Our whanau started out monocultural, speaking New Zealand English (North Otago dialect), and now we are multi-cultural and multi-lingual.
Let us begin with The Dance Exponents, who originated in Timaru, culturally close to Oamaru, but lacking its heritage buildings.
The Otago sea shanty Wellerman was written in our rohe. It went viral on the Chinese TikTok service and is now a taonga that belongs to everyone in any language.
Our Te Reo taonga. George Henare and Jennifer Ward-Lealand recite Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day?
Scottish culture is alive in Otago and Southland. The famous Scottish (some would also say Irish) farewell song, The Parting Glass.
A Russian folk song sung around the kitchen table with accordion accompaniment. It is about a Cossack lying in bed getting scarcely any sleep. He dreams that his raven horse is misbehaving as he rides it, as if trying to buck him off. He dreams that wild winds blow his hat off, and his companion then tells him that he will not live forever.
The song then finishes on an uplifting note, drawing on the indomitable Russian spirit that survives anything.
From the only truly universal genius, Sonnet 30. Courtesy of the New York Shakespeare Exchange, a stunning and poignant performance merging language, city scenes and music.