Description of the Event
The legend provided the basis for the dramatic structure of the event.
On the night we re-enacted, from the legend, "the Great Meeting of the Seven Stars".
Out of the conflagration that concluded this great meeting, our sun and moon were created and the first "sunrise" took place.
Oriental Bay was decorated with banners, many made by Wellington's Primary schools. The footpath was painted by Secondary school students.
A platform was built on the Carter Fountain for fireworks and the central "jet" spray nozzle was exchanged for one that was made to produce a flat fan of water that would be projected upon at the conclusion of the event.
Moorings had been laid, numerous barges carried aerial fireworks, the sound system, lighting and a projector.
The event began at twilight with two processions, one at sea and one on land.
At sea, seven towering star/rafts (Stars) were towed at 5 minute intervals from Evans Bay to Oriental Bay. Each Star represented one of the Stars in the legend, the 7 colours of the rainbow.
The Stars were approximately 18 metres tall, made of bamboo, rigged with fireworks and floated on frameworks of scaffolding and 44 gallon drums. Each of the Stars was accompanied on land by groups of children, the land based procession.
Each group began walking alongside their Star as it rounded Pt Jerningham.
The groups of children were dressed in the colour of the Star they were accompanying. They were lead by bands of musicians on floats and flanked by adults bearing flaming torches.
The children were from Intermediate and Primary Schools (Forms 1 & 2) and numbered about 1000 in total.
The CREW & Photographers
Images - preproduction
Images - preparations on the day
Images - the Pageant
On reaching a mooring point just past the Carter Fountain, each Star was welcomed in turn by the accompanying group of children.
The children sang songs of welcome that they had learnt in school with the help of Sun Festival crew. They were accompanied by adult musicians and an adult choir. The welcome songs were written by Jenny McCloud. Each of the 7 Stars were welcomed with a different song.
Each Star in turn acknowledged its welcome with an exhibition of its powers in the form of a fireworks display. Each display was different.
After each welcome ceremony each Star moved to a fixed mooring around the Carter Fountain. With the 7 welcomes completed the Stars formed a ring around the fountain.
The final act now began with a firework display that started on the Carter Fountain.
The display was accompanied by electronic music, building in size and intensity until it exploded with 100 rockets blasting into the sky. Simultaneously 6 of the 7 Stars caught alight, the 6 brothers from the legend were being consumed to make the sun, leaving Indigo, their sister who watched on, to be the moon.
The light then rose up into the sky in a climactic aerial fireworks display, completing the first "sunrise".
With that, all the children combined with the adult choir to sing the final "hymn".
As they did, images of children representing the bicultural and multicultural mix that makes up Wellington were projected onto a wall of water made by the Carter Fountain.
Due to a few problems on the water on the night the event ran much longer than planned, finishing around midnight. Sadly many children missed the spectacular finale.