Ladi6 is renowned for her enigmatic, unique live performances, sublime soulful vocals and hopeful, relatable lyrics. She has cemented herself as the queen of hip-hop/soul and RnB in the New Zealand music scene.
Ladi6 started her musical career as part of New Zealand’s first all-female hip-hop rap group Sheelahroc, from the success of this group Ladi6 was nominated for Best Vocalist/MC at the bNet Music Awards 2003. Her band Verse Two quickly gained a reputation as a top New Zealand live soul/hip-hop band who went on to win the bNet Award 2004 for best new act, toured New Zealand with packed shows and supported international acts such as The Roots, De La Soul and 50 Cent. Ladi6’s touring and collaborations have established her a significant following throughout New Zealand, Australia and Europe.
She has performed at many New Zealand festivals including Bay Dreams, Rhythm and Vines, Splore and Homegrown. She has toured Australia extensively, most recently in 2018 with Grammy nominated American artist Jhene Aiko and supporting incredible international artists such as Erykah Badu in Berlin and Gil Scott Herons last European tour.
She recently toured Europe for six weeks with Fat Freddy’s Drop with sell-out performances across Europe and throughout the UK.
Her vocals feature on standout tracks by some of New Zealand’s finest talent, including Shapeshifter, Scribe, Fat Freddy’s Drop, Avantdale Bowling Club, Julien Dyne and international artists such as top German hip-hop producer and DJ Sepalot, Ninja Tunes 2019 released 20th anniversary album, with remixes in 2018 for her latest award winning released Royal Blue 3000 ep by Detroit legend, Karriem Riggins.
Ladi6s Royal Blue 3000 album won her New Zealand’s Best R’n’B Record of 2017, Best Producer award 2018 and Best Female Artist of the Year at the Pacific New Zealand music awards 2018. Ladi6 is one of New Zealand’s best and brightest.
As they gear up for another huge year, Sons of Zion have just released their brand new single ‘Come Home’. They have well and truly earned their place as one of the strongest forces in New Zealand music. ‘Come Home,’ the first single from a new body of work, sets the bar high for the next chapter in their legacy.
‘Come Home’ follows the hit single ‘Drift Away’ which is now certified platinum in New Zealand and was the #1 most played song on New Zealand radio for 11 weeks running. ‘Drift Away’ was featured on their 2018 album Vantage Point, alongside a slew of their other hits including ‘Leave with Me,’ ‘Now’ and ‘Is That Enough’ (Ft. Aaradhna) which is now certified gold.
From their humble Kiwi beginnings, to playing shows across the globe and dominating charts, Sons of Zion have amassed over 40 million streams on Spotify, more than 20 million views on YouTube and 100,000-plus followers on social media.
Their accolades include NZ Music Award for ‘Best Roots Artist’ in 2018, NZ on Air Best Music Video Award for Superman and nominations for ‘Best Māori Urban Roots Album’, ‘Best Song By A Maori Artist’ and ‘Best Song Writer’ at the Waiata Maori Music Awards.
For members Rio, Sam, Joel, Matt, Ross, and Caleb, it’s a track record that has established them as one the Southern Hemisphere’s most-loved and well-respected bands.
Rising pop star, Nelson-born Robinson, has recently released her new single Don’t Say which is the first track from her forthcoming EP Watching You.
The song was written by Robinson together with Fred Gibson in London and was produced by Sam De Jong.
Robinson recently announced her headline set at London’s Queen of Hoxton, being held in November this year. The show comes after her debut performance at SXSW and The Great Escape festival earlier this year.
In 2018 Robinson’s debut single Nothing To Regret was certified platinum in New Zealand and double platinum in Australia, which has over 80 million streams on Spotify alone. She also received two nominations at the New Zealand Vodafone Music Awards for Breakthrough Artist of the Year and Single of the Year and was revealed as one of Vevo DSCVR’s One’s to Watch 2019 as well as one of YouTube’s Artists to Watch 2019.
Long-time crowd favourite star diva of Coca‑Cola Christmas in the Park, Lavina comes from the super talented Williams family which include J, Emily and Ezra. She’s performed leading roles in hit musicals both locally and overseas including The Lion King’s Shenzi, Deena Jones in Dreamgirls and Motormouth Maybelle in Hairspray.
An experience vocal coach and performance mentor, Lavina has coached many contestants of X Factor NZ. She was the Musical Director of NZ’s first transgender musical People Like Us and now runs her own vocal performance school Vocals With Attitude.
She was recently appointed manager and creative director of the biggest talent TV show in the Pacific, Vocal Fusion, held in Papua New Guinea and run by their biggest network EMTV, now in it’s 7th season.
In 2017, Lavina won New Zealand’s prestigious Benny Award for “Best Female Pacific Entertainer”, was musical director for “Dominion Road The Musical” and performed at the Miss Universe pageant. Lavina established and runs “Lavina’s Find a Feet” campaign helping provide Papua New Guinea families with protective footwear. She was recently appointed a Good Will Ambassador for St. John Ambulance Papua New Guinea.
