19 Aug 2009

This content is tagged as Multi-Artform .


From the old world to the new – Ex pat Kiwis bring their celebrated show home

The Pioneers’ New Zealand tour – 23 July – 4 September 2009

Ex-pat Kiwis The Pioneers have wowed audiences in Britain with their multi media portrayal of their ancestors’ journeys to New Zealand. Now, they’re about to repeat that journey themselves, bringing their acclaimed show to this country.

Using original acoustic music, texts by leading New Zealand poets, story telling and character portrayal, The Pioneers tell the stories of three of their ancestors who travelled from England and Ireland to a very different New Zealand from the one they had imagined.

Set against a backdrop of stunning New Zealand scenery and rarely viewed archival images, this powerful poignant show features the combined talents of vocalist Angeline Conaghan, Ben Brewer on guitar and David Leahy on double bass. Interweaving the stories they heard growing up in New Zealand with poetry and song, the trio brings to life the experiences of early European settlers attempting to create a place they could call home.

Reviewers’ quotes

“I was blown away...this was way beyond my expectations. You deserve world wide success.”
David Jones, Director, Bournemouth Literary Festival

“Powerful, will have a long lasting impact on the audience for many years to come”

“Completely captivating.”

“What a pity history wasn’t taught like this.”

For more information, contact:

Website: www.seethrewmusic.com

MySpace pages: Angeline Conaghan, David Leahy, Bark, Fate of Animals

CDs The Pioneers - Recorded June 2008 at Stereo Studios and mastered at Livingroom (Oslo, Norway) Long Dream of Waking. Text - Len Lye. Music - The Pioneers.

Origins of the show

"The show was dreamed up at a dinner party four years ago in response to the question: Why are we living so far from home when our ancestors struggled to make a new life for themselves in New Zealand? For the past two years we have performed in village halls and theatres throughout parts of England and performed two one-week seasons in London. Audiences, while knowing little of New Zealand’s colonial history, have been very responsive, leading to several live interviews with the BBC"

Featured New Zealand poets and writers include James K Baxter, Bill Manhire, Len Lye, Hirini Melbourne, Jeanne Bernhardt, Andrew Laking and Grada, among others


The show uses archival images taken from magic lantern slides donated by the Centre of NZ Studies at Birbeck College, University of London, contemporary images taken by the award winning photographer Barry Lewis (www.barrylewisphotography.com), and family photographs.

The Pioneers – first of a triptych

The show is the first of three works. The second work, Tea in Te Kuiti, currently under development, examines the period beyond European settlement to the end of World War 1, and will be co-produced by the Theatre Royal in Margate in early 2010. The final in the trilogy, Three Winters in a Row, will explore their own generation and the choices made in creating a new life away from New Zealand.


David Leahy
After gaining a Bachelor of Musical Performance from Victoria University in 1992, David Leahy set up a music promotions business in Wellington and was responsible for creating and directing the first Wellington International Jazz Festival. Since leaving New Zealand in 1998 he has worked as a musician, music therapist, animateur, dancer and dance accompanist (with ex Pina Bauch dancer, Geraldo Si), as well as composer, musical director and performer, both in the United Kingdom and Europe. Together with Angeline Conaghan, he has worked as an artistic practitioner and consultant to Creative Partnerships, the UK government’s flagship creative learning programme for young people and school communities throughout England.

Angeline Conaghan
Angeline Conaghan was born in Te Puia Springs and brought up in the Hutt Valley. After studying at the Christchurch Jazz School (1992, 1993) she returned to the Wellington region to develop her musical career. She moved to the United Kingdom in 2000 and has worked there as an artist and musician as well as an artistic practitioner and consultant to Creative Partnerships. Bark, her collaboration with Norwegian keyboard, drums and electronic expert, Terje Evensen, has produced the critically acclaimed LP, Home, featuring a fusion of pop, electronica, jazz and hip hop styles.

Ben Brewer (Jnandhara)
Ben Brewer grew up in Whangarei, playing the violin from the age of six and taking up the guitar as a teenager. He gained an advanced diploma from the Wellington Jazz School in 1996, and moved to the United Kingdom in 1999, motivated primarily by an interest in Buddhism. He now lives in Ireland and has a particular fascination with folk music.

Tour itinerary


Sat 1 - Sun 2 Festival Tent Chch Arts Festival Christchurch 12.00pm

Tue 11 Shambles Theatre Rotorua 8.00pm

Wed 12 The Museum Opotiki 7.30pm

Thu 13 Tauranga Art Gallery Tauranga 8.00pm

Fri 14 OSPA Theatre Onewhero 8.00pm

Sat 15 The Centre Kerikeri 8.00pm

Mon 17 The Bunker, Devonport Auckland 8.00pm

Thu 20 Opera House Oamaru 7.30pm

Fri 21 Otago Early Settlers Museum Dunedin 8.00pm

Sat 22 Otago Early Settlers Museum Dunedin 8.00pm

Sun 23 New Edinburgh Folk Club Dunedin 7.30pm

Tue 25 Memorial Hall Mayfield 8.00pm (after dinner)

Fri 28 Expressions Arts Centre Upper Hutt 8.00pm

Sat 29 Museum of Wellington Wellington 7.30pm

Sun 30 Museum of Wellington Wellington 7.30pm

Wed 2 Aratoi Museum of Art and History Masterton 7.30pm

Thu 3 Museum of Wellington Wellington 7.30pm

Fri 4 Museum of Wellington Wellington 7.30pm

Arts on Tour New Zealand Trust
Based at the historic Arts Centre of Christchurch, Arts on Tour New Zealand organises tours of outstanding New Zealand performers to rural and smaller centres in New Zealand. The trust receives funding from Creative New Zealand and liaises with local arts councils, repertory theatres and community groups to bring the best of musical and other talent to country districts.

The 2009 Arts on Tour programme includes Michele A’Court’s Lady Bunch (June), The NZ Trio (July), The Pioneers (July/August), Matthew Marshall (August), Skin Tight (September), and Jade String Quartet (October).