Heralded as one of the finest soul and R’n’B voices to emerge from Australia and New Zealand, Stan Walker is a voice that charms every playlist. Not only has Stan earned six gold and four platinum singles as well as a double platinum and a triple platinum single in New Zealand across five studio albums, he’s collected eight New Zealand Music Awards along the way. He’s won the Waiata Māori Award for Radio Airplay Record of the Year five times, in 2010, 2011 and then three consecutive years in a row. He is a talented song writer and composer and the creative director and director of his music videos. In 2018 Stan released his self-titled EP, Stan, celebrating his triumph over cancer.
Stan’s live performances are legendary, as well as headlining his own national tours, Stan has shared a touring stage with Beyoncé, Nicki Minaj, Chris Brown, Ciara, Jay Sean, Travie McCoy, Ja Rule, Akon, The Exponents and Jessica Mauboy.
Stan is also an actor with six motion pictures and one short film, Mt Zion, Born To Dance, Hunt For The Wilderpeople, Poi E, The Stolen, Chasing Comets and Nerds In Love.In addition to his passion for music and film, Stan is a leading humanitarian and is a staunch advocate for Māori/Pacific and Indigenous people best represented in the stunning video for ‘New Takeover’, and his work on the track ‘Aotearoa’.
Stan’s other leading role as an Ambassador for the Youthline and Coca‑Cola New Zealand’s Good2Great program. Stan is looking forward to joining his friends and whanau once again on the Coca‑Cola Christmas in the Park stage.
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.
In 2017, Lavina won New Zealand’s prestigious Benny award for “Best Female Pacific Entertainer”, she was musical director for “Dominion Road The musical” and performed at the Miss Universe pageant. Lavina founded and runs Lavina’s “Find a Feet” campaign helping provide Papua New Guinea families with protective footwear. She was appointed a Good Will Ambassador for St. John Ambulance Papua New Guinea.
Vince Harder is undoubtedly one of Aotearoa’s most talented performers. Over the past decade he’s been involved in song writing, production, artist development, management and musical theatre. Raised in West Auckland, Vince grew up surrounded by music. At 21 he landed the role of Simba in the Australian stage production of The Lion King and while over there he entered the first season of The X Factor Australia.
Vince has had three #1 hits and has twice won Vodafone’s Best Male Artist, along with Best Urban Artist and Best Producer. He also picked up the APRA Maioha award – which celebrates excellence in popular Māori composition, for writing the Te Reo-chart dominating hit ‘Aotearoa’ with Stan Walker and Troy Kingi, which also features Ria Hall and Maisey Rika.
Most recently Vince appeared on the viral hit ‘Wowwee (No Words, Just That)’with inspirational speaker and social media phenomenon William Waiirua, as well as on the Christmas track ‘Waiirua Christmas’.
Vince continues to appear in hit musicals including a lead role in Jersey Boys and starred alongside Lucy Lawless in Pleasuredome.
Vince is a touring member of Australian hip hop trio Bliss’n’ Eso and supported Ed Sheeran’s record breaking Australian tour. He’s shared the stage with artists such as Kanye West, Nas, Fat Boy Slim, Guy Sebastian and many more. Through his label HMG (Harder Music Group) he continues to release and mentor rising stars and has recently released ‘Sugar Coated’ taken from his upcoming EP, Colours.
At age six, Wellingtonian Ella Monnery started singing lessons and trained in five different dance styles. Now 22, Ella recently graduated from Whitireia Performing Arts Centre with a degree in Performing Arts majoring in Singing. She’s a member of the internationally renowned performance group The Beat Girls and was a special guest at The Beat Girls 21st. She performed at Gray Bartlett’s Variety Artists Club of New Zealand and also performed for Netball New Zealand.
“I’m really delighted to be back in New Zealand performing at Coca‑Cola Christmas in the Park again” says Ella.
Tom Batchelor is a blues/alternative musician who hails from the Deep South. Based in Dunedin, Tom is the singer and songwriter for his band Bad Panda and also one quarter of the band The River Jesters. 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.