New Zealand’s Urban/RnB legend Vince Harder is responsible for an array of chart topping songs, three #1 hits, including the timeless house party anthem ‘Everything’ with P Money. Vince has twice won ‘Best Male Artist at the Vodafone Pacific Music Awards, along with ‘Best Urban Artist’ and ‘Best Producer’. He also picked up the APRA Maioha award for writing the Te Reo chart dominating hit ‘Aotearoa’ with Stan Walker and Troy Kingi.
Vince has recently released ‘Love Criminal’, a co-write with Grammy winning Printz Board (Black Eyed Peas) and is available across all platforms. Following hot on the heels of ‘Next to You,’‘Love Criminal’ is the second release from his latest body of work, and brings the party with a throwback to old school funk.
After focusing his craft as a solo artist, Harder soared into the charts last year with ‘Not Gonna Let Go’ followed up by ‘Next To You’ earlier this year which saw heavy rotation on radio and sat in the top 10 for weeks.
Vince has just completed a sold out tour throughout Australia as the special guest artist for chart topper Guy Sebastian, and a solo performance opening the NRL World Cup 9s in Sydney!
Born and raised in Glasgow, Scotland Nyree has over 15 years in the entertainment industry. Her musical journey began touring the UK and Europe as part of the highly regarded Abba tribute group Abbamania. Since her departure from the group she has built her own solo career and starred in a variety of European tribute shows from Celine Dion to Beyoncé and Jessie J. Now happily based in Christchurch, Nyree sings her heart out at events for clients such as the Crusaders, the Rams, Netball NZ, the ICC Cricket World Cup, Riccarton Racecourse and has performed national anthems for both Scotland and NZ. Earlier this year Nyree had the honour of singing back-up for Stan Walker at the Aroha Nui concert in Christchurch and recording with country powerhouse Tami Neilson. She has loved her time starring as a touring cast member in Coca‑Cola’s Christmas in the Park for the last 5 years running and is excited to do it all over again this year!
With a passion for entertaining that goes back to when he first took the stage at age nine, Russell Harrison truly is the "Big Man” of New Zealand entertainment scene. With credits that include Film/Televison/Recording & Radio he has spent his whole career bringing joy to people through his love of music and performance. Still recognised as a Lotto presenter and "Singer of Songs" he now travels the world sharing his talents on cruise ships for Princess, Cunard, P & O. Recently returning back to television as a host on "Kai Safari" Season 4 and 5 he is busier than ever with his groups Russell Harrison and the Brown Brothers , the Howard Morrison Trio and the Rat Pack styled Hit Men.
From singing in talent quests at the tender age of nine to hosting New Zealand’s longest running television game show, Russell has carved out a name for himself in entertainment that is synonymous with fun, enjoyment and pure pleasure.
Ella Monnery is a 23 year-old singer/performer based in New Zealand. “Power-house” entertainer Ella has previously worked with Royal Caribbean Cruise Line International as a featured singer. She currently sings with the well-known New Zealand band Sola Rosa and is also performing with cover bands Ministry of Tone and Rhapsody Music. Most recently Ella was a vocalist for “Synthony” and has just finished touring New Zealand. This year Ella debuted her own Diva Tribute Show to tour around New Zealand and perform as a headline act on cruise ships across the world.
“This will be my 3rd year at Coca‑Cola Christmas in the Park, I can’t wait for this phenomenal show!”
Tom Batchelor is a blues/alternative musician who hails from the Deep South. Based in Dunedin, Tom is the singer/songwriter for a band called Būda. Having cut his musical chops with multiple New Zealand and Australian tours, Tom has performed with some of the country’s leading performers including Eddie Raynor (Split Enz), Rikki Morris, Annie Crummer and many more of New Zealand’s best artists.
Anna Grahame 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 seventh year as a backing vocalist for Coca‑Cola Christmas in the Park, an event she loves to be part of.
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.
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. He performed in the sell-out show The Purple Onion at the 2017 Kia Mau Festival and was also involved in Black Grace’s Crying Menas a vocal tutor. 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.
“This is my seventh Coca‑Cola Christmas in the Park and I’m super excited to be bringing Christmas cheer to New Zealand once again.”
Auckland based Iri, is a 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. This is his third year performing at Coca‑Cola Christmas in the Park.
His soulful vocals have seen him performing at sporting evets, concerts and festivals throughout New Zealand, Australia, Hawaii, Bali, USA, Tahiti, Samoa and Rarotonga.
For over a decade, he was singer and front man to legendary covers group Black Salt. Iri is currently working towards releasing newly arranged compositions he penned with his originals group I.D.
In 2004 Victor Hawkins-Sulfa emerged on the live music scene and quickly made a name for himself as a dynamic performance artist. He has worked predominantly as a session vocalist, backing vocalist and frontman of many different concept bands. Victor is often described as a vibrant, energetic and versatile vocalist who can cross into almost any genre with ease. He is currently recording his first album under the moniker ‘Hawkins’ and expects to release his own original music within the coming year.
Dixon is the Artistic and Musical Director for Coca‑Cola Christmas in the Park, a role he has enjoyed for the last four years.
