Kineta Booker

Marriage Celebrant

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And the Valentine’s Day winner is…

And the winner of my ‘Love is love is LOVE’ this Valentine’s Day competition, for the double pass to Showbiz Christchurch‘s Priscilla Queen of the Desert AND some delicious fudge from Mary Gray Confections Ltd is…..

Sarah Keenan !!


Congratulations Sarah! Flick me a message so I can get these awesome prizes to you!

Thanks so much for the 161 votes we had!

Priscilla opens at the Isaac Theatre Royal on Friday March 24. Find more information:…/priscilla-queen-of-the-de…/

Backstage:Weddings NZ – Choosing a Celebrant

Celebrants Scott Koorey and Kineta Booker

Celebrants Scott Koorey and Kineta Booker

When it comes to planning your wedding, one person you’ll definitely need to book is a celebrant – as they are the ones that officially get you hitched!

So the big questions are – where do I find one, and what do I look for in a celebrant?

This podcast is a two-for-one: two awesome Christchurch celebrants chatting it out in one podcast. Scott Koorey and Kineta Booker discuss what the celebrant’s role is and so much more.

Definitely worth a listen! You can find out more about them at and

Backstage Podcast:Weddings NZ is a brand new series for Backstage Podcast. You can find out more about it at

You can listen to the podcast with Scott and Kineta here:

And the winner is….

It is with great pleasure that I announce the winner of my free celebrant services – Adelle Anderson!!

Congratulations Adelle and your fiancé Sam. I truly can’t wait to work with you both towards crafting a beautiful wedding ceremony especially for you x

I was totally blown away by the 71 votes I received for this competition, and to celebrate I’ll have a wee Valentine’s Day treat in everyone’s Messenger inboxes shortly x

Love is love is LOVE this Valentine’s Day!

Love is love is LOVE this Valentine’s Day!

WIN a double pass to Showbiz Christchurch‘s Priscilla, Queen of the Desert. All you need to do is:
– ‘Like’ the Showbiz Christchurch page
– ‘Like’ the Kineta Booker – Christchurch Celebrant page
– Tag in someone you love on my FB page! (If, like me, you love lots of people, tag them all! Just give each a new comment)

Here’s a photo of Bernadette and Bob from the Christchurch cast

Winner will be drawn this Sunday 19th February (cos it’s really Valentine’s week after all!) Good luck!

One day to go!

Hello!! As a recently registered marriage and civil union celebrant, I would love to offer my services for FREE to one couple getting married in the Christchurch area! If you know a couple (or are a couple) who would love a fun, friendly, vibrant and contemporary celebrant, please ‘like’ my Facebook page and vote for them by messaging me. Entries close midnight February 13, 2017, and will be announced on Valentines Day! ROMANCE! Ha!

You can read more about me at

Please note: I’ll have to be available on your wedding date, of course! Good luck!

Review: Showbiz ‘Can’t Stop The Beat!’

Hairspray. Presented by Showbiz Christchurch. Director/Choreographer Leigh Evans. Musical Director Richard Marrett. Isaac Theatre Royal. 8 – 18 June, 2016. Reviewed by Kineta Knight Booker.

Driving music, spectacularly bright and beautiful costumes, high physical and vocal energy, and the nicest smelling theatre in town – Hairspray certainly made its mark last night.

Set in 1962, Baltimore, Tracy Turnblad (Lucy Porter) has the dream of dancing on The Corny Collins Show. Her mother Edna (Antony Saywell) refuses to let her because she doesn’t want her to be laughed at because of her size. But Tracy’s father Wilbur (Warwick Shillito) supports her, she skips school and wins a part on the show. Hairspray is not just about the big musical numbers but addresses important moments in history such as integration, and the 1960s Civil Rights Movement.

You know a person is absolutely made for a role when they open their mouth and magic comes out, and despite there being an entire cast on stage, they’re the only person you see. Porter was made for the role of Tracy. She’s a vivacious ball of vibrant energy, talent and fun. And Tracy’s kooky sidekick Penny (Ailis Oliver-Kerby) is also a complete joy to watch.

Shillito once again shines on the Showbiz stage in his role as Wilbur who runs the Har-De-Har Hut. Shillito’s energetic stage presence is delightful and lovable.

And then there’s Tracy’s mother… During the show, the gentleman sitting to my right kept saying to his wife, “No… that’s not a man… is it?”, and then following the show, the gentleman sitting to our left said “That wasn’t a bloke, was it?” Saywell, you make an incredibly convincing Edna. You’re dynamic, humorous, and a pleasure to watch in this role made famous by cult actor Divine in the 1988 original movie of Hairspray, and then John Travolta in the massive movie hit of 2007.

