Brew of Islands beer festival organisers Tyler Bamber (left) and Gerry Paul.
Beer fest a success
The inaugural Brew of Islands beer festival, held at the Turner Centre as part of the Kerikeri’s Matariki celebrations, has been hailed as an undoubted success.
Over 2000 people attended the
three sessions over the weekend. The Turner Centre was transformed into a beer “tent”, which included a hall draped in colour and festooned with light.
Nine of the country’s best craft breweries were present, plus six local food vendors, and music was provided by three live bands: T-Bone Trio, the Wellington Sea Shanty Society and Norizin.
In the upstairs venue, there was a laser light show with soundtrack music provided by DJs VanDeBell, JXO and Meg. The Theatre Bar was recast as the nightclub-style Cardrona Cocktail Bar.
The festival opened with a karakia and waiata from local iwi Ngāti Rehia. Visitors came from various parts of the North Island and Christchurch. Paula Schwass from Stay Kerikeri said they were fully booked with out-of-town guests.
Experienced beer festival attendees included Rich Young from Parrotdog Brewery in Wellington, who said the Brew of Islands was in his “top three beer festivals ever”. Bruce Turner from Urbanaut Brewery in Auckland declared the Kerikeri event to be the “most polite and most welcome” he has been to.
There were 24 entries for the first homebrew competition. The winner was Richie Lewis. Judge John Oszaica considered this beer to be gold-medal standard.
Festival organisers Gerry Paul and Tyler Bamber said the takeaway from the event was the positivity and appreciation of everyone who attended.
“Everyone was happy. There was a celebratory atmosphere in the air, and people kept telling us, ‘This is exactly what Kerikeri needs’,” Paul said.
Calypso has a visitor
The Calypso fish ‘n’ chip shop in Kerikeri recently had a special visitor.
The current owner, Janna Sicely, said Warren Gray strolled into the shop “and bailed me up about the fact the sign as to the origin of the shop was nine years out of date!”
He would know. Warren and his wife Margaret were the original owners who opened the shop on Christmas Eve, 1978. It was the second fish ‘n’ chip shop to be established in Kerikeri.
“We immediately got talking about the nostalgic feel of the shop, and I learned a little more about the history of this special little takeaway joint,” she said.
Warren (“Wazza”) was a dedicated fan of French explorer Jacques-Yves Cousteau and loved his connection with the sea. He thought the name was fitting, so Calypso (the fish ‘n’ chip shop) is named for him and his exploration boat.
He was also a fan of John Denver’s song Calypso, which was written in 1975, also as a tribute to the pioneer. Wazza would play it on repeat on a cassette tape and beatbox on the front counter, much to the delight of the staff – or not, as the case may be.
He built the extraction system himself and it’s still in use today. He also built the countertop and created all the signage.
Sicely said when he started the venture, he wasn’t to know it would last 45 years and still be going strong today. He and his wife sold the business in 1980 to the Shepherd family.
“If the walls had ears – there are so many stories to tell and many generations to tell it, and I feel so lucky to carry the torch,” she said.
Sicely bought the shop in April last year. It was refurbished after a suspicious fire knocked out power to the entire block of shops where it is situated, next door to the local police station. There were reports of youths hanging around on the porch before the fire, which was started in a 120-litre drum of used cooking oil.
Irish folk group coming to Kerikeri
The Irish folk group Grada are reuniting for a nine-date tour across New Zealand. They are performing at the Turner Centre on October 22.
Grada, which has members from both Ireland and New Zealand, have spent much of their time touring internationally. Over the past decade, they have performed in over 1000 cities in 30 countries.
Their current make-up consists of two New Zealanders. Gerry Paul is the general manager of the Turner Centre and a member of local bluegrass band T-Bone. Andrew Laking has worked with the band for over a decade. He returned to New Zealand where he works as a musician and, with Claire Maybey, runs Wellington’s Verb literary and writers’ festival.
They are joined by Irish musicians Nicola Joyce, Alan Doherty and Tola Custy.
Grada have performed at the Sydney Opera House, the Royal Glasgow Concert Hall, Ireland’s National Concert Hall and have headlined many European and American folk festivals.
Their most recent album is Natural Angle. It was voted one of the top folk albums in the USA by NPR/Folk Alley and the IMA music awards. They have received great reviews in numerous Irish and American newspapers and specialist magazines.
Their sound is rooted in the traditional, but they draw on influences from folk, jazz and Americana. Their repertoire includes original songs and instrumentals.
They disbanded in 2011 to work on individual projects and in various ventures, including with the musical groups The Whileaways, Aldoc and T-Bone.
The band reformed in 2020 to play a one-off concert in New Zealand. They are playing two shows in Ireland in August before the nine-date October tour of New Zealand.
In celebration of their reunion tour, their full back catalogue has been released via streaming services from late July 2023.
For more information, visit: www.turnercentre.co.nz.
Interpreting headstone symbols
The meaning of cyphers found on headstones in two of the oldest cemeteries in New Zealand will be interpreted at a public talk at St James Anglican Church in Kerikeri on August 5 at 1pm.
Heritage Northland Inc has organized a discovery session entitled ‘Understanding the History and Interpretation of Cemetery Monuments and Memorials’.
The talk will provide insights into the symbolism of many of the gravestones in the historic St James Anglican Churchyard and the equally historic cemetery at Te Waimate Mission.
Heritage New Zealand Pouhere Taonga Northland manager Bill Edwards has carried out research into the meaning behind some of the symbols found on the historic gravestones. He will reveal all at the talk.
The St James Anglican Churchyard Cemetery is Kerikeri’s first and oldest operating cemetery, providing a lasting memorial and a permanent tribute to a final resting place for many loved ones.
According to Edwards, the inscriptions on memorials, together with the design of monuments and the choice of stones, combine to make this cemetery an irreplaceable historical resource.
“It is an important record of the social history of the area and community,” he says. “Cemeteries are like museums, with their headstones serving as a record of our culture and social history.”
“Headstones tell us a lot about the people they commemorate and their lives. Besides valuable information like age, date of death and so on, symbols found on the stones can provide additional insights into the people and their stories.”
The discovery session is an opportunity for researchers, genealogists and those who are just curious about the meaning of headstone symbols to learn more.
The talk will be followed by a guided tour of St James Anglican Churchyard Cemetery, which will take place rain or shine, followed by afternoon tea. Reservations are not required, but people are asked to give a gold coin donation to cover costs.