Based in Auckland, Dixon’s 26 year music career has seen him perform with some of New Zealand’s top jazz and pop musicians, both as a backing artist and session player. He has recorded three albums (2008, 2011, 2013) with the ‘Samsom Nacey Haines Trio’, the first of which was a finalist in the 2009 Jazz Tui of The Year Award.
Dixon currently teaches jazz at Auckland University.
New Zealand born and raised Turanga Merito is the head choreographer for Coca‑Cola Christmas in the Park. During his 20 years in the entertainment business his career highlights include playing Simba in Disney’s The Lion King in Sydney, Melbourne and China, opening for Beyoncé with Stan Walker and executing the role of vocal coach on X Factor New Zealand.
A multi-talented performer himself, he has been head choreographer of Coca‑Cola Christmas in the Park since 2012. Says Turanga, “I’m always grateful for the opportunity to bring the best of New Zealand’s dance community together to celebrate the most wonderful time of the year. We’re all looking forward to another year of love-fuelled Christmas magic!”
Based in Auckland’s Ellerslie, ASCA are a group of elite dancers who successfully compete in local and international competitions.
Their hard work and dedication regularly wins top awards for their solos, teams and groups. They were in the top ten teen groups at Showstoppers Los Angeles, Starpower Circle of Excellence Award and were invited to attend the World Dance Cup in New York City, top group Showcase Auckland plus group, senior, teen choreography awards and numerous solo titles at other competitions.
“One of our calendar highlights is performing at Coca‑Cola Christmas in the Park, being part of the excitement and delivering a magical event to thousands of Aucklanders.”
Located in East Auckland, Carter-Chan Dance, directed by Brigid, Brandon and Cameron Carter-Chan has been one of Auckland’s top dance studios for 30 years. The studio teaches jazz, tap, ballet, contemporary, lyrical, musical theatre and hip hop and specialises in competition and event performance and choreography, where its elite division has won numerous national and international awards.
Brigid is a NZ and Australasian highland and jazz champion, Brandon is a NZ and Australasian tap champion and Cameron is a NZ and Australasian hip hop champion. Together with the rest of their talented faculty, they all bring heart, soul and passion to their students through experience, knowledge and mentoring.
“This is the fifth year we have performed at Coca‑Cola Christmas in the Park. We are super hyped to be bringing the love of dance and performing to the biggest Christmas gig in the country!”
Dance Central is made up of eleven fabulous dancers ranging in age from thirteen to seventeen years old. The girls are experienced performers, enjoying success in numerous dance competitions in the North Island across all genres. The troupe are based at Dance Central in Taupo under the expert guidance of principal Carissa Yeoman. Their hardworking, dedicated group of girls dance after school in a variety of classes including jazz, RAD ballet, contemporary and hip hop. The Competition Jazz group will be competing at PACANZ nationals again for the third year running. The group have thoroughly enjoyed dancing at the Auckland Coca‑Cola Christmas in the Park in both 2017 and 2018 and The Rotorua Lakeside concert 2019.
Introducing the dancers from the Drury Lane Dance and Performance studio in Hamilton. The studio recently celebrated its 50th Anniversary with a spectacular show ‘For the Love of Dance’. With a huge focus on performance, many dancers from the studio are seen out in the community entertaining at various events. These events include rugby pre-match entertainment, promotions, celebrations, demonstrations, competitions, fundraisers and presents the very popular ‘impact’ cabaret every two years. Drury Lane teaches ballet, hip hop, contemporary, tap, jazz, musical theatre, dance body conditioning and performance. “We are very proud to once again be a part of the Coca‑Cola Christmas in the Park celebration”
Dancing Angels is an innovative Sri Lankan Dance group based in Auckland. They are passionate and inspired by all aspects of Sri Lankan traditional dance, contemporary, ballet and Bollywood style performance. The group is led by Nadee Priyadarshani who has more than a decade of rich experience in teaching and choreography. She is a qualified dancer who holds a bachelor’s degree in Performing Arts. Members of the group have a range of talents from Sri Lankan Traditional Kandyan Dance, Bharatha Natyam, Bollywood and free style.
“Dancing Angels look forward to performing at one of the most of popular events in Auckland - Coca‑Cola Christmas in the Park and representing true Sri Lankan spirit in traditional and free style dance here in New Zealand."
The members of NZ Love Dance Troupe love dancing so much they incorporated it into their name. Dance is not only their hobby, it has also become part of their life style. Since forming in 2018, they have been performing regularly and are looking forward to performing at Coca‑Cola Christmas in the Park 2019.
Studio 246 is a dance school on Auckland’s North Shore, where students aged from five to fifty enjoy learning a variety of styles of dance - from ballet, jazz, contemporary to hip hop, lyrical and tap. The students have recently returned from performing at Disneyland, as well as successfully competing at competitions all over NZ throughout the year. This is their fourth Coca‑Cola Christmas in the Park appearance, and is without doubt the highlight of their year. The students are really looking forward to spreading the Christmas joy and performing with other talented artists on the night.