Lou Days’ return to the Showbiz Christchurch stage is a very welcome one, with her soulful maturity. Her “bucket list” role of Motormouth Maybelle had some audience members on their feet applauding following her powerhouse rendition of I Know Where I’ve Been. I can’t say I’ve seen something like that happen during a theatre performance before, and it certainly added to the impact of the show.

The set design by Harold Moot was spectacular. It was grand and colourful, and there’s a real treat during the curtain call. And how Diane Brodie manages the hundreds of costumes is a mystery, and her 26-strong team of assistants have got a lot of work on their hands. The happy, bright and beautiful costumes are enviable as the audience watches in their dark clothing.

Hairspray is on for only ten days, and it’s a show you’ll need to see more than once as there is so much happening on stage.

Showbiz, that’s two out of two this year, after the sell-out success of Mamma Mia. One more to go in 2016, and if Evita is anything like these two, it’s going to be a goodie.


Review: Educating Rita

Educating Rita. Presented by The Court Theatre. Directed by Yvonne Martin. The Court Theatre. 28 May – 25 June, 2016. Reviewed by Kineta Knight Booker.

Willy Russell’s Educating Rita is a humorous insight into relationships, transformation and choice for both of the characters in this play.

George Henare’s Frank is a grumpy, yet delightful, academic who, initially grudgingly, takes Rita on a literary journey through The Open University. Rather than being at home enjoying a lamb cassoulet, he’s at work earning extra cash to fund his pints at the pub.

And into his life walks Rita. We watch her (Kathleen Burns) grow from a hairdresser who’s enthusiastic about learning (“I want to know everything!”) and loves the book Rubyfruit Jungle by Rita Mae Brown, to a woman who’s “dead” passionate about literature and having lively debates with other students. You could almost say it’s the 1980s version of My Fair Lady. Almost.

As the play develops, so too do the characters. Not just how Rita dresses, talks, and behaves, but from an unhappy home life to contentment in her realisation of self. And Frank’s drinking, poetry, mood and private life all receive an overhaul, not always for the better.

At times, the script is extremely wordy, but the repartee between the two is so natural, it’s like the audience is eavesdropping on a conversation and relationship between a tutor and his student.

The direction, and the active stage made the funny, lively script even more fascinating. Light was used effectively to depict changes in time and the cast did well to remember all the different scenes, costume changes, and props, as they were aplenty. The set is an absolute marvel with its accurate representation of a literature tutor’s office – full of books, papers, ‘stuff’, and with or without the stashed liquor.

Burns is a stand-out in this role. She’s a true young talent, with an enticing, energetic presence. And Henare is charming, sincere, and witty, and together they breathe contemporary life into this 1980 Russell play.

Backstage: Podcast – Singer and Actor Naomi Ferguson

Backstage Podcast’s latest guest is currently playing Blanche DuBois in Repertory‘s production of A Streetcar Named Desire.

Perhaps better known for her singing, Naomi Ferguson‘s portrayal of Blanche shows she also knows how to act. And she acts very well indeed.

Here is the full interview with Naomi on Backstage Podcast:

Backstage Podcast is easy to download. On your iPhone just press the purple ‘podcasts’ app and search for Backstage Podcast NZ; you can download Podbean on your android (Backstage Podcast NZ); or iTunes Backstage Podcast NZ.

Review: A Streetcar Named Desire

A Streetcar Named Desire by Tennessee Williams. Presented by Repertory. Directed by Dan Bain. Elmwood Auditorium. 11 – 28 May, 2016. Reviewed by Kineta Knight Booker.

I wanted to call my first-born Tennessee, and seeing A Streetcar Named Desire reminded me exactly why I wanted to honour him with that name. Tennessee Williams’ passion for the spoken and written word, his eloquence as a talented playwright, the deep stories he found himself writing: all these things are within the script of Streetcar, and it’s no wonder the play won the Pulitzer Prize for Drama in 1948.

It’s a story centred around Blanche DuBois (Naomi Ferguson), who moves to New Orleans to be with her sister Stella (Margot Gray) and Stella’s husband Stanley (Sebastian Boyle). Stella is in a loving but violent relationship, and Blanche and Stanley staunchly dislike each other.

I can’t recall a play, directed by Dan Bain, that hasn’t been anything short of amusing. So does he get drama right? In a word – yes.

