his playback expertise to the Coca‑Cola Christmas in the Park live experience as well as providing additional keys and percussion.
Rachel has studied with Euan Murdoch, Coral Bognuda and Jim Tennant. She performs with Black Quartet, and has freelanced and recorded with various other chamber groups and a host of NZ’s finest contemporary bands and artists including Broods, Lawrence Arabia, the Blackbird Ensemble and Hayley Westenra.
Pete has performed at jazz festivals and concerts with The Rodger Fox Big Band, Tony Christie, Shane Cortese, Natalie Cole, Randy Crawford, Midge Marsden, King Kapisi, Stan Walker Operatunities and many others.
He has performed in Australia, UK, Europe, Asia and USA as well as performing at the Monterey Jazz festival in the USA and other international festivals.
Dunedin born, Auckland based Charmian Keay comes from a musical family and is currently in demand as a freelance violinist around New Zealand. She performs regularly with the Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra, Auckland Chamber Orchestra, and with the Blackbird Ensemble. She has led a number of chamber music groups including Korutet and most recently the Moonshine Quartet. Charmian has a BMus(Hons1stclass) from Otago University and PGDip from Trinity College London in Performance Violin. “This is my first performance at Coca‑Cola Christmas in the Park. I’m really looking forward to it, I’m sure it’ll be fun.”
Auckland born Sarah McCracken is Assistant Concertmaster with the Christchurch Symphony Orchestra. She studied violin at Victoria University before continuing studies in the Netherlands, and at the Royal Academy of Music in London. Sarah returned to New Zealand in 2009, and before her move to Christchurch, performed with the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra, the Auckland Philharmonia, and held the position of Concertmaster of the NZ Pops Orchestra, and Bach Musica. As well as her position in the CSO, Sarah is an active chamber musician, and enjoys education, and community outreach projects. Sarah is very excited to be performing in Coca‑Cola Christmas in the Park for a 2nd time, and looking forward to a great night!
After graduating from CPIT as a jazz trombonist, Scott began a busy and varied professional career. He worked around the world as a musical director, arranger and trombonist onboard cruise ships for four years, followed by festival and concert engagements throughout New Zealand and the South Pacific.
A real individual solo voice as an improviser coupled with Scott’s formidable reading and interpretation skills in all styles of music ensure he is the first-call trombonist for any setting, from jazz quartet to symphony orchestra. He is also an accomplished composer and arranger and his work has featured in the Symposium Cathedral series, Kiwi Jazz with the Christchurch Symphony Orchestra and the Sumo Jazz album, Throwing Salt, which was a Tui Award finalist for best jazz album of the year in 2011. Scott is currently performing with Salmonella Dub and is Associate Principal Trombone for the Christchurch Symphony Orchestra.
Andrew is a versatile and sought after musician with many years of professional experience as a pianist, singer, instrumentalist and studio artist.
Andrew’s performance and studio credits include iconic New Zealand acts such as The Exponents, Opshop, The Feelers and Nesian Mystik. As a highly successful career musician, Andrew has performed all over the world, including regular engagements in Dubai, Singapore, Australia and the UK. His band Whistlejacket came to acclaim in 2014 with their debut EP Year of The Horse rising to number 4 on the New Zealand music charts. Andrew also hosts his own music TV show on Juice TV’s Chilling with Leys and Key, featuring interviews, reviews and performances with some of NZ’s finest national and international acts.
A late bloomer in the music industry, Isaac Etimani is an exciting, fresh and raw talent progressing on the local music scene.With years of gig experience he has worked and collaborated with some of New Zealand’s finest.
“The passion and desire to learn this instrument came naturally to me in 2004. I spent some time dedicating my efforts to learning my craft.”