Scottish-born “pocket-rocket” entertainer Nyree Huyser, has over a decade’s success in the music industry and is known as the little lass with the big voice. She began her career performing in the top European Abba tribute show, Abba Mania, and toured across Europe for 6 years and 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 Cup, Show Week and many major festivals. “I’m so thrilled to be performing at Coca‑Cola Christmas in the Park once again. I hope the audience enjoys the show and has a wonderful Christmas.”
Christchurch born Marley Sola, is a young singer/songwriter and self-taught producer/engineer and musician. He was raised in a musical family and his uncle was part of iconic New Zealand band Salmonella Dub. Marley’s music is an eclectic blend of modern pop, R’n’B fused with soul and hints of gospel. He has performed with some of the country’s best and has released 6 singles and videos and a self-titled E.P.
He is now working on his second E.P which he is excited to release soon. This is Marley’s third performance at Coca‑Cola Christmas in the Park.
Mikey is a huge supporter of Santa and he loves Christmas. The performer and personality who first rose to fame as frontman for early 90’s chart topping rock band Push Push, has never stopped entertaining. On stage he’s played Eddie and Dr Scott in The Rocky Horror Picture Show and delighted sold-out audiences hosting gameshow ‘It’s In The Bag”.
As a creator and presenter onscreen he has made over 300 episodes of legendary TV and has also found time to make ads, run bars and let off lots of fireworks. As a nightclub DJ he has played with international superstars and travelled the world. As a radio DJ he is a fearless and world class interviewer. Every weekday morning his voice and musical choices blow up the Auckland airwaves as Breakfast Show host on Radio 95bfm. He loves to sing and after a wildly successful reunion of his band last year, Mikey is looking forward to showcasing his pipes for the audience at Coca‑Cola Christmas in the Park.
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.
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 six 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 sixth Coca‑Cola Christmas in the Park and I’m super excited to be bringing Christmas cheer to New Zealand once again.”
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 sixth year as a backing vocalist for Coca‑Cola Christmas in the Park, an event she loves to be part of.
Based in Auckland SAINTZUP Performing Arts was founded in 2009. SUPA is a Community Performing Arts Programme for young people aged 3 - 17 years old. The majority of TONE6 members have been part of the SAINTZUP Performing Arts programme under the vocal and musical direction of the founder and director Nainz Tupa’i who is one-half of ADEAZE.
TONE6 consists of six Pasefika young people who have a genuine love for sharing positive music and positive vibes.
This year sees Aja Tuua (14), Lika Leavasa (16), Peachez Vetenibua (14), Seletute Tu’ima (13), Selevasio Tu’ima (15) and Viliami Va’ai-Tupa’I (13) performing at Coca‑Cola Christmas in the Park in Auckland.
20 year old Sammy V has been performing since the age of 2 and first performed in Coca‑Cola Christmas in the Park as part of a quartet in 2009. He has worked with many different record labels and collectives since he was 12 and released his first single on radio at just 14 years old. Since then Sammy V has been developing his sound and striving to create music which can transcend multiple genres including R’n’B, hip-hop, jazz, neo soul and pop. He worked with Parris Goebel and the Royal Family on his music video and has been travelling overseas to pursue his passion for music.
“I am looking forward to what should be an absolutely jovial occasion, collaborating and working with some of New Zealand’s finest muso’s and creatives at Coca‑Cola Christmas in the Park.”
Originally from Hamilton, Shae Snell has spent most of his life performing in various musical productions. For the last ten years he has been a full time cover musician in Auckland. Now based in Takapuna, Shae currently works as a vocal coach at Debase Music Centre and is furthering his studies to become an even more accomplished vocal coach.
“It has been many years since I’ve been part of such a huge production. It’s inspirational to be involved in a show so deeply rooted in Kiwi history and it’s fantastic that Coca‑Cola Christmas in the Park makes such a great contribution to charity.”
David Wall is a music teacher at Reporoa College in Taupo and frequently works off shore as a wedding singer for Vanuatu Resort. David has been a guest on I AM TV and was a grand finalist for Wannabes TV 3’s Wannabes. He was also was a grand finalist for Maori Televison’s Homai te pakipaki. David has had many career highlights including being a support act for Katchafire, Tiki Taane, Three Houses Down, J Boog and Ardijah.
