Bureaucracy silences the musical return of the marching band to its renovated rotunda in Te Awamutu


Te Awamutu Brass musicians, mother and daughter Jenny and Hannah Yarndley are among 35 members of the group eager to resume their concerts for the community.

Christel Yardley / Tips

Te Awamutu Brass musicians, mother and daughter Jenny and Hannah Yarndley are among 35 members of the group eager to resume their concerts for the community.

A group from Waikato hoping to bring some musical joy to their community found they were out of step with modern bureaucracy.

Te Awamutu Brass was planning to donate a free afternoon at the city’s newly renovated group rotunda in Victoria Park.

But when he checked with the Waipā District Council to see if everything was okay, he discovered a bunch of regulations that put the concert on hold.

Among the rules, the group must take out million-dollar liability insurance, hire portaloos and provide sweeping and social distancing for Covid-19.

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The group had wanted to perform at the Te Awamutu rotunda, whose $ 116,000 renovation was completed in July 2021.

Christel Yardley / Tips

The group had wanted to perform at the Te Awamutu rotunda, whose $ 116,000 renovation was completed in July 2021.

She also initially thought that she should provide a traffic management plan.

The band’s musical director, Sarah Carroll, said the band was surprised at how much paperwork it would have to cut just to put in an hour of free music.

“Our idea was to have a picnic-type show where passers-by could stop and enjoy the music.

“We were going to play after the RSA Armistice Day Parade on a Sunday, which is held nearby at Anzac Green.”

The musicians discovered that they would need liability insurance to perform for people after the Armistice Day parade in Te Awamutu.

Christel Yardley / Tips

The musicians discovered that they would need liability insurance to perform for people after the Armistice Day parade in Te Awamutu.

Carroll, 30, said the group’s 35 musicians wanted to return to play for the community, but decided to check with the board first to see if there were any requirements.

“It turns out that we are subject to the same requirements as for craft shows and have to carry insurance for up to $ 1 million if something goes wrong.

“Victoria Park does not have a washroom, so we will also have to consider hiring portaloos.

“We just put it on hold for now. Hopefully the board will come back and find a way to let us play a concert in the afternoon.

A photo of the rotunda in 2018 before its makeover.  It was built in 1911.

Provided

A photo of the rotunda in 2018 before its makeover. It was built in 1911.

The issue was raised at the Te Awamutu Community Council meeting by member Gary Derbyshire, who is also a former Te Awamutu marching band musician.

He pointed out that council had just spent $ 116,000 to upgrade the marching band rotunda, but that it now seemed beyond the reach of the town’s only marching band.

“I remember having had several games on Sunday afternoon at the site, with families sitting on rugs with picnics. The days of arrival are long gone.

Brass Bands Association of New Zealand chief executive Helen Lee said her uncle Lloyd Lee was a former conductor of the Te Awamutu Marching Band for many years.

She agreed that it was unusual for a single marching band in a city not to be able to find a way to use the marching band’s rotunda for a public performance.

“Here in Canterbury, we have a provincial association that has insurance coverage, which its member groups can purchase.

“The function of a marching band for over 100 years has been to play music for the community, the sound carries, so that everyone can enjoy it.”

The council said that if the event was not on a road, did not impact pedestrians or road users, a traffic management plan was not necessary.

Like Lee, the board said the bands often ask their national association to provide liability insurance on their behalf.

“The insurance aims to ensure that if something unexpected should happen, the event organizers are covered by their own insurance policy, as the board does not cover this for external events. “

He said that depending on the size and location of the event, organizers should complete either the parks request form or the event request form.

But for small events, of less than 40 people, without equipment, no application file was required. Event details can be sent to customer support to reserve a location.

“Our event planners are available to assist with any size event if the event planners have any questions about the form, process, or status of the request at any time.”


Corina C. Butler

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