Norris Studios is a dance school based in Papakura, South Auckland. It was established in 1971 and is owned by mother and daughter team Carolyn and Kylie Norris. The studio has had the pleasure of performing at Coca‑Cola Christmas in the Park many times - at least 10 years - and it is always a highlight on their dance calendar. One of the most memorable years for Norris Studios was having their routine ‘Origami’ performed as the dance feature for the show. “We are extremely excited for this year’s show and can’t wait to perform alongside some incredible talent.”
Based in Howick, East Auckland, Red Studio love to dance. Their vision is to empower dancers, support self-expression and maintain the love of dance, while achieving their personal best alongside the passionate faculty of teachers. Five years after forming they have had many incredible experiences, shows and public performances, local and international competitions including Artists Emerge in Canada, HHI Worlds, Body Rock and House of Champions. They are so excited to be able share the stage with the talented cast of Coca‑Cola Christmas in the Park.
Located in Manurewa, South Auckland, Rewa All Stars is a dance crew from Manurewa High School ranging in age from fourteen to eighteen years old.
Eight of their talented dancers will perform the dance styles they incorporate including popping, locking, b-boying, hip hop and krump.
They have recently returned from the World Hip Hop Championships as the first guest school performers where the full crew performed their viral SDNZ Mega Schools item ‘Fresh Outta Rewa’ based on the ‘Fresh Prince of Bel Air’.
“This is our first year performing at Coca‑Cola Christmas in the Park and we are excited for the opportunity to further highlight the positivity that South Auckland youth can do ANYTHING and go ANYWHERE with hard work and dedication”
West Auckland’s premier dance group, Freshmans Dance Crew have a unique flavour that has taken them to national and international success. Freshmans Dance Crew have toured throughout New Zealand, the Pacific, Australia and the USA and have won numerous titles over the last seven years. Freshmans Dance crew have become a key fixture at Coca‑Cola Christmas in the Park having performed for the last six years and they always look forward to a magical evening of Christmas fun.
Colour China Dance Group was formed in 2011 with the aim of developing and performing dances of various Chinese nationalities. Colour China has produced dances based on Yi, Tibet, Sinkiang, Korean and Han cultures and their productions are widely recognized in the Chinese community. It is the love for dance as well as the love for traditional Chinese culture that brings these busy dancers together in their spare time to create beautiful, traditional dance productions which they love to present to Kiwis and all the different ethnicities in New Zealand. Colour China has been a part of Coca‑Cola Christmas in the Park since 2013 and is excited to be involved again.
Catherine is a regular on the musical theatre circuit, and performance highlights, all at Auckland’s Civic Theatre, include RENT (Mark’s Mother), 42nd St (Gladys), Mamma Mia (Ali) and, most recently, Phantom of the Opera (Meg). She has enjoyed a residency in Los Angeles with the legendary John Deaver), she is a film and television actor and she also performs as a classical dancer. Catherine is currently headlining as lead vocalist for Phoenix Cabaret. Catherine is delighted to be returning to Coca‑Cola Christmas in the Park in 2019.
Born and raised in Hamilton 29-year-old Dane has been singing professionally for ten years. His career was launched in 2009 when he was runner-up on Māori Television’s Homai Te Pakipaki and then, in 2012, he was grand finalist on TV ONE’s New Zealand’s Got Talent, reaching the semi-final with his rendition of Whitney Houston’s The Greatest Love of All. Most recently Dean played Aretha, in the smash hit We Will Rock You, the musical spectacular created by Queen and Ben Elton. Dane says that being a part of Coca‑Cola Christmas in the Park is a childhood dream come true. “It will make Christmas time this year truly special.”
Auckland-based, 21 year old, Sam V, is of Rarotongan and Dutch descent. He released his first single for radio when he was 12 and when he began posting videos onto YouTube in 2006 he rapidly became one of the most subscribed musicians in New Zealand. In 2008 he represented New Zealand in the World Championship of Performing Arts winning six gold and three silver medals, the Industry Award and five plaques, including overall Junior Champion of the World. Most well-known for his music video I Just Wanna Love U, featuring choreography by kiwi dance sensation Parris Goebel, Sam V has just released his debut album – I MADE THIS WHILE – which demonstrates his diverse artistry and unique style.
Two brothers Harry and Aj Pualau, along with family friend Junior Tuiloma, all from South Auckland, started performing together during their school days at Papatoetoe High. Today as Brotherhood Musiq they are pursuing their passion for music and their desire to appeal to a diverse audience with a wide range of songs, from soul, R’n’B, old school ‘90s, even a bit of country. On Friday nights the trio’s smooth voices and harmonies can be heard at Andy’s Burger and Bar in Auckland’s Sky City, and to date they have worked with New Zealand music stars like Vince Harder, Stan Walker, Sammy J as well as Swidt, Jessica Mauboy and Smashproof. The friends are determined to become great role models in New Zealand’s very competitive music industry. “From the moment we discovered Coca‑Cola Christmas in the Park, we wanted to be singing on that stage. This year we finally get to be here, sharing the stage with some of New Zealand’s greatest artists! We are very excited!”
James Harvey Gibbons is an Auckland-based vocalist and instrumentalist, who is now in his third year of gigging around some of the city’s top live music venues, primarily performing covers music as a lead vocalist and guitarist in duo or trio bands. As of this year, James has started a solo music career, writing and performing original pop music for himself and other artists, as well as drumming and co-writing in local alternative band ‘Footshooter’. With a debut single in the works, we can expect to hear a lot more of James’s songs early in 2020.