Isaac studied at Auckland University as a part time student in Jazz Major to further his knowledge. He began to show huge Groove potential and shot through the ranks in a short amount of timeplaying at some of NZ’s major festivals, also to bass session for Ddub, Sons of Zion, Aradnah, Hypnotics, Adeaze, King Kapisi, Stan Walker, Erikah, The Boom Cat, Moana and the Tribe, Tj Taotua, Rosie and Cydel to name just a few
Mahuia is an Auckland based composer, producer and accomplished violinist. A founding member of The Black Quartet, he has been called to play and produce for a diverse range of artists and ensembles including Laurence Arabia, Maisey Rika, Ladyhawke, Moana and The Tribe, TVNZ, The NZSO, SJD, Kid Kenobi and Hayley Westenra to name a few. In 2016 he took home the APRA best film score award for Lee Tamahori’s Mahana, which adds to the previously won APRA Maioha award and multiple nominations including best film score for Fantail in 2013 and Housebound in 2014. Day to day, you’ll find him in his Point Chevalier studio slaving away over a hot midi keyboard and some finger drums.
Micky is one of the most versatile and respected drummers in New Zealand. He was first introduced to music and drums at age four by his family of musicians. Mickey’s first professional gig came at the age of eight; he continued to learn by playing in clubs and socials and working in various bands. His ardent interest in drums propelled him to seriously study his craft and play whenever he got a chance. His impressive CV has seen him mix it on stage with a variety of musical styles and talents, including Annie Crummer, Betty Anne Monga, Ria Hall, Mark Williams, Nathan Haines, Jonathan Crayford, The Ladykillers, Renee Geyer, When the Cats Away, Sir Howard Morrison, Dame Malvina Major and many, many more.
Dr Joe Harrop studied violin at the University of Auckland and privately in Germany before completing his Master’s degree and PhD at the Royal Academy of Music. He left a successful performing and lecturing career in the UK and returned to New Zealand to take on the challenge of implementing Sistema Aotearoa in South Auckland. Today, the undoubted positive impact of his unique combination of talent and leadership is inspiring new models of social change in Auckland and across the country. Joe is now a professional musician and educator, performing with The Black Quartet and the string duo, Kulios.
Miyo is a freelance violinist in Auckland playing with Auckland Philharmonic Orchestra, Auckland Chamber Orchestra, Opus Orchestra, Manukau Symphony Orchestra, Pipers Orchestra, Hawkes Bay Orchestra, and the Black Quartet. As well as playing, Miyo loves to teach, and has a busy schedule teaching all around Auckland. Miyo is thrilled to be a part of Coca‑Cola Christmas in the Park again this year, and is looking forward to enthralling the audience with another big show.
Jonathan Tanner is a versatile violinist and violist who has recently returned from Master’s studies in Switzerland. He plays regularly in many of New Zealand’s professional orchestras including the Christchurch and NZ Symphony Orchestras and currently teaches 50 students in Christchurch.
Jonathan has extensive chamber music experience and can also improvise and play a wide variety of musical styles including Classical, Irish, Bluegrass and Country. He is just as comfortable playing in an orchestra as a rock or folk band and enjoys playing anything from Mendelssohn to Michael Jackson.
Turanga’s 15-year career includes playing Simba in Disney’s ‘The Lion King’ in Sydney, Melbourne, and China, being the vocal coach for X Factor New Zealand, touring with Guy Sebastian and opening for Beyonce, and performing with Stan Walker on his national tour. He has been Head Choreographer of Christmas in the Park since 2012 and is also a national and world judge for Hip Hop International Australia and World Supremacy Battlegrounds. This year Turanga has been part of reality TV show ‘Voices of our Future’ featuring singing group Maimoa Music, a national talent quest that saw the formation of pop group Te Uruwhetu, and most recently performing with Marcia Hines.
Jason Gunn is one of New Zealand’s premier entertainers. With extensive experience in both television and radio, he has been a household name in New Zealand for over twenty years.
His earlier career (during the 1980’s and 90’s) saw Gunn as the face of children’s television, hosting the long-running shows “After School”, “What Now?” and “Son of a Gunn”.
He went on to host a number of popular shows such as Dancing with the Stars, Wheel of Fortune and The Rich List.
He currently hosts More FMs afternoon Drive show with his ‘Sister from another Mister’ Lana Searle.
He has recently launched his own you tube channel - youtube.com/jasongunn But what he’s most proud of…are his children Eve, Grace, Faith and Louis.