David says “To be given the opportunity to be involved in one of New Zealand’s biggest musical productions which I’ve grown up watching, would be an incredible experience. It is such an amazing opportunity to perform alongside such talented entertainers and industry professionals at Coca‑Cola Christmas in the Park.”
Fiji born Roland Williams was the lead singer in the band One2Eight. His Motown soul vocals have seen him performing alongside the great Stan Walker and he has performed at numerous awards ceremonies including singing the national anthem for the Silver Ferns. He was the winner of Maori Television’s Homai te pakipaki and also participated in New Zealand’s Got Talent. Roland currently performs with Ministry of Tone at Auckland’s Sky City.
“My family love attending Coca‑Cola Christmas in the Park and I’m excited to perform alongside such a wide range of gifted musicians and vocalists.”
Thirteen year old Janayah has a passion for singing and performing and already has a wealth of experience under her belt. She has been training with legendary singer and vocal coach Suzanne Lynch since she was 9 years old and her strong vocal presence has her tagged as ‘one to watch’.
Janayah has performed as a soloist at a number of venues including the 2015 and 2016 APPA music festival and she’s played lead roles in a variety of musical theatre. Janayah is a member of North Shore Broadway Squad, has performed on Sticky TV’s Your Thing and was involved in the recording of a new theme song for TVNZ’s Kids Zone. Winner of BIS IDOL singing competition (also won by Lorde in 2009) Janayah is the only student to have ever won this competition two years in a row. Most recently Janayah won the Takapuna Grammar School’s Talent Show. This will be Janayah’s first appearance at Coca‑Cola Christmas in the Park.
Originally from the UK, 15 year old Verity Howells lives in Hamilton. She enjoys singing at community events throughout the Waikato and is currently working on her first album of original songs.
She won the cast award for best vocals at the National Junior Theatre celebration and the All Stars award. Recently Verity headlined International Children’s Day in Hamilton. Verity plans to spend the next 12 months working hard to take her performing career as a singer and actress to the next level.
“Coca‑Cola Christmas in the Park is an excellent opportunity to gain national exposure as a singer and I’m very excited for this opportunity.”
13 year old Skye-Lily Pokai is from Welcome Bay in Tauranga. She enjoys singing and has performed solo at Baycourt Theatre and in many other musical productions. An avid dancer, Skye-Lily has also been involved in Show Quest, Road Quest and is part of the Elite Performing Arts Programme at Mount Maunganui College.
“I am excited to perform at Coca‑Cola Christmas in the Park on stage in front of all the people and sharing the experience with all the other performers. Coca‑Cola Christmas in the Park is my most standout career highlight.”
19 year old Rachel Cammell is a second year student studying Popular Music at the University of Auckland. She regularly sings at weddings as well as at large events such as Easter Camp. She is involved in a jazz/funk band Taipapa Road Band and often performs her own original songs. Rachel recently opened for the Waiheke Music Video Awards, performing in front of 3000 people and is currently working on an EP to be released in 2019.
“Performing at Coca‑Cola Christmas in the Park has always been a dream of mine, having been every year since I was a kid. It is an amazing opportunity and an honour to be a part of such an incredible event.”
Aucklander Geena Hutton originally performed as a dancer at Coca‑Cola Christmas in the Park at just 11 years old and since then has wanted nothing more than to sing on the big stage. She has performed as Pepper in the Westend tour of Annie at Auckland’s Civic Theatre and recently performed at the Diwali and Holi Festivals.
Geena is currently working on multiple stage shows including playing Sandy in Grease and as a member of ABBA. Geena is also involved in fundraising for Shakespeare Global Centre New Zealand and has been awarded a scholarship to take part in the annual “Broadway Dreams” showcase in New York.
“Finally having the opportunity to sing at Coca‑Cola Christmas in the Park is a massive childhood dream come true for me. It will be the biggest career highlight so far.”
Le ART was formed in 2013 when founding members Anastasia Sirila, Rosetta Lopa and Tiresa Fomai were at Brandon Intermediate School. That same year, they entered and won the Junior prize at a regional talent quest.
