Today in New Zealand International Arts Festival history: Dawn Ceremonies! (2004 - 2012)
I'm cheating slightly on this post - these didn't all happen on Feb 21 each year (which is tomorrow anyway, of course!), but the Dawn Ceremony / Powhiri to welcome the visiting artists is such an integral part of the New Zealand International Arts Festival that it only makes sense to see images from them together in one place, really.
Okay, you have to be there at dawn, let's get that out of the way right now. But, that's a really great time to be awake sometimes! And where else will you get a small audience of devoted fans gathered for a one-off concert by international artists, as often as not performing something their mother used to sing to them as a child?
It's really the antithesis of a showcase for their upcoming shows - it's personal, it's small, it's a meeting of people. It's amazing, and the artists who get there really find they have a connection to the place, and the people who live there. It completely breaks the wall between audience, staff, and performers - and then there's coffee and cake after. What more could you possibly need?
And yes - it's tomorrow morning. If you're in Wellington, it's worth setting an alarm. It's the lowest profile event in the Festival, definitely the cheapest, and sometimes, it's the absolute best.