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Gisborne gets its dance on

Josh Wharehinga (centre back) with the East Coast Dance Crew.
Josh Wharehinga is also a Tūranga councillor.
His kids love kapa haka and dancing and he loves backing his kids, so organising a dance week in Tūranga was a no brainer for Josh Wharehinga.

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If you want to get something fun done in a hurry - get a busy person to do it! If you want to organise NZ Dance Week in Gisborne - ask the local councillor who has a love of hip hop and street dance, is a father of six kids who love kapa haka, and supports the local dance crew.

Josh Wharehinga tells us what local groups in Gisborne are planning for Dance Week NZ, from kapa haka, to dance films and tiny tutus ballet.

Josh also answers the important question: Why dance?

"At it’s essence, dance is about joy. Whether you’re involved in kapa haka, ballet, hip hop, tap dance or any of the mediums in between, dance at the end of the day is about joy, the joy of telling a sad story, the joy of linking to your ancestors, the joy of nailing a solid routine, the joy of the expressions on everyone’s faces."

Tell us a bit about yourself.

Te Aitanga a Māhaki – Te Arawa – Ngāti Porou - Rongowhakaata
I’m a current councillor for Te Kaunihera o Te Tairāwhiti (Gisborne District Council), I’m a father of six, born and bred in the best place in the whole world, Te Urunga mai o te Ra, the East Coast.

Tell us a bit about your creative background. 

I’ve always had an affinity to hip hop in music, graf and also street dance. As I got older my interests ended up focusing more on the hip hop music side of things and less the breaking/b-boying/graff side of things.

Tell us a bit about your involvement in dance.

I think I started in hip hop dance where every other 90's kid started, learning how to do moves in front of the mirror with my brothers while watching Beat Street in slow motion! Ha ha. Now as a parent, my involvement is in support of my daughter who is a way better hip hop dancer than I ever was and my other children who all love kapa haka.

Why did you decide to get involved in Dance Week?

Why not?! Tūranga (Gisborne) tends to miss out on things like this because we’re regional and not located in or near a big centre. I’m also currently quite active in the dance space at the moment, supporting a newly established local dance group called East Coast Dance Crew. So yeah, I did it for the community.

What you are planning for Dance Week in Gisborne?

We’re doing a little bit of everything!  Starting strong with our Tamararo kapa haka competition which runs every year around this time, sprinkled with a bit of hip hop from East Coast Dance Crew, a viewing of Born To Dance at the Dome Cinema, some Zumba and some Tiny Tutu ballet!  There’s something for everyone. (more details below)

How many people?

Lots!  East Coast Dance Crew, Maxfit Studios, Freedom Health and Fitness, Te Wānanga o Aotearoa’s Tūranga campus, Tiny Tutus, Tamararo, Dome Cinema and DANZ have all come on board as well as community and a host of other groups. Everyone’s just been really receptive to the idea.

Do you have any tips for others putting on events?

Start early. Be polite. Just do it. Even if it’s just one thing during the week, a flash mob or something, just do it!

What do you hope people get out of Dance Week in Gisborne?

Dance participation! I’m making a personal commitment to join in the Tiny Tutus class. I hope to see more dads in there, and more people in different dance kaupapa.

Why is dance important?

At it’s essence, dance is about joy. Whether you’re involved in kapa haka, ballet, hip hop, tap dance or any of the mediums in between, dance at the end of the day is about joy, the joy of telling a sad story, the joy of linking to your ancestors, the joy of nailing a solid routine, the joy of the expressions on everyone’s faces. Dance is important because joy is important.

What’s your big idea for 2016?

For dance? Help develop hip hop and street dance on a local, regional and maybe national level.
In general? World peace. Coz why not?

NZ Dance Week events in Gisborne

Sat 23 Apr

  • 8am - 6pm - Tamararo at Houhoupiko (Showgrounds).

Tues 26 Apr

  • 9.30am - 10.15am - Hip Hop Class by East Coast Dance Crew at Maxfit Studio.
  • 6pm - Born to Dance starring Stan Walker, Parris Goebel, Royal Famly and The Oneill Twins! at Dome Cinema.

Wed 27 Apr

  • 9.30am @ Freedom Health and Fitness - Mums Class
  • 9.30am @ Freedom Health and Fitness - Kids Class

Thurs 28 Apr

  • 5.30pm 9.30am @ Freedom Health and Fitness - Adults Class.

Fri 29 Apr

  • 9.30am - Tiny Tutus Ballet - all ages welcome at Te Wānanga O Aotearoa - Whirikoka Campus, Childers Rd.
  • 6.30pm - 8pm - Freedom Health and Fitness Disco

Written by

The Big Idea Editor

13 Apr 2016

The Big Idea Editor

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