Currently students at Porirua College, Le Art perform at various events including weddings, charity events and concerts and have performed the national anthem at various national basketball finals and at the Prime Ministers Pacific Youth Awards. Their first names make up the A.R.T. in Le ART, Anastasia, Rosetta and Tiresa. This will be Le ART’s first performance at Coca‑Cola Christmas in the Park.
Following their success as the winners of last year’s reality TV show The Naked Choir, aca-pop group Voices Co’s unique spin on pop hits has made them regulars on the local and national entertainment circuit.
Inspired by the likes of Pentatonix, the Pitch Perfect movies and the burgeoning worldwide acappella scene, Voices Co. Academy was launched in Christchurch just three years ago and is New Zealand’s first programme specializing in pop a cappella training.
Since then the Academy has launched a full range of classes and ensembles for all ages and stages.
“We are thrilled to be back at Coca‑Cola Christmas In The Park and can’t wait to bring some aca-awesome Christmas cheer to our home turf!”
Rotorua born Jade Tait has been singing since she was 16. Now 24 she still loves performing and declares herself a pop soul singer through and through.
Jade has performed as backing vocalist with Ginny Blackmore and recently performed at WISH in Christchurch. Her debut EP, which she worked on with Marley Sola, is soon to be released and she’s looking forward to performing alongside him at this year’s Coca‑Cola Christmas in the Park.
“Singing at Coca‑Cola Christmas in the Park is an amazing opportunity and a wonderful experience. I learnt so much and met so many talented people. I can’t wait to perform on that big stage again this year.”
Originally from Brisbane, Nick Hollamby is a professional jazz and musical theatre vocalist with over a decade’s experience. He performs regularly at international jazz and blues festivals throughout Australasia and over the last ten years has held leading roles in numerous musical theatre productions on both sides of the Tasman.
Nick is a lecturer in music and singing at Christchurch’s National Academy of Singing and Dramatic Art. This will be Nick’s second performance at Coca‑Cola Christmas in the Park.
“I love Christmas, I love music and this show is a highlight of the Christchurch Christmas calendar. There is no better way to spend a night! ”
Jacob Riley-Richards has been writing songs and performing music for nearly a decade. The 22 year old is not only a talented singer but 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.
“I really enjoyed performing at Coca‑Cola Christmas in the Park last year and I’m excited to take to the stage once again.”
Based in Christchurch, twenty one year old songstress Tiana Haze is an up and coming R’n’B’ pop singer whose captivating appearance and powerful vocals immediately grab the crowds attention.
Born in Sydney and raised between Christchurch and Invercargill, Tiana is of Ngati Porou and Rongowhakaata descent. From childhood she has enjoyed singing traditional Maori songs and performing in Kapa haka groups. Music has always played a big part in her life and at age 15 she decided to make it her career. Tiana attends the artist development programme at SOLE Music Academy and has her sights set on an international career in entertainment, specialising in singing. Tiana is currently working hard to build her professional profile in Christchurch and is looking forward to performing at Coca‑Cola Christmas in the Park for the second time.
Christchurch native, 19 year old Cassie Henderson is passionate about singing and performing. Her recent cover of Post Malone’s Feeling Whitney received more than 40K views when she posted it on Instagram. She’s appeared on X Factor NZ and continues to hone her art by singing and playing guitar at a local Christchurch restaurant.
Cassie has performed at Coca‑Cola Christmas in the Park twice before and says “I absolutely love performing at Coca‑Cola Christmas in the Park. It’s an awesome experience. I get to work with amazing people and perform in front of a massive crowd. It’s one of my favourite performances ever.”
Christchurch based Bex Down enjoys writing her own music and loves to sing any chance she gets. An experienced performer, Bex has been singing in cover bands both here and overseas for many years. She was a finalist in the TV series Showstoppers, before travelling 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. Bex performed at Coca‑Cola Christmas in the Park in 2009 and says “singing at Coca‑Cola Christmas in the Park again is a dream come true.”
Originally from Taumarunui, 20 year old Jack is currently in his second year at the National Academy of Singing and Dramatic Art (NASDA). Jack enjoys performing both musical theatre and pop songs in between studies. His show credits include Wellington International Pride Festival, Rodger’s and Hammerstein Concert (Showbiz Christchurch), West Side Story (PATI) and Fiddler On The Roof (NASDA).