The Entertainment Company has the knack for adding atmosphere and sparkle to any occasion. Established by Sandy Gray 15 years ago as Chant et Danse, they recently relaunched as The Entertainment Company. With a large team of talent on board, The Entertainment Company is more than musical theatre. They bring magic to any event with Brazilian entertainment, aerial artists, showgirls, circus performers, and roaming characters. They keep busy hosting parties, MC’ing events, product launches, and providing icebreakers at conferences.
JK Danceworks is a competitive dance school specialising in Musical Theatre.
Studio director Kirsty Allpress has a wealth of experience in many areas of dance including Tap, Modern Jazz and Musical Theatre. The school is run from the premises of the National Academy of Singing and Dramatic Art [NASDA] Kirsty is also charged with leading the dance program at NASDA. JK Danceworks has had many successes nationally and internationally both with individuals and groups. JK was the first NZ group to win a group section in Battle of the Stars at Showcase Australian National Dance Championships. While it is a competitive dance school JK’s philosophy is not about setting out to win awards but to go out and dance with passion and learn from every performance. JK is very proud to be able to perform on the stage at Coca‑Cola Christmas in the Park and thanks the team for giving them a shot. “It’s a privilege to be a part of such a special and prestigious event.”
Formed five years ago, Reality is a varsity crew from Swarm Studios which has competed at a national level for a number of years. They recently took out 1st place against 17 other varsity crews at the New Zealand competition, Shakedown. Their name says it all. “We believe in making our dreams become reality and helping others make their dreams become reality too.”
Led by an internationally qualified team of tutors, the students at Garden City Dance Academy are immersed in the joy, creativity and expression of classical ballet, jazz and contemporary dance.
This year, twenty five of the Garden City’s best dancers will perform on the Coca‑Cola Christmas in the Park stage. It will be the highlight of a busy year of dancing at festivals, galas and competitions and the girls can’t wait.
The 25 talented dancers from across Canterbury are senior members of Impact’s auditioned troupe - ‘Company Kids’
During the week they take classes in tap, jazz, hip-hop, contemporary, singing, acting and acrobatics - training that’s prepared them for performances on What Now and The Erin Simpson Show.
The dancers have been thrilled to be part of Coca‑Cola Christmas in the Park every year since 2010 and can’t wait to be part of this great event
TribalDiva Belly Dance Company is Christchurch’s premier belly dance troupe who has dazzled crowds from Dunedin to Las Vegas.
TribalDiva Belly Dance Company loves taking its eye-catching style to new audiences and they are very excited to be part of the Coca‑Cola Christmas in the Park’s fantastic line-up for the sixth year running.
LSOD is an award winning studio in Christchurch, now in its 43rd year. The school has continued to win major prizes and awards both nationally and internationally. They recently won the overall Battle of the Teams at the Showcase National Finals at the Gold Coast. Students have also won Showcase Australia Dancer of the Year, as well as a world title in Las Vegas.
Levings frequently take out highest scoring teams and best choreography at events and eisteddfods. Students receive nominations for all dance disciplines and often perform on TV’s What Now. LSOD dancers have a wealth of experience and their dancers are widely known as an extremely talented school regularly presenting outstanding performances.
Zion Studios is a community based dance school in Papanui, Christchurch. Their classes range from preschool to adult and they’re excited to be performing at Coca‑Cola Christmas in the Park for the third time. This year their dance crew ‘Aperture’ competed in Holland for the Hip Hop Unite World Championship after placing second at the Hip Hop Unite National Champs held in Wellington. Their dance group, Shutter, were first place winners for NZCAF Nationals and Most Outstanding Dance Crew for the second year in a row. The group says, “Being involved in Coca‑Cola Christmas in the Park means that we get to showcase our passion and love for the Christchurch community and Hip Hop as a whole.
This is Lakes Performing Arts Company’s first time performing at Coca‑Cola Christmas in the Park and they’re extremely excited to be part of such an amazing event. They have performed at many events throughout the year including the Magic Netball, Maori All Blacks vs Lions and All Blacks vs Argentina games. The newest Rotorua based company of triple threats, are honored and excited to be a part of this year’s Coca‑Cola Christmas in the Park magic.
