Croatian president Zoran Milanović welcomed performers all the way from New Zealand at the Office of the President in Zagreb on Wednesday.
The visitors were members of the “Kralj Tomislav” Folklore Ensemble from Auckland. Accompanying them were the talented performers from the Maori kapa haka group known as “Te Roopū Manutaki” and the exceptional vocal quartet hailing from Auckland, “The Shades.”
The three groups are currently embarking on a joint tour across Croatia, under the title of “Kia ora Hrvatska 2023.”
For three decades, the Ensemble has been an active advocate of traditional Croatian culture, proudly representing it within the Croatian Cultural Club based in Auckland. Their collaborations have been impressive, as they have integrated Maori dancers and Polynesian singers into their entertaining performances.
As the Ensemble celebrates its 30th anniversary, it also marks a significant milestone of 165 years since the arrival of the first Croatian immigrant in New Zealand, Pavle Lupis from Nakovana on the Pelješac Peninsula. Moreover, this year also commemorates 164 years of Croatian-Maori friendship.
In honour of these occasions, the Ensemble has embarked on their journey to Croatia, where they will perform in several destinations.
Following their recent performance in Vukovar, the group has an exciting lineup of concerts scheduled in Zagreb, Sinj, Zagvozd, Makarska, Metković, Korčula, Vela Luka, and Pupnat.
Throughout their two-week “Kia ora Hrvatska 2023” tour, audiences will be treated to one-hour concerts presented by an ensemble of up to 50 performers, including dancers, singers, and musicians from the “Kralj Tomislav” Folklore Ensemble, the Maori kapa haka group “Te Roopū Manutaki,” and the vocal quartet “The Shades.”
During their visit to the Office of the President, members of “The Shades” and the Maori kapa haka group, “Te Roopū Manutaki,” showcased their skills by performing a selection of musical pieces, providing a preview of the upcoming concerts.
Accompanying the Ensemble were individuals within the Croatian community in New Zealand. Among them were Goran Katich, a member of the Council of the Government of the Republic of Croatia for Croats outside the Republic of Croatia, the representative of Croats in New Zealand, and the president of the Croatian Cultural Society in Auckland. Also present were Antony Ivo Arnerich, a member of the Presidency of the Croatian Cultural Society in Auckland, Goran Kačurov, the artistic director of the Folklore Ensemble, and Linda Ann Cooper, a councilwoman representing the City of Auckland.
Throughout the meeting, President Milanović was accompanied by his adviser for Foreign and European Policy, Neven Pelicarić.