This is Jack’s first year performing at Coca‑Cola Christmas in the Park and says, “I am very excited to perform alongside some of New Zealand’s top talent at such a popular, uplifting event.”
Phoenix Belly Dance, led by Candice Frankland is a multi-award-winning dance troupe, formed to share the rich cultural experience and art of Middle Eastern dance. They have been invited to perform and teach at events in Norway, South Africa, Fiji, Samoa, Turkey and Australia. Candice has also led her troupe to win the Jambalaya multi-discipline dance competition, the Viva Eclektika Asia Vision Cup, and the New Zealand Corporate Event’s Best Entertainment Company Award. They have performed at Coca‑Cola Christmas in the Park since 2007 and are very excited to be a part of it again!
Located on Auckland’s North Shore, Studio 246 is a dance school for talented dancers all studying a variety of dance styles including lyrical, hip hop, jazz, ballet, contemporary, musical theatre and tap. The dancers have performed at the national finals of the New Zealand Performing Arts Awards, at the Gold Coast’s Showcase Nationals and in Disneyland USA, where they will perform again in 2019. This is the third year Studio 246 has performed at Coca‑Cola Christmas in the Park and the girls are super excited to be back, as it is without a doubt the most exciting event of the year for them.
Auckland City School of the Arts is based in Ellerslie. They’re a group of elite dancers whose hard work and dedication regularly sees them winning awards for solos, teams and groups in both local and international competitions. ACSA have been awarded Top 10 Teen group Showstoppers in Los Angeles, the Circle of Excellence award and were invited to attend World Dance Cup, Top Group Showcase in Auckland.
ACSA dancers all agree that one of their calendar highlights is performing and being part of the excitement of Coca‑Cola Christmas in the Park and delivering a magical event to thousands of New Zealanders.
This year Hamilton’s Drury Lane Dance and Performance studio celebrates their 50th anniversary. Drury Lane teaches ballet, hip hop, contemporary, tap, jazz, musical theatre, dance body conditioning and performance. The experienced dancers enjoy a high profile in their community and are often seen performing at various sporting events, promotions, celebrations and fundraisers and every two years they present the popular Impact Cabaret. The dancers are very proud to be performing at Coca‑Cola Christmas in the Park in Auckland this year.
West Auckland’s premier dance crew, Freshmans Dance Crew have a unique flavour that has taken them to national and international success. Freshmans Dance Crew have toured through New Zealand, the Pacific, Australia and the USA and have won numerous titles over the last six years. Freshmans Dance crew have become a key fixture at Coca‑Cola Christmas in the Park having performed for the last five years and they always look forward to a magical evening of Christmas fun.
SAINTZUP Performing Arts (SUPA) is a group of dancers ranging from 9 to 19 years old. The group has enjoyed multiple successes, most recently winning first place at PROJECT NZ, coming second at Dancebrandz Nationals, performing at the Vodafone Music Awards and some of the group’s junior dancers were selected to dance for Justin Bieber. SUPA feel they are blessed and honoured to be part of Coca‑Cola Christmas in the Park this year and say, “It’s such an amazing opportunity for our young dancers to showcase and share their love and passion for dance. It is a special way to celebrate Christmas with the entire country.”
The members of NZ Love Dance Troupe love dancing so much they incorporated it into their name. Under the direction of their choreographer, Zhangwan, dance is not only their hobby, it has also become part of their life style. Since forming earlier this year, the troupe have been performing regularly and are looking forward to performing at Coca‑Cola Christmas in the Park 2018.
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.
Dance Central is a group of nine talented dancers ranging in age from 14-18 years old. The troupe is based in Taupo run by Principal Carissa Yeoman. The girls are experienced performers, and winners of many North Island dance competitions across all genres. The dedicated dancers practice after school in a variety of classes including AJDA Jazz, RAD Ballet, APDA Contemporary and Hip Hop. The troupe thoroughly enjoyed their first time experience at Coca‑Cola Christmas in the Park in 2017 and gained confidence and courage, totally supported by a large contingent of family and friends. They can’t wait to dance in the show again.
