On behalf of the city, haere mai and welcome to the 2019 Christchurch Arts Festival. The Christchurch Arts Festival is always a much anticipated event, and this time the anticipation has been heightened by the promise of something that is “bold, dynamic and unashamedly local”.
This year, the Festival is telling the story of Christchurch and Canterbury, featuring a specially curated programme of works produced by extraordinary local artists across a range of artistic disciplines. The artists include those who work here and those who work nationally and internationally and who have ‘returned home’ for the Festival, as we ‘shine a light’ on the many extraordinary creative stories and people of this city and region.
This new direction will see the Festival explore and reflect the different voices of this place – starting with an outdoor spectacle of light, sound and performance (A Winter’s Tale) along the defining physical feature of the city – the Avon river – around which people have always gathered. This is a time for reflection and a time to celebrate renewal. In 1973, then Prime Minister Norman Kirk mentioned the new Town Hall in his written welcome to the Christchurch Arts Festival – a perfect parallel to both its reopening and as HQ for the Festival this year.
I would like to thank the organisers and artists for the hard work they have put in to bring the Festival to us, and I encourage Festival goers to take every opportunity to enjoy the rich variety of performances and exhibitions on offer.
A special welcome to those who have travelled from out of town to attend the Festival. I hope you take the opportunity to explore our city at the same time as exploring this reimagined Christchurch Arts Festival 2019.
Hon. Lianne Dalziel
Mayor of Christchurch and Festival Patron