Kiri's Homecoming - Dame Kiri Te Kanawa hits a high note with New Zealanders

As part of the nation’s 150th celebrations in 1990, (150 years since the signing of the Treaty of Waitangi) the BNZ announced that it would be ‘bringing Kiri home’ for a series of free open-air concerts as part of its gift to the nation.

The original concert locations were Wellington and Auckland but due to high demand a South Island location was added at Hagley park in Christchurch.

Dame Kiri Te Kanawa was joined on stage by international acclaimed conductor John Hopkins. The North Island concerts where performed with the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra and the South Island concert was with the Christchurch Symphony Orchestra.

The free tickets were administered from the BNZ branches around the country, with branches reporting giving out of there full allocation of tickets within the first day.

The proceeds from programme and merchandise sales was donated to the Childs Cancer Foundation, who also provided volunteers to help with the event. A collection was also held on behalf of the Foundation before and after the concert.

BNZ staff also got behind the event in many ways, from crowd control, assisting in the clean up after the events and through administering the sale of merchandise and tickets.

In Auckland 140,00 attended the event –the largest ever crowd for a classical concert in New Zealand.

In Christchurch the 70,000-seat capacity at Hagley Park was the record at that time.

In Wellington the concert was held at the Trentham Memorial Park where over 70,000 people got to enjoy the concert.

For those who could not attend TVNZ recorded the event in a 70-minute special which was aired in February.

In total $270,000 dollars was raised for the Child Cancer Foundation.

Some interesting facts about the concerts:

  • The sound system involved 180 speakers and 108 amplifiers
  • 90 microphones were onstage for each member of the NZSO orchestra
  • 7.5 Kilometers of cabling was used
  • There were over 90 musicians involved in the performances.

Dame Kiri at concert

Dame Kiri Te Kanawa receives flowers onstage at Auckland Concert - 1990

Kiris Auckland Concert

The crowd at 'Kiri's Homecoming' Auckland concert - 1990