The 2019 winner of Best Pacific Female Artist and Best Pacific Soul/RnB Artist, Razé (Ezra Williams) is the youngest sibling of the talented South Auckland Williams family, which includes 1990’s girl group Ma-V-Elle (Lavina), noughties R’n’B artist J Williams and singer/actress sister Emily. With a Bachelor in Creative Arts, 12 released singles (Not About You, most listened-to release to date) and an EP 4Seasons (with music producer and audio engineer Edy - Eddie Liu) to her credit, she was the opening act for Aaradhna in 2017, performed the half time show for The Silver Ferns vs Australia Constellation Cup and was guest artist on the international live show Miss Universe NZ and TV2’s What Now.
Christchurch-born Samoan singer Silika is finishing her final year of school at Papatoetoe High and now lives in South Auckland.
To date her career highlights are all wins. She was placed first in New Zealand in the Band Category of Smokefree Tangata Beats Band 2019, placed second in the Solo / Duo section of the national Smokefree Rockquest 2019, and placed third in NZ in the Solo / Duo section of Smokefree Tangata Beats 2019. Silika also received the Smokefree Best Vocal Award for both the national and regional finals of Smokefree Rockquest and Smokefree Tangata Beats. In 2018 she won the Solo Vocal Category of Stand Up Stand Out and was runner up in this category in 2019. With her song Mad Men, Silika won the Play it Strange NZ Peace Song Competition in 2018.
Sixteen year old Verity is a young singer songwriter from Ngaruawahia, Hamilton. This year she successfully represented New Zealand at the World Championships of Performing Arts in Hollywood where she won twelve medals for singing, acting and modelling and was awarded a recording contract and a $200,000 scholarship to study at the prestigious New York Film Academy meaning her dream to become a Hollywood star is one step closer to reality. Verity is now furthering her music career in the US with a view to recording her first single early next year. Favourite performances before the World Championships have been Coca‑Cola Christmas in the Park in 2018, a special children’s Christmas party which she headlines and a Variety kids performance at Sky City in Auckland.
Keshia was born in South Africa in 1984 and started singing in her church as a four year old.
She recently played the lead role, Deloris van Cartier in the musical Sister Act and just some of Kehsia’s past accomplishments include her nomination for The NZ Songwriter of the Year in 2009, her placement in the top nine performers on New Zealand Idol (TVNZ) and performing as an opening act for SoulFest. Keshia has played lead roles in stage shows, The Sound of Music and Cinderella and she has fulfilled numerous contracts in Japan as the Hotel New Akao’s lead entertainer. As an actress and dancer, songwriter and singer Keshia’s energy and charisma will light up the stage at Coca‑Cola Christmas in the Park.
Firefly Belly Dance is Christchurch’s premier fusion belly dance troupe. Known around the country for their creativity and innovation they enjoy presenting their unique belly dance style to audiences big and small and are looking forward to joining Coca‑Cola Christmas in the Park for the eighth year running!
Silhouette Studios NZ was officially opened in January 2017 by Adagio dance duo act Lei’ataua and Kate Limuloa who were runners up on New Zealand’s Got Talent 2013. With a major focus on boys dance, they provide a perfect venue for male dancers to learn within their carefully designed ‘boys dance development program’. Their mixed junior performance squad is excited to take the stage this year and perform for the Christchurch audience once again.
Ranging in ages from 11 – 16 years, Empress Dance Crew is a young all female advanced hip hop crew based in Christchurch, specialising in entertaining and performing at events and gigs.
Formed in July 2018 they continue to grow, flourish, gain exposure and demonstrate their passion for dance and entertainment.
Career highlights include filming for international and American travel show Samantha Brown Travels, competing in the Hip Hop Regionals in Christchurch and being part of community events such as Children’s Day, HoliFest, Flash Mob for Mental Health Awareness Week, Fun Palaces and Fit Aotearoa: Fitness Expo 2019.
“Coca‑Cola Christmas in the Park is a great event that promotes community, joy and fun. Being part of such a successful Christmas celebration means we get to share our passion of dance and music publicly, as well as experience Christmas fun with the community coming together.”
Established in 2011 Anneliese Gilberd Academy is a boutique pre-professional classical ballet and contemporary dance school in based in Christchurch. Anneliese joined the Royal New Zealand Ballet Company aged 17 years and continued her career dancing and performing throughout NZ, Australia, Europe and America for the next 15 years. Since opening AGA Anneliese has graduated over twenty full time students into higher level dance institutions and companies around the world. Her graduates are now employed with the Royal New Zealand Ballet, Western Australian Ballet Company, Victorian State Ballet Company and Hong Kong Ballet among others. Her experience as a performer with the Royal New Zealand Ballet puts her in a unique position to coach her students in a company style, immersion environment. AGA is thrilled to be taking the stage and performing at Coca‑Cola Christmas in the Park.
Now in its 44th year, Levings is an award-winning studio in Christchurch, the school has won the major prizes and awards-both nationally and internationally for dance.
