Boxwood New Zealand


February 15-20, 2018
Waipu, New Zealand

Join us in beautiful & historic Waipu, New Zealand for five days of musical discovery and fun with James Kelly (Irish fiddle), Chris Norman (flutes, small pipes), and Rennie Pearson (DADGAD guitar, flutes, whistle & chef). Boxwood New Zealand is a magical experience with very limited enrollment and small class sizes, so please register early. Our venue for classes, CraigDhu, is located a few miles from Waipu on a majestic headland overlooking Bream Bay; huge thanks to the Craig Family.

We'll be coordinating rides from the Auckland Airport, and there are lots of lodging optons in the village of Waipu. Students attend classes daily (Friday-Tuesday.) and are encouraged to spend time with each teacher during the course of the week with the aim of discovering connections between oral traditions, expanding musical vocabulary, learning new techniques, broadening their sense of the instrument, and enabling them to find their own musical voice. The evenings will be filled with social gatherings that include excellent meals, concerts, social dancing, informal gatherings and sessions of music-making with students and teachers alike. While the week in Waipu will obviously emphasize the fiddle, flutes, whistles & pipes. students and players of all instruments at all levels – novice and experienced are welcome. Non-players too!


2018 Performers and Guest Artists:

A schedule will be available as the event draws closer; classes and activities will include:

  • Irish fiddle - (all bowed strings welcome including viola, cello, etc)
  • Flute - simple system and modern flutes; Scottish, Irish, Quebecois & Cape Breton tunes
  • Whistle - in D
  • Scottish small pipes - ancient and unusual tunes are explored
  • Guitar - DADGAD style fingerpicking and backup
  • Songs & ballads - from the Celtic and North American traditions
  • Historical Irish recordings - with James Kelly
  • Improv in Trad - with Chris
  • Sessions
  • Yoga & Stretching
  • Seaside walks
  • Local craft beer & wine tastings - (BYO-pot-luck)


Boxwood New Zealand Schedule February 15 - 20, 2018:

Thursday February 15
Arrive at the house in Waipu late afternoon and gather for an evening meal of home-made local specialties, fresh seafood and more. A session will follow.

Friday February 16
Daily classes with James Kelly, Chris Norman, Rennie Pearson

Saturday February 17
Daily classes with James Kelly, Chris Norman, Rennie Pearson

7:30pm Evening Concert at the Waipu Coronation Hall

Sunday February 18
Daily classes with James Kelly, Chris Norman, Rennie Pearson

Monday February 19
Daily classes with James Kelly, Chris Norman, Rennie Pearson

Tuesday February 20
Morning classes with James Kelly, Chris Norman, Rennie Pearson

Depart mid-afternoon

Pricing Structure:

Prices for the 2018 week in Waipu are in New Zealand dollars (NZD)

Full Tuition: $585 - Includes classes, 5 great suppers, and Saturday concert

Work Study: $375 - Includes classes, 5 great suppers, and Saturday concert

Day Rate: $125/Day - Includes classes and a great supper in the evening


How to Register:

Registration is an easy 2-step process:

Step 1: Complete the registration form via the button below. Be sure to scroll all the way down and click 'SUBMIT'.


Step 2: Pay . A direct transfer is best, and bank details will be shown in your confirmation email. Credit card payments & PayPal add 3%.

That's it! We'll be in touch with further details as the week approaches. If you're planning to come, please fill the form out ASAP so we can plan early. Registration is limited and on a first-come, first-serve basis upon receipt of both a registration form and payment.


Lodging options

Our venue is located in Waipu Cove, about 8km from the town of Waipu; AirBnB searches for Waipu Cove will put you in the right place. Waipu Wanderers Backpackers in Waipu is an excellent lodging option, and they will often provide a discount to Boxwood attendees. Steve & Elaine can also direct you to other options in the area. Feel free to contact us directly for other lodging suggestions.