This is Lakes Performing Arts Company’s second year performing at Coca‑Cola Christmas in the Park. As a group they perform at many events throughout the year including dancing at Magic Netball games and other sporting events. The newest Rotorua based company of triple threats, they are honoured to once again be dancing at such an amazing event and being part of the Coca‑Cola Christmas in the Park magic.
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 a group section in Battle of the Stars at Showcase Australian National Dance Championships. They were this year’s group winner for the Australian National Dance Championships and scored 1st, 2nd and 3rd at NZDA. The groups previously performed at Coca‑Cola Christmas in the Park in 2017 and state “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 by audition 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.
Based in Christchurch, Levings School of Dance is an award winning studio mow in its 44th year. The school continues to win many major prizes and awards both nationally and internationally including Dancer of the year titles in New Zealand, Australia and America and voted highest scoring troupes and best choreography at most of the competitions they enter. Levings School of Dance receive nominations for RAD ballet, contemporary, jazz and hip hop, and not only compete in the performing arts arena but also achieve highly in the Ballet awards and have been accepted as Associates with New Zealand School of Dance. The dancers have a wealth of experience and are widely known for having outstanding polished performances.
TribalDiva Belly Dance Company are Christchurch’s premier belly dance troupe and have been regular performers at Coca‑Cola Christmas in the Park since 2012. Lead by director Tracey Saunders they are excited to be again entertaining the crowd at Coca‑Cola Christmas in the Park with their own unique style of Fusion Belly Dance.
Based in Christchurch, Sass Squad is a newly formed dance group of talented, experienced dancers, who have performed across New Zealand and overseas in shows throughout Australia, Europe and Dubai. Professional highlights include performing for the Court Theatre in productions of Legally Blonde the Musical, Chicago, Mary Poppins, The Mikado and Grease. Most of the dancers have performed in Coca‑Cola Christmas in the Park before, however this will be there first show together as Sass Squad.
Silhouette Studios began 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 place for male dancers to learn within their carefully designed ‘boys dance development program’. Their mixed junior performance squad is excited to take to the stage this year and perform for the first time at Coca‑Cola Christmas in the Park.
The Garden City Dance Academy consists of 30 dancers ranging from 8 to 15 years old. Led by an internationally qualified team of tutors, the students enjoy the creativity and expression of classical ballet, jazz and contemporary dance. They perform regularly in the Christchurch Ballet Society Evening of Dance, Dancing for 298 Charity Dance Gala and the Christchurch Community Arts Council Dance Evening. This will be the groups fourth year at Coca‑Cola Christmas in the Park and state that it is a highlight of the year for the dancers.
22 year old Aucklander, Johann Ward is the winner of Coca-Cola Christmas in the Park’s search for New Zealand’s most talented rock guitarist. Johann is an extraordinary guitarist who has formed and played in numerous bands since he was 11 years old. He has performed at iconic establishments such as the Kings Arms and at venues in Brisbane with Steve Vai. Johann currently plays rock covers with Mischief Band at their resident Friday gig at Lula Inn in Auckland’s Viaduct. Johann looks forward to rocking out with some of New Zealand’s best at Coca‑Cola Christmas in the Park.
Dixon is the Artistic and Musical Director for Coca‑Cola Christmas in the Park, a role he has enjoyed for the last three 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
To cap off an amazing year, Ben will be venturing forth from his Te Henga Beach Studio to celebrate this extra special Coca‑Cola Christmas in the Park. After many years on the road performing, recording and touring locally and internationally, not to mention the three 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.
“Twenty five years and counting, this for sure will be another Coca‑Cola Christmas in the Park not to be missed!“
Trumpeter Mike Booth has enjoyed a freelance career performing with many of the nation’s best known artists. Internationally Mike spent 20 years playing with the Dutch pop band de Dijk and the Dutch Jazz Orchestra, and lectured at the Rotterdam and Alkmaar Conservatories. 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, as well as Robin Ford, Steve Gadd and James Carter. Mike was also invited to guest in the Monk’estra at this year’s Wellington Jazz Festival. Mike currently teaches Jazz trumpet at Auckland University.
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.
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.
This is Nick’s fifth year with Coca‑Cola Christmas in the Park having joined the team in 2014. He cut his musical teeth in 2008 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.
