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Parachute 09, the largest Christian music festival outside of the United States, today announces its commitment to social justice by partnering with New Zealand Women’s Refuge.
For many years Parachute Music has been addressing the issue of third world poverty through its support for World Vision. This year it will also focus its attention closer to home.
“New Zealanders at Parachute 09 will be encouraged to be active in creating change to enable those less fortunate to have the right to a decent life,” says Parachute founder, Mark de Jong.
“It’s easy to be focused on what we need or don’t have – especially in these uncertain times, but it’s good to stop and remember there are a lot of people around us with much bigger problems,” he says.
Women’s Refuge Chief Executive, Heather Henare says “We are delighted to be partnering with Parachute this year. Demand for our services increased by 16% on the previous year. We desperately need to turn this situation around in New Zealand and for that we need both the financial support and a community commitment to raising awareness,” she says.
Festival goers are being encouraged to bring a can of non-perishable food and a new pillow along to the event for Women’s Refuge. There will also be a collection taken at the Festival and a stand where people can learn about the cause.
Money raised at the Festival will fund programmes to educate and empower women, and cover running costs such as food, transportation and other essential items that women and children need.
Parachute will also continue its support for World Vision with the aim of getting 1,000 children in Rwanda sponsored and raising money to construct a health centre.
Another initiative in line with the Festival’s social justice theme is the “Shout a ‘Chuter” programme. “The idea is that you can shout someone else when you buy your ticket,” says Mr de Jong.
“The reality is that a number of people in our neighbourhood are not financially able to make it to Parachute 09. We know that the message over the weekend can change lives and circumstances and we want as many people as possible to be there to hear it.”
The Festival, now in its 19th year, will be held at Hamilton’s Mystery Creek over Auckland Anniversary weekend (23-26 January 2009). It boasts a strong suit of international headliners and expects more than 25,000 punters, who will experience 150 bands across 6 stages.