SAINTZ Dance Academy is the LONGEST SERVING Hip Hop Dance Academy since being established in 2006.
LIL SAINTZ Dance Crew, well known in the Hip Hop Dance Scene. Picked up many accolades & success along their journey, not only Nationally but Internationally. 2011 WORLD Hip Hop Champs Junior Silver Medallists. This year the LIL SAINTZ Name continues with a new generation of dancers and being led by the ORIGINAL 2006 Lil Saintz Dancers. Saintz Dance Academy is led by HOD Chantelle Huch and her team:
Faith Schuster, Anastasia Faaui, William Howling, Moanekah Va’ai, Emma Huch, Cassidy Makiha & Vincent Farane.
Studio 246 is a dance school on Auckland’s North Shore. They have performed at Disneyland, Sky City Breakers and Christmas in the Park 2016. They successfully compete all over NZ and are talented dancers in Jazz, Ballet, Tap and Hip hop. They love performing more than anything else, and are super excited to be part of the amazing family that is Christmas in the Park again this year.
The elite dancers from ACSA eat, sleep, dance, repeat; training to achieve excellence in all dance and performance genres.
2017 has been an incredible year for ACSA, with the talented troupe competing in LA, Australia and New Zealand. However, for the globetrotting young dancers, Coca‑Cola Christmas in the Park is always the highlight of the year and they can’t wait to be back on the stage for the third time.
Colour China Dance Group was set up in 2011. It is the love for dance as well as the love for traditional Chinese culture that brings these working/studying beauties together in their spare time to produce beauty and charm.
Their efforts result in great productions that they are able to show amongst Kiwis and all the ethnics in New Zealand. It is their 4th time to show at Coca-Cola Christmas in the Park.
Current Battlegrounds NZ and Auckland Hip Hop champions, Freshmanz Dance Crew is a collective of urban choreographers and movers who use a fusion of dance, contemporary and cultural movement to tell stories.
Glendene based, the Freshmanz Crew have won four national Hip Hop Championships, cut up the dance floor on Maori Television’s The Stage, performed at countless local events and have ignited the stage at Coca‑Cola Christmas in the Park since 2013.
Candice Frankland is the founder of the multi-award-winning Phoenix Belly Dance. Candice aims to share her knowledge of belly dance and its psychological and physical benefits. This will be the 7th year that Phoenix Belly Dance will be performing at Coca‑Cola Christmas in the Park, and the team is so excited to be a part of this incredible family show again!
Some of the highlights of Candice’s career have been performing and presenting workshops in Turkey, Fiji, Australia, South Africa, and Samoa, as well as featuring in international theatre shows from New York to Los Angeles. She has also led her troupe to win the Jambalaya multi-discipline dance competition, the Viva Eclektika Asia Vision Cup, and the NZ Corporate Event’s Best Entertainment Company Award.
These talented dancers from Taupo range in age from 13-17 years. They study dance under the guidance of principal Carissa Yeoman. Carissa trained at Brent Street Sydney and went on to be a professional dancer and she now has many years of teaching and choreographing under her belt.
The Dance Central troupe is extremely dedicated and passionate about their dancing. Studying after school, the girls participate in a number of dance styles including RAD ballet, AJDA jazz, NZAMD contemporary and Hip Hop.
In 2016 they won the Taupo Society of Ballet and Dance competition and received the PACANZ nomination. A number of dancers from Dance Central were selected to travel to the USA and invited to be back up dancers on Dancing with the Stars.
The Dance Central team says, “We hope you all enjoy our dancing at Coca‑Cola Christmas in the Park as much as we do!”
Norris Studios have been operating for 46 years, training all styles of dance. Their students have won multiple world titles over the years including the prestigious Australian Dancer of the Year (twice) and the Ora Burnett Award in New Zealand. A highlight for Norris Studios was performing one of their most well known choreographic works ‘Origami’ by Kylie Norris, as the dance feature for Coca-Cola Christmas in the Park in 2013. They are looking forward to performing on the big stage again this year.