With deep roots in the classical world, Black Quartet draw on a vast sea of influences - from blues, rock, jazz and pop to create their own signature sonic spectacle.
Exciting and diverse, born from decades of strong foundations in New Zealand’s music scene, Black Quartet work with some of the nation’s finest artists as well as visiting international performers.
Jessica Hindin performs internationally as a solo and collaborative violinist. She is in high demand for her ability to span several different musical genres.
Mahuia Bridgman-Cooper’s award-winning compositions can be heard on film, television and in the concert hall. A professional violinist, his studio produces music for a global clientele. He has strong connections to music and musicians from Te Ao Maori.
Joseph Harrop is a violinist, violist, and academic. With a PhD in music, and a background in Jazz, Joe enjoys an eclectic career as a freelance performer and writer.
Rachel Wells is New Zealand’s most prolific recording cellist. Her playing features on numerous contemporary New Zealand pop and rock albums. A professional and a perfectionist, music studios have Rachel’s number on speed dial.
Whether they are composing, arranging, recording or performing Black Quartet is known for their virtuosity, flair onstage and a superb musical style. Fresh from appearances at WOMAD and the Auckland Arts Festival, Black Quartet will be joined by two talented colleagues to form a sextet for this year’s Coca‑Cola Christmas in the Park.
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!
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 eighth year performing at Coca‑Cola Christmas in the Park.
Juno Pyun is a Korean-born, Dunedin-raised violinist, now based in Timaru. He has studied violin with Sydney Manowitz, at the University of Otago with Tessa Petersen, and with Stephen Larsen at the University of Canterbury. Juno regularly plays for the Christchurch Symphony Orchestra and says “I am looking forward to being part of the Coca‑Cola Christmas in the Park team for the first time.”
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.
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 Philharmonia 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.
Turanga’s 16-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 Coca‑Cola Christmas in the Park since 2012 and is also a national and world judge for Hip Hop International Australia and World Supremacy Battlegrounds.
Last year Turanga was part of reality TV show ‘Voices of our Future’ featuring singing group Maimoa Music, which was a national talent quest that saw the formation of pop group Te Uruwhetu, and most recently performing with Marcia Hines.
As one of New Zealand’s most engaged personalities on social media, Jess Quinn has a passion for helping people overcome adversity and insecurity using her own experiences. Since losing her right leg to cancer at the age of nine, Jess has refused to let that stand in the way of her living life to its fullest and she is passionate about helping others overcome their physical and mental setbacks.
Jess has over 180,000 followers on social media, has just placed third on 2018’s Dancing with the Stars NZ and signed with an LA based modelling agency. Jess has turned her adversity into a career of helping others push through life’s challenges and she continues to lead by example by taking all challenges that come her way.
Says Jess, “I was beyond excited when I got asked to be this year’s host for Auckland’s Coca‑Cola Christmas in the Park with Mike Puru! Growing up, Coca‑Cola Christmas in the Park was always a must do for me and my family and I could have only ever dreamed of being on the stage one day!”
Mike Puru grew up in the Southland town of Gore. After studying broadcasting he landed his first job in the Waikato working for The Edge radio station where he stayed for 20 years until TV commitments took over.
Over the past five years Mike has hosted two seasons of The Bachelor NZ and also hosts the daily morning show The Cafe on Three. Mike also fills in as a Newshub weather presenter, and on The Breeze weekends and Radio Live.
Mike says, “I’m very excited to host Auckland’s Coca‑Cola Christmas in the Park this year - in fact it’s one of those iconic events you always dream to be part of!”
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 FM’s afternoon Drive show with Jay-Jay Feeney.
He has recently launched his own Youtube channel - youtube.com/jasongunn
But what he’s most proud of…are his children Eve, Grace, Faith and Louis.
Pacific Network is a vibrant collection of young artists who are collaborating and coming together in true Christmas spirit to perform at Coca‑Cola Christmas in the Park. The choir includes experienced soloists who have been nominated for various national music awards to stunning backing vocalists for some of Australasia’s top artists. Music is the universal language they all love to communicate through and they’re all looking forward to performing at Coca‑Cola Christmas in the Park.