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Lockdown prompts kerbside karakia and karaoke

Locals gather for karakia and waiata in Whakatu’s Buckingham Street. Social distancing pink dots are marked on the road.

Footpath karaoke, karakia and waiata are bringing communities together in Hastings during the Covid-19 lockdown.

Hastings District Councillor Cr Henare O’Keefe says locals, while complying with social distancing rules, have gathered in driveways and footpaths to sing Happy Birthday to their neighbours while others have held karakia and waiata in the streets.

Without a doubt Covid-19 has drawn everyone closer together. It’s taken community back to the basics, back to what really matters, back to family,” he says.


“It’s caused everyone to really get to know their neighbours, in some instances it’s the first time they’ve met.”

Dancing in the streets

One Flaxmere street was treated to three hours of karaoke by Shelley Pritchard and her adult daughter Kataraina.

Shelley says they wanted to do something for their street and sang music from the sixties to reggae which had neighbours out and dancing in the streets.

Their entertainment has been shared live to America, England and even Afghanistan by neighbours who recorded it on their phones.

Shelley and Kataraina usually host karaoke at the National Service Club in Hastings and Shelley has a coffee cart called Kapaicuppawaka in Flaxmere’s Henderson Road. She also has a fulltime job working with families living in motel emergency housing.

Outdoor karakia

Outdoor karakia and waiata at 9am every morning in the nearby suburb of Whakatu were the idea of Fleur Cherie Wainohu and her neighbour Howard McGuire.

Whakatu is home to about 1000 people.

More than 10 locals gather every morning in Buckingham Street and on Sundays about 30 turn out for 15-20 minutes of singing, prayers and a short message.

Local pastor Joe Whare, Fleur Cherie’s cousin and neighbour, says police visited to ensure social distancing requirements would be met. Locals marked dots on the street at three metre intervals to show people where they should stand.

Bringing the community together

Pastor Joe says the response has been positive and is bringing the community together.

He says many of those attending don’t come from the church he and his wife pastor (although they are currently on a sabbatical break).

As lockdown levels lower enough for many locals to return to work he expects the street meetings to decrease to once a week, probably on a Saturday.

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