I’ve had the great honour of performing at Eden Park numerous times over the years. While every moment standing out on that historic ground is a special one, these are the top three that will always stay with me.
Three: Singing the national anthem at the memorial service for the victims of the Christchurch massacre
The most recent of my performances at the Park was a rendition of the national anthem performed for the victims of the horrific terror attacks in Christchurch earlier this year. The memorial was a terribly sad but poignant and important occasion, and I was glad to be able to help in some small way.
When I stood there on the stage singing, I thought of all of the lives tragically lost due to the hatred of one individual, and I saw people of every imaginable cultural background singing the words to our national song together. It was a powerful moment that reminded me of the strength and solidarity of New Zealanders.
Two: Singing ‘Whakaaria Mai’ at the memorial service for Jonah Lomu
The memorial service for All Blacks legend Jonah Lomu was another sad occasion. Having idolised Jonah since I was a small child, performing at his service felt like the best way that I could honour him.
Music has incredible power to help people to process pain, and as singers, sometimes we are called upon to assist with relief and healing. Performing for the great man and his family was the least I could do. Having held it together to ensure I’d have a steady voice for the performance, I shed quite a few tears myself when I walked off the stage.
One: Singing the national anthem at the semi-final of the 2011 World Cup (All Blacks v Australia)
My most treasured memory of performing at the Park was a moment of great anxiety (singing my heart out for the All Blacks to give them the best possible start against their ancient foes, The Wallabies) that turned into a night of great joy (watching our boys smash the Aussies into a million pieces).
I sang that night in front of a choir, in a key higher than my usual anthem performance key, and together we belted out the most passionate rendition of ‘E Ihowā’ that we could muster. It’s a moment that will stay with me forever.