Weekend Sun   

Crossing cultures at Christmas

Korean drummer K. Kim with Pradipta (Kutu) Mukherjee from India, and Ray Crafts, who has Scottish heritage, show off their cultures with music.

With nearly 20 per cent of Tauranga residents born overseas, how do you hold a ‘Christmas’ function for people of any race or religion? By making the theme ‘Musical Instruments from Around the World’.

Multicultural Tauranga’s end-of-year event organiser Ewa Fenn says it will be a celebration of ‘multiculturalism and coming together’.

“Every year we try to find a common theme, without the emphasis on Christmas, which includes everybody.” But don’t worry kids – Santa will be there.

Ewa has organised an impressive line-up. “We have piano by Polish musicians, harmonium and sitar from India, Korean drums, mandolin from Russia, flute from South America and Japan, and Scottish bagpipes.”

Pradipta (Kutu) Mukherjee is one of the musical guests. Originally from India, Kutu has been living here for 20 years. “My husband and I have been involved with Multicultural Tauranga since its infancy. It’s very good for new immigrants.

“It’s often difficult to settle into a new country, but TMC does a great job of welcoming people to the city.”

Kiwi born and bred, Ray Crafts honoured his Scottish heritage by first picking up the bagpipes at the age of 17.

He’s 80 now, so that’s a lot of piping. Ray feels honoured to be opening Musicals Instruments from Around the World.

He’s noticed a big change in the ethnicity of Tauranga over the years. “There’s a lot of different races now, bigger groups, and it’s very refreshing to have such vibrant, interesting, decorative, and historical races coming in to be part of our community.”

Musical Instruments from Around the World is on Friday, December 11 at 6pm in the Wesley Church Hall, 13th Avenue.

Organisers ask those coming to bring a plate, as is usual with Multicultural Tauranga’s monthly Living in Harmony evenings.

For this event, Ewa is keen to emphasise that point. “We want people to bring a plate of food to share, because quite often people come but forget to bring a plate.

“We don’t want to have nothing to eat at the end-of- year function.”

Visit www.trmc.co.nz/future-events

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