Most recently at the Showcase National finals in the Gold Coast they won overall in Battle of Stars as well as the award for Top Studio and Top Studio Director, which won a trip to Portugal. Other major awards have been Dancer of the Year titles being taken out in NZ, Australia and America.
“Our students love and are extremely grateful for the opportunity of being a part of “Coca‑Cola Christmas in the Park and are excited to be performing for the people of Christchurch in such a magical event”
Studio42 is a Christchurch based performing arts school. Their elite dancers are a mixture of ages and trained in musical theatre, hip hop and contemporary. They have performed at numerous different concerts and events in the past couple of years including Coca‑Cola Christmas in the Park.
The Garden City Dance Academy performance group consists of twelve dancers aged nine to thirteen. These dancers are trained in classical ballet and contemporary or jazz dance. They dance in a range of performances throughout the year, including the GCDA annual production, as well as performing regularly in the Christchurch Ballet Society Evening of Dance, dancing in 298 Charity Dance Gala and Coca‑Cola Christmas in the Park, which is always the highlight of their year.
JK Performing Arts is a competitive dance school specialising in musical theatre. Studio director Kirsty Allpress brings a wealth of dance 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] and has enjoyed national and international success as individuals and groups. JK was the first New Zealand group to win in Battle of the Stars at Showcase Australian National Dance Championships. JK currently hold the title of NZ’s Top Group from the New Zealand Dance Awards.
The group has previously performed at Coca‑Cola Christmas in the Park in 2017 and 2018 and says it was a great opportunity for our students to meet other local dancers, work with so many industry professionals and perform in front of a massive live audience.
The young dancers in this group are members of Impact’s Company Kids. This group is selected through auditions and they enjoy taking part in a variety of performances throughout the year. During the week, they take classes in tap, jazz, ballet, hip-hop, contemporary, singing, acting and acrobatics. Company Kids have appeared on TV’s What Now and The Erin Simpson Show as well as staging the musicals Honk, The Little Mermaid and Madagascar as part of Kidsfest. They often perform at Caroline Bay as part of the summer celebrations. The dancers are thrilled to have been part of Coca‑Cola Christmas in the Park since 2009.
Rangi Ruru Girls School’s Elite Dance Company is made up of students ranging from Year 9 to Year 13. Members train hard every week and are dedicated to performances, competitions, festivals and productions. As a group they perform in their school Performing Arts Showcase, Evening of Dance and Prize Giving. In both 2018 and 2019 they were awarded top prizes at the National Dance NZ Made competition for both groups and soloists. Many of the group have also performed in productions such as High School Musical and West Side Story.
Originally from Rolleston, 19-year-old Evile now lives in Christchurch and this year he felt hugely privileged to perform along some of Aotearoa’s finest performers at the Christchurch You Are Us/Aroha Nui concert in April.
This was certainly a career highlight for Evile, placing first in the Christchurch Smokefree / Tangata Beats 2018 and taking part in the National Final in Auckland. Evile regularly performs his own music at community events and makes original music with Whitebait Media.
Originally from Taumarunui, 21-year-old Jack is currently in his third year at The National Academy of Singing and Dramatic Arts (NASDA). He is passionate about performing in musicals and festivals.
His show credits include Wellington’s International Pride Festival, An Evening of Rodgers and Hammerstein Classics, performed at the Isaac Theatre Royal, West Side Story (PATI) and Fiddler on the Roof (NASDA).
Jack is back for his second year on stage at Coca‑Cola Christmas in the Park and says “I am so excited be back in the Park to perform alongside some of New Zealand’s most exciting talent, at such an iconic event.”
Raised in Christchurch, seventeen-year-old Cashmere High School student Ryan has been singing since she was 11 and she is passionate about her music. Her current vocal coach internationally acclaimed singer, songwriter and music mentor Sasha Vee (SOLE music academy) is helping Ryan develop her music and song writing talents. Recently Ryan sang her special song This Is Who We Are for Christchurch, in Christchurch at the You Are Us - Aroha Nui vigil and participated in the Christchurch March for Love and Strike 4 the Climate.
Ryan says being chosen to sing at Coca‑Cola Christmas in the Park is a huge honour. “It has been a dream since I was little. I couldn’t have asked for a better opportunity.”
Earlier this year half-Kiwi, half-Irish performing artist Eden made it to the blind auditions of The Voice UK, stunning the audience with her rendition of They Just Keep Moving the Line. While she didn’t receive a chair turn, she created a media storm and reaction from global fans was ‘insane’. This year Eden also performed at Miss Universe New Zealand.
In 2009, legendary Irish musician, songwriter and record producer Phil Coulter told Eden, “the delivery of your song was impeccable, you’re a great find and I was blown away by your performance”.
Eden graduated with a Performing Arts degree from Whitiriea Performing Arts in 2017. A real graduation highlight was a standing ovation for performance of I, Who Have Nothing (Smokey Joes Cafe) that was described as ‘raw and spine tingling’ by Theatreview. Eden is currently working on her imminent EP launch.
