• Jenny Shipley
Prime Minister

The Prime Minister announced today that Dame Kiri Te Kanawa will call in the dawn at Gisborne on 1 January 2000.

Dame Kiri and the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra (NZSO) will then feature as a highlight of Gisborne City's Official Dawn Ceremony concert on 1 January 2000, Prime Minister Jenny Shipley announced today.

Following the cancellation of the private Odyssey's End event, which was also to feature David Bowie and Split ENZ, the Prime Minister and the New Zealand Millennium Office has secured Dame Kiri and the NZSO to perform a free one-hour dawn concert as part of the Official Dawn Ceremony on Gisborne beach.

Mrs Shipley said that thanks to the work of the Minister Responsible for Millennium Events Murray McCully and Internal Affairs Minister Jack Elder and all who had worked on this project with the Government, the revised event will not require any new Government funding. Instead a grant from the Lotteries Grants Board's Millennium Sub-committee for $350,000 will cover incremental costs associated with incorporating Dame Kiri and the NZSO into the existing event.

"The Towards 2000 Taskforce has already allocated $1 million dollars to Ruamano 2000, a partnership between Gisborne District Council and Te Rununga o Turanganui A Kiwa, to produce Gisborne's City's Official Dawn ceremony and some of this existing budget will be reallocated to incorporate Dame Kiri and the NZSO into the event.

"The Millennium Office has been holding discussions with Ruamano 2000, TV3 and representatives for Dame Kiri and the NZSO over the past few days.

?We are delighted that New Zealand icons Dame Kiri and the NZSO have agreed to be part of the Official Dawn Ceremony in Gisborne as a free concert so many people from the Gisborne area and around New Zealand will be able to attend.

"There is already a huge interest in New Zealand millennium celebrations from around the world and Dame Kiri's inclusion in Gisborne event will generate further interest and excitement worldwide," Mrs Shipley said.

Around one billion people worldwide will join in New Zealand's millennium celebrations, and in Gisborne's dawn event, when they are broadcast live as part of the BBC's 2000 TODAY Millennium Day Broadcast.

A flotilla of waka and tall ships from throughout the Pacific will form a spectacular site as Dame Kiri sings to welcome the first rays of the new millennium to Gisborne and New Zealand on 1 January 2000.

"This promises to be a spectacular cultural event both for those in Gisborne and those watching around the world," Mrs Shipley says.