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New Zealand Army Band set to dazzle in free Tairāwhiti concert

The New Zealand Army Band is hoping to lift the spirits of the Tairāwhiti community after Cyclone Gabrielle in February.

01 May, 2023

Locals will be treated to a free concert on Thursday at Gisborne Boys’ High School.

The family-friendly live show encompasses popular music, musical theatre, jazz and rock - with a promise of something for everyone to enjoy.

New Zealand Army Band Director of Music Major Graham Hickman, DSD, said it’s a special stop on the band’s tour of North Island secondary schools.

“We’ve been wanting to get up to the East Coast again for a couple of years and were planning to perform the first week of March in schools from Napier to Ruatoria,” Major Hickman said.

“Obviously Cyclone Gabrielle changed those plans but we are lucky to be able to reschedule for the first week of May, and while we’re in the neighbourhood we wanted to put on a free concert for the Tairāwhiti community.”

The band recently performed a cover of ‘35’ by Ka Hao featuring Rob Ruha, a song that celebrates Tairāwhiti and life on State Highway 35 on the East Coast of the North Island - from Ōpōtiki to Gisborne.

The video of their rendition has gone viral online, viewed more than 200,000 times since its release in early March.

Band Master Staff Sergeant Phil Johnston said the musicians would play a mix of swing, rock and popular music.

“Much like our school concerts, people usually expect a military style concert from the Army Band, but we are much more than marching and classic music,” Staff Sergeant Johnston said.

“People can expect contemporary musical covers as well as some classics, but a selection that will have everyone dancing and singing along with us.

“We are really looking forward to sharing our music with a community who have suffered so much in the last few months.”


What: New Zealand Army Band concert 

Where: Gisborne Boys’ High School Auditorium

When: Thursday 4 May 

Time: 7pm-8.30pm

Details: Although this is a free event, pre-booking is required. Secure your free ticket from