May/June 2011

Hi Folks

The main event for May was our tour to Norfolk Island to the 18th annual Country Music Festival. It’s hard to believe another year has gone by already.

Once again we met up with our tour group at Auckland airport. We had 16 people with us for this tour. Six had been on tour with us previously so it was nice to see familiar faces back for this years festival. We also had one of the Trans-Tasman contestants with us also, our good friend Grant Reha-Timoti and his partner Rose Vallance. There was a lot of excitement in the group with Grant in the competition and Annette to M.C. the New Zealand Showcase.

We arrived on Norfolk around lunch time on the Sunday and everyone had the afternoon to settle in and relax a little. The evening saw us all meet at the local RSL for a welcome dinner and a chance to become acquainted with one another and to listen to the Norfolk Island band to kick the week off.

Monday we were up early for the half day tour to introduce everyone to magical Norfolk island. We also added in something special with a gospel sing along in the awesome St Barnabas Church. Which was well received by everyone in the church including a few Aussies. A couple of tears were shed as well.

Monday evening we were off to the New Zealand Showcase night featuring junior Khona Va aga Grey, Gina Keating and Roger Tibbs with Headliners The Coal Rangers and Aly Cook. The artists were backed by the Galley Slaves and lead this year by Mr Music Man himself Mike McCarthy with B.V.s by Echo in Harmony. Annette did an awesome job of compeering the evening and keeping the show ticking along and also slipping in the odd joke. Everyone was very impressed.

Tuesday was the regular mini golf competition where a lot of fun was had by all. Agnes and her team have put a lot of work into the new mini golf course. Once we had completed the golf we had the traditional cutting of the cake and morning tea. In the afternoon a few of us ventured down to Emily Bay for a quick dip in the ocean. It was very invigorating in deed. One of the cruiseliners managed to off load visitors onto the island also on Tuesday and we managed to run into Ian and Norma Venables and Margaret from Whangarei in the local food mart. Just goes to show you never know who you are going to bump into on a tiny Pacific island. It was the most people I have ever seen on the island in all the years I have been going there. Then in the evening we dined at Puppies Point at the Island Fish Fry. It was a chance to sample island style food as well as the local Trumpeter, King Fish and Groper. Then we were delivered back to Rawson Hall for the Australian Showcase which featured Margie-May Hockey, Jim Haynes, Mitchell Shadlow, The Smokin’ Crawdads, Rod McCormack and Gina Jefferies. It was alright.
Wednesday was the big day for the Trans-Tasman contestants with rehearsals during the day and the big show in the evening. Our group had a free morning to relax and do some shopping before we all met at Hats place for our regular wine and cheese afternoon and a chance to chat to one of the local identities, well two really, Hats and Leo, Hats dad. Between them both there isn’t much they don’t know about the history of the island. We are very lucky to have them as two of our dearest friends and for Hats to put up with us for a week every year since about 2002. We really do appreciate it.

Before the evening show most of the group took in the Trial of the Fifteen which is a 45 minute or so show covering how Norfolk was initially settled as a penal colony and starring our friend Lucy. Some of us enjoyed a couple of shots of sherry after the show which warmed your toes I must say. We all then headed up to Rawson Hall to watch the Kiwis take on the Aussies in the Trans-Tasman competition and cheer on Grant. It was a close competition with every one putting on great performances. In the end it was Australian Melody Felder taking out the top prize. Our own artists did well also with Keinan Ngapo runner-up and Pheobe Ball receiving the Dead Ringer Band Encouragement Award. Hayley Smith, Neil McKenzie-Hall and Grant all did us proud.

Thursday was an exciting day for Annette and I as it was our RSL lunch time gig which began at 12:00. Lunch was provided for our group and we had reserved tables. We had a great two hour show with a bit of a sing along thrown in for good measure. We were blown away by the support we had and sold more cds than we imagined we would. So thank you to every one for making it a great afternoon for us as well.
Thursday evening we had booked the group in to attend the Mutiny on the Bounty show at the outdoor theatre. Every one rugged up for the evening and it was an awesome show. Our host Hats was also in the show as one of the ships officers which made it even more interesting. Following the show we all headed back to Up Country for the jam session and a chance for the group to let their hair down and party on.

Thankfully Friday was FREE all day so the group could venture out by themselves and explore the island at their leisure. Saturday was also FREE all day just time to catch up on that last minute shopping for family and another quick swim for those that managed to get down to the beach or a bit of horse riding or a trip on the glass bottom boat out over the reef for some of the group.

We finished the tour off with a farewell dinner at the Seaworld Restaurant as we had on previous years. Joining our Tour group were our friends, Brent & Leo & the Harris Family ( Campbell, Lucy, Sophie,Tasmyn ) who entertained us with jokes. A couple of our Tour Group members gave a lovely thank you speech and surprised us with a token gift for each of us from then all. We ended the evening with a Port and then off to the RSL to finish off the night with singing and dancing.

Sunday saw us head home to NZ.

We would like to thank everyone who chose to travel with us to Norfolk Island this year it was great to have you with us and we hope you all had a great adventure. Look forward to seeing you next year for our 2012 tour.

Take care: Annette & Kim

March / April 2011