Renowned singer-songwriters Barry Saunders from the Warratahs and Bill Lake from The Windy City Strugglers are joining forces to play a fundraising concert for the people of Manipur, India, at St Peters Village Hall in Paekakariki on Sunday 3 September.
Saunders will be accompanied by fellow Warratah Caroline Easther while Lake is supported by his former Mammal bandmate Steve Hemmens on double bass.
Manipur, in remote North-East India on the border with Burma, has been engulfed in a tragic civil war for over three months. With over 60,000 people displaced, the tragedy has disproportionately affected the indigenous hill tribes.
Paekākāriki organiser Helen Keivom is a Manipur tribal native and says a fundraiser is the least she can do to support the relief camps which are based in schools and halls in her hometown Churachandpur, also known as Lamka.
“Having previously helped with fundraisers for the conflicts in Burma and Ukraine, it is utterly devastating to now find myself needing to support people in my own hometown,” says Keivom.
“Over 150 people have died, thousands of homes and churches have been burnt down. Most of the displaced people are surviving on what communities and church organisations have donated. State aid has so far been unable to reach them due to roads being blocked.
“With so much conflict and disaster around the world, the scale of the suffering in remote areas such as Manipur can easily be overlooked, especially with the government-imposed shutdown of the internet.”
Keivom hopes the combination of great music and food will bring people in to help support women and children in the relief camps.
As proprietor of a new food venture Dāri’s Kitchen which is named after her late mother, Helen Keivom will cook a variety of fresh-flavoured home style-curries and a Manipur-style chilli salsa with both vegan and meat options included in the cost of the ticket.
A beautiful Kuki tribal shawl, handwoven using a waist loom, will be up for grabs in a raffle. Cash is requested for the raffle and a bank account number will be also be available.
Funds will be directed to respected tribal welfare group Hmar Youth Association of Churachandpur.