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Busking spectacular in Whitianga

A thirteen-piece String Ensemble made up of teens, children and two adults surprised and charmed the lunchtime passing throng on Thursday, 4 January. A potpourri of Celtic, Irish, Country, Classical and Latin American is not something that is often heard on Albert Street, Whitianga.  Their delightful music set toes tapping and Irish and South American hearts racing. 
 |  Stan Stewart  |  , ,

‘The Nations Go Busking’ is a group of young people who are all learning a stringed instrument. How they came together is because of the hospitality of a Coromandel couple, Saskia and Jelte Reimersma. The ‘Informer’ paper sponsored this visit to Whitianga of the colourful, talented group of musicians. 


Beginnings: As with many homes in our area the Reimersma’s bush property outside of Coromandel  has some additional accommodation which was created in previous years. Come summer these spaces are filled with young people, starting with the Reimersma’s  Nation family from Hamilton. 

 Music has always been important to the Riemersmas and their extended family. Their daughter, Marieke, and her husband Chris Nation are both music teachers in the Hamilton region with a special interest in stringed instruments. Their three children were introduced at an early age to the music of the violin. In fact, Chris Nation’s mother, Beverley, has been a member of the Trust Waikato Symphony Orchestra as lead violinist for many years and Chris’ brother is lead violinist in the Berlin Philharmonic. Music was and is a way of life – both work and play in the Nation household.

 In 2019, their children attended a Summer Camp organized by the New Zealand Suzuki Institute. At the camp the Nation family made friends with a family from Wellington, the Sungsuwan family. An invitation was issued to the Sungsuwan family to come and holiday with their grandparents (the Reimersma family) at Coromandel. It was from this holiday that the idea of ‘The Nations Go Busking’ was born. Over the next four summer holidays, this musical extended family busked in Coromandel town. This was a challenging and exciting experience. The funds raised were used for further music training and music camps.

Depending on the availability of the young people, the group varies a little each summer. One reason they chose the name ‘The Nations Go Busking’ is because the young people have different ethnic backgrounds, the current group being from Thailand, China and Japan.  This summer, the families have been joined by three more young people. The common thread which connects them all is a love for stringed instruments and a willingness to work together to hamake a beautiful harmonious sound.


After a visit to Hot Water Beach on Thursday evening 4 January, the group gave a concert at the beautiful ‘Family Restaurant and Campground’ at Whenuakite. This was a great success which set diners dancing on the lawn.


The Informer hopes to sponsor another Whitianga visit of ‘the Nations Go Busking’ next summer.

This Summer, Saturday, 24 February, the Nations Go Busking are the opening act for the Sunset Symphony at Hamilton Gardens. This is an event led by Trust Waikato Symphony Orchestra.