Hard News by Russell Brown


Arts and letters for Christchurch

Among a wide range of events being staged to benefit the people of Christchurch as they recover from last month's earthquake are two I thought readers might be particularly interested in, because they come from the cultural sector and because they involve people like us.

Firstly, Australian-based Public Address regular Paul Williams explains the backdrop to Sunday's Rise Up Christchurch:


After the ‘quake, like everyone not in Christchurch, I gave money to various appeals but I still felt disconnected from it all. I still do. I’m three hours flying time from New Zealand and eight years removed.

This is not about my issues though, because every Kiwi in Sydney is connected to every other Kiwi in Sydney and three days after the ‘quake I am introduced to a former Christchurch resident and Soprano, Brigitte Martin. You do what you can; I write policy for a living but Brigitte’s an artist and she’s already secured a venue, pencilled in various performers, activated connections with Opera Australia and is furiously working her networks to lock in sponsors for a fundraising concert.

She now needs graphic artists, help with media, people to distribute fliers, posters and such and more. My wife works for the Opera House, so we’ve got another connection and the Chief Executive is a Kiwi too. Another friend works for Telstra and he’s quickly on to securing free print and radio advertising. Someone else has gotten on to Google, a video for youtube is being produced and Facebook pages too.

A week later Rise Up – A Concert for Christchurch has largely come together. Jud Arthur, a former Otago rugby player and now principal with Opera Australia, is singing. ARCO – a string quartet with New Zealand members are playing. Three Opera soloists born in New Zealand now living in Sydney are performing including Brigitte who will perform a new piece written by Christchurch composer for this event. Brigitte has tapped into our collective need to do something, to be together, probably, also to grieve.

So publicaddress, tell your Sydney-based friends to come along Sunday 27th at St James on King Street in the city. Tickets are $30 and all proceeds go to the government’s earthquake appeal. Tickets are available online here.



Meanwhile, my friend Paul Shannon brings news of another fundraising event in Auckland tomorrow:

Writers’ Read In is a joint initiative between the New Zealand Society of Authors and Auckland Libraries and will see more than 120 authors reading some of their work at around 32 locations across the region in support of the people of Christchurch on Friday, March 25.

I’m going to read an extract from my first novel Davey Darling, primarily because it is set in Christchurch, at the Central Library session at 1pm.  Other writers reading then will be Emily Perkins, Sue Orr, John Goodman, Robina Adamson and Louise Tu’u. Entry is by gold coin donation, with proceeds going to the New Zealand Government Christchurch Earthquake Appeal.

Auckland Libraries is also offering free three month memberships to earthquake evacuees and is accepting returns on behalf of the Christchurch City Library.

What:  Authors Read In

When:  Friday, 25 March at 1pm and 6pm.

Where: For a full programme go to

www.aucklandlibraries.govt.nz or www.authors.org.nz

If you are involved with or know of similar events, feel free to share them in comments for this post.

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