An experienced performer, Christchurch-based Bex has been singing in cover bands in New Zealand and overseas for many years and loves writing her own music. A finalist in the TV series Showstoppers she went on to the UK where she spent four year singing with bands. Today, Bex is part of an acoustic duo as well as a member of a three piece wedding band.
In May she supported Stan Walker at the You Are Us / Aroha Nui concert, and experience she describes as uplifting. Bex is currently working with Downtown Band aiming to produce eight original songs before 2020. This will be the second Coca‑Cola Christmas in the Park for Bex who says “singing again at this special event is a dream come true.”
Rotorua born 24-year-old Jade Tait has been singing since she was 16 years old, is passionate about singing and declares herself a pop soul singer through and through.
Jade has performed as backing vocalist with Ginny Blackmore and Stan Walker and recently performed at WISH in Christchurch. Jade released her first single ‘Higher’ this year and her debut EP, which she has worked on with Marley Sola, will be released by the end of this year. Jade is looking forward to performing alongside Marley at this year’s event. “Singing at Coca‑Cola Christmas in the Park is an amazing opportunity and wonderful experience. I feel honoured to be back again.”
Jacob Richards has been writing songs and performing music for nearly a decade. The 23-year-old is not only a talented singer, 23-year-old Jacob is also a skilled musician who plays the guitar, ukulele and piano. A career highlight was recording a song with Brad Bank which reached the top 50 on the New Zealand charts and NZ on Air funded the video which was released in 2016.
Jacob has also been doing various gigs throughout Christchurch and he continues writing and working on new music. Jacob is excited to be performing on the Coca‑Cola Christmas in the Park stage for the third time.
Christchurch-based singer, 19-year-old Samuela Tatofi was born in Aotearoa to Tongan parents and he has been singing since the age of four. Samuela loves performing musical theatre, RnB, soul and jazz. In his first year studying at the National Academy of Singing and Dramatic Art (NASDA), Samuela also sings in a jazz band called The Sideling Swings and plays gigs around Christchurch throughout the year.
“I have only ever dreamed of performing on a big stage and it’s going to be an honour to perform at Coca‑Cola Christmas in the Park. It will be the biggest highlight of my life to date, getting to meet and sing alongside some very talented people”
Christchurch based Sophie Tanner studied performance cello in Auckland before completing postgrad studies in Wellington. Performing has taken Sophie on tours to the UK, to festivals in Australia and Canada, across the Pacific and to the US as a cruise ship entertainer. Since returning to NZ after working in Europe and London, Sophie has enjoyed freelancing with the Auckland Philharmonic, Hawkes Bay Orchestra, Christchurch Symphony Orchestra and NZSO.
Trumpeter Mike Booth has enjoyed a freelance career performing with many of the nation’s best known artists. He currently teaches jazz trumpet at Auckland University.
Versatile in jazz, pop and classical, Mike spent 20 years in Europe with the Dutch pop band de Dijk and lecturing at conservatories in the Netherlands. He performs and tours regularly with a wide variety of musicians, notably the Auckland Jazz Orchestra, Tui Jazz award winners Phil Broadhurst and Rodger Fox.
This is Nick’s sixth year with Coca‑Cola Christmas in the Park having joined the team in 2014. He cut his musical teeth as a member of Midnight Youth spending six years touring nationally and internationally. During this time the band picked up three New Zealand Music Awards, an APRA for Most Performed Work, had three top 10 singles and a platinum album for 2009’s The Brave Don’t Run. Nick brings his expertise and experience of playback to the Coca‑Cola Christmas in the Park live experience as well as providing additional keys and percussion.
Based in Auckland, Peau has freelanced with various theatres, classical groups and artists such as Broods, Six60, ENZO, Rod Stewart, Josh Groban and Lawrence Arabia. Peau teaches at Sistema Aotearoa, using orchestral music making as a model for social change in South Auckland’s Otara. This will be Peau’s ninth year performing at Coca‑Cola Christmas in the Park.
Known as a talented and accomplished trombonist in a wide variety of genres, Scott’s reputation has made him the player of choice for numerous ensembles in New Zealand and overseas. He has worked as musical director, arranger and trombonist on cruise ships and has played festival and concerts throughout New Zealand and the South Pacific. Scott has performed with Diana Krall, Little River Band, Hayley Westenra, Dalvanius, Holly Smith to name just a few. He is currently Associate Principal Trombone for the Christchurch Symphony Orchestra and performs regularly with the iconic New Zealand band Salmonella Dub.
Christchurch based Jonathan Tanner is a versatile violinist, violist and teacher. He completed his Bachelor of Music and post-graduate Diploma in Wellington before travelling to Switzerland, studying and gaining his Master’s degree from Bern University of the Arts. After returning to New Zealand, Jonathan began teaching, working with many of the country’s professional orchestras and performing regularly with the Christchurch and New Zealand Symphony Orchestras. Jonathan plays a wide variety of musical styles including classical, Irish and Bluegrass and enjoys improvisation. He loves to play outside the classical genre and is equally comfortable in a rock or folk band.