It wasn’t Bain’s fault that there was constant backstage talking. Not even whispering, talking. And thumping, rustling, crashing and banging. Actually, what was happening in the wings on stage left through the entire play? It was utterly distracting for the audience, and downright rude to the actors onstage.

And it wasn’t Bain’s fault there was a 4.7 magnitude quake in the middle of the performance. In fact, it added to the drama, and Ferguson handled Mother Nature with incredible professionalism.

What Bain can take credit for is casting a fantastic leading four, and their portrayal of the characters.

Blanche appears strong and proper, but is in fact incredibly fragile. Ferguson is outstanding in this role, as we see her character develop through the play. She’s a lovely actress with a powerful stage presence.

The chemistry and combination of Boyle and Gray is very good. It’s clear that Boyle is a strong actor, but perhaps, at times, a little subtle in his role as the abuser. Gray is stunning. She’s perfect in the role of Stella: lovely, ever-forgiving, ensures everyone is happy, making excuses for the abuse.

And Mitch (Noam Wegner) is awkward, fumbling and loveable. “Poker should not be played in a house with women,” is certainly a line to remember.

The themes of rape and abuse were handled with a filter, with much of it being implied, which worked well.

The only scene that was a let down was unfortunately the opening sequence. The two women who opened the show turned their heads away from the audience, rushed their sentences and ate their words. It almost set the scene for a clumsy play but luckily Ferguson’s entrance changed that.

It’s a tough auditorium to perform in, but the set design did well to make it feel like a theatre. And a nod to the lighting team. It played an important role throughout with its emotiveness, and by creating an atmosphere perfect for this play.



Review: Risqué school production hits the right notes

Cabaret. Presented by St Andrew’s College. Directed by Laurence Wiseman. Musical director Duncan Ferguson. Choreographer Ginnie Thorner. St Andrew’s College Theatre. 8 – 13 May, 2016. Reviewed by Kineta Knight Booker.

Provocative, risqué, promiscuous, prostitution, drug use… Not common themes for a school production, in fact, some might say completely inappropriate. But the risk St Andrew’s College has taken with Cabaret, albeit shocking, is a good one – because it works.

Cabaret is set in Berlin in the 1930s against a backdrop of the uprising of the Nazi party, centred around a burlesque theatre called the KitKat Klub.

The maturity shown by the whole cast to put on such an adult show is incredible. And the talent is outstanding.

From the outset, the second you walk into the theatre scantily-clad ladies chat-up the audience and show people to their seats. Then the stage comes alive with an incredibly talented young actor playing the Emcee (Cameron McHugh), with his song Willkommen – “We have no troubles here!” he promises, “Here, life is beautiful.” McHugh is confident, funny, has a mature understanding of his character, and holds the show together with perfect comic timing. Either he is a talent far beyond his years, or he had plenty of coaching from director Laurence Wiseman.

On that note, the show is an absolute credit to Wiseman for casting such a talent-filled show, but also for the hard work he’s obviously put into the musical. It shows the strength of not only StAC’s drama and music departments but technical too – the sound and lighting was sublime.

Choreography in this show is beautiful, naughty and actually quite stunning. Ginnie Thorner certainly met the brief. And the company carries out Thorner’s choreography with precision, ease and humour, bringing the stage to life every time they appeared.

The driving force behind this musical is the orchestra, lead by Duncan Ferguson. It’s hard to believe they were all students. Special mention for their Entr’acte – it was a definite audience favourite, and the drummer/percussionist (Patrick Moran) was a delight to watch, perhaps because he was so close to the stage. The orchestra was almost moulded into the set, and it worked well.

Neil MacLeod (Cliff Bradshaw) is another young actor who steals the stage. He’s reminiscent of a young crooner, with the understated personality of Clark Kent. MacLeod has a lovely voice, a wonderful stage presence and excellent, natural, acting skills. As does William Harrington, who plays the Nazi Ernst Ludwig. He maintains a great German accent, is charming, manipulative and scary.

And if you’re looking for some romance, then the relationship between Fräulein Schneider (Celine Bullivant) and Herr Schultz (Grayson Milligan) will melt you. A truly sweet couple, who finds themselves caught up in the middle of the anti-semitism movement.

There were times, however, in the show, that instead of singing, there was shouting. All I’d say is, take it easy as there is a week of shows to get through and your voices are your main tool.

For a school production this show is an absolute stand-out, in fact, I had to keep reminding myself how young the performers were. (And, to be fair, it wasn’t always when something debaucherous was happening, but mostly when the level of talent continually surprised me.)

It’s a shame the show runs for only a week, as I’m certain there are more people who will want to see it than there are seats left to sell.

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