Mahuia has written and produced music for film, television, advertising and some of New Zealand’s top music artists from Maisey Rika through to Tom Scott. He has collaborated with many award-winning film directors including Lee Tamahori, Steve Ayson and Roseanne Liang. He scored the feature films Mahana, Housebound and Fantail, all of which were nominated for major music awards, with Mahana taking out APRA Best Original Music In A Feature Film in 2016.
Mahuia is also an accomplished violinist and arranger and holds a Master of Music degree in the field of Violin Performance.
He is the founder of The Black Quartet and has worked with the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra, the Auckland Philharmonic Orchestra, WOMAD, the NZ Music Awards, TEEKS, Broods, Ladyhawke, Six60, Lawrence Arabia and Tiny Ruins.
Playing and recording with locals and legends alike, Ben has established himself as a versatile, reliable, tasteful, and in-demand sideman, bringing both electric and upright chops to the table, and adding his vocal abilities to the mix. Not just a sideman, he has also developed a truly unique voice on his instrument, which sets him apart in his improvisation, soloing, and composition.
After many years on the road performing, recording and touring locally and internationally, not to mention the five Coca‑Cola Christmas in the Park performances under his belt, Ben is primed and ready for another EPIC party that will showcase his electric stage presence and unique musicality.
Pete has performed regularly at jazz festivals and concerts with top local and international acts including The Rodger Fox Big Band, Tony Christie, Shane Cortese, Natalie Cole, Randy Crawford, Midge Marsden, King Kapisi, Stan Walker and many others. He has performed at international festivals in Australia, UK, Europe, Asia and the USA.
A late bloomer in the music industry, Isaac Etimani is an exciting, fresh and raw talent on the local music scene. With years of gig experience he has worked and collaborated with some of New Zealand’s finest.
Isaac studied at Auckland University as a part time student in Jazz Major to further his knowledge. He began to show huge potential and quickly shot through the ranks playing at some of New Zealand’s major festivals, also to bass session for Ddub, Sons of Zion, Aradnah, Hypnotics, Adeaze, King Kapisi and Stan Walker to name just a few.
Following her performance violin degree with first class honours from Auckland University, Jess Hindin successfully auditioned for the internationally touring world music stage show ‘Barrage’, based in Alberta, Canada. After almost six years of extensive touring, encompassing five continents and multiple international television appearances, she returned home to continue a career as a freelance musician performing in New Zealand and internationally, with various shows and bands.
In 2016 Jessica was appointed Music Director of Sistema Aotearoa, an orchestral musical/social intervention program in South Auckland bringing free musical education to over 400 children weekly. Jess retains an active professional performing career and regularly records and performs for artists across various musical genres, and for television and movie soundtracks. Her work encompasses classical, gypsy, jazz, world, country and Celtic music.
Iselta grew up in Christchurch in a musical family. She studied performance violin at Wellington’s Victoria University and at the Hochschule für Musik Köln/Wuppertal.
Iselta began playing the viola ten years ago, performing with the Auckland Philharmonic and NZ Barok. She has performed with the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra, the Auckland Chamber Orchestra, Black Quartet, Christchurch Symphony Orchestra and many other groups. Iselta recently moved back to Christchurch after a 23 year absence and she’s enjoying rediscovering her roots.
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 Kiwi acts such as The Exponents, Opshop, The Feelers and Nesian Mystik.
A successful career musician, Andrew has performed all over the world, including regular engagements in Dubai, Singapore, Australia and the UK. His band Whistlejacket found fame in 2014 when their debut EP, Year of The Horse, made it to number 4 on the New Zealand music charts. Andrew hosts his own music show on Juice TV’s Chilling with Leys and Key, featuring interviews, reviews and performances with some of New Zealand’s finest national and international acts.
A graduate of the prestigious University of Auckland School of Music, he now teaches pop piano here. Andy is the Associate Musical Director for Coca‑Cola Christmas in the Park and also holds the role of musical director for the NZ Film Awards.
Based in Auckland, Miyo is a freelance violinist. After completing her B.Mus degree with honours from Victoria University, she now plays with the Auckland Philharmonic Orchestra, Auckland Chamber Orchestra, Auckland String Group, Hawkes Bay Orchestra, and the Black Quartet. 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!
Considered one of New Zealand’s most versatile and respected drummers, Mickey was first introduced to music and drums at just four years old and he began his professional career at the age of eight, working with various bands playing in clubs and at socials. A passionate drummer at a young age, Mickey started to seriously study his craft and played whenever he got a chance. His professional CV to date has seen Mickey 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 and 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.
JMac is a father of 4 and husband to one. He lives on a lifestyle block in the middle of nowhere. Loves spending time with the his kids, and loves aviation and holds a pilot’s licence. He ‘s a keen hunter and loves the great outdoors. He’s obsessed with food and loves a good red wine.
As a kid JMac worked at McDonald’s, then worked at the Rock for 12 years and now is breakfast host of MoreFM.
A self-confessed tomboy, More FM presenter Lana loves cars and doing skids, she hates dressing up but always manages to scrub up well. She hates spiders, has a tattoo of Northland on her foot and prefers jandals over shoes. She loves a good pub quiz, loves road trips with her friends, likes a drink, loves anything free, enjoys the movies and loves concerts, especially Coca‑Cola Christmas in the Park.