James KELLY - Irish fiddle

James Kelly, a native of Ireland, is one of the greatest Irish traditional fiddlers alive today. He learned his music from his father John Kelly, the renowned fiddle and concertina player from County Clare. After years of careful study and practice, James began his recording and touring career at age sixteen. That year he won first place in the prestigious "Fiddler of the Year" competition and recorded his first album, a duet with his brother John. Since that time, James has toured Europe, the US, Canada and South America, and was a member of several influential Irish groups, including "Patrick Street" and the legendary folk group "Planxty." He was a presenter of the "Pure Drop" series for Irish TV and has appeared several times with the Grammy award winning Irish group, "The Chieftains." In the US, James has performed several times on Garrison Keillor's national radio show, "A Prairie Home Companion." In recent years he received the prestigious "Florida Folk Heritage Award" as well as the "Florida Individual Artist Fellowship in Folk Arts Award." James was the TG4 Irish traditional musician of the year, having been awarded the "Gradam Ceoil TG4 2006 Irish Musician of the Year" award in recognition of his outstanding musicianship and contributions to Irish music (TG4 is Ireland's Irish-language TV station). He has 18 albums to his credit and recently released his latest recording, "Melodic Journeys." He is currently working on a teaching DVD for fiddle students, as well as compiling his over 800 compositions for publication. He continues to tour with some of Irish music's leading accompanists.

"James is one of the most outstanding Irish musicians of this or any generation." --Dr. Mick Moloney, Musician and Folklorist, New York University

"As a virtuoso violinist and exponent of Irish Traditional Music, James ranks among the very best in Ireland today." --Tony MacMahon, Senior Producer, Radio Telefis Eireann

"James Kelly is widely recognized as one of Ireland's leading traditional fiddle players." --Dermot McLaughlin, Traditional Music Officer, Irish Arts Council

Chris NORMAN - director, traditional & early flutes, small pipes, song

Born in Halifax, Nova Scotia into a music loving family, Chris’ influential work as performer, composer, recording artist, teacher and flutemaker has earned him worldwide recognition. His flute playing has appeared on more than 40 recordings and can be heard featured on numerous Hollywood soundtracks. Chris is founder and director of the Boxwood Festivals and Workshops taking place for the past 20 years in Canada, New Zealand, and the US, inspiring thousands of musicians of all ages. As a flute maker, he brings to bear a discernment forged over a 30-year career to make world-class flutes for traditional, baroque and renaissance music. The Senate of Dalhousie University voted to award Chris a Doctor of Laws, honoris causa in 2015 in recognition of his artistic achievements and contributions to the community.

“. . .Norman stands out for his spirited eclecticism . . . His rootsy heritage shines through in every nuanced embellishment, trill, triple tonguing, and silky slide. It’s clear that Norman is having a ball, with the chops to make it sound effortless.” -- Billboard Magazine

“ . . .a flute player of spectacular & imaginative virtuosity” -- The New Yorker Magazine

“A flute superstar . . .the musicianship just came wailing out” --Toronto Globe & Mail

Rennie PEARSON - guitar, flutes, whistle, chef

Rennie is a multi-instrumentalist based in Golden Bay, NZ specializing in flutes, whistles, vocals and DADGAD tuned guitar.The journey started for Rennie before he was even born, with his mother playing him the music of flute virtuoso Chris Norman whilst still in her womb. By 15 he was immersed in the New Zealand traditional Irish music culture, attending weekly sessions and learning off stalwarts of Irish flute playing tradition in New Zealand; Pat Higgins and Brendyn Montgomery. With a firm footing in Irish music, Rennie has delved into the traditions of Scottish and Canadian music, sparking a great thirst for knowledge with has led him to pursue music from all over the world including the ancient classical music from India. Ren works with fiddler/piper Oscar West in the duo Polytropos and has collaborated with a wide range of musicians in performance and recording.



Registration for Boxwood 2018 is limited and is filled on a first come first serve basis upon full payment of tuition. Places cannot be held with a deposit. No Refunds will be made after January 15, 2018. Refund requests made on or before January 15, 2018 will receive a refund within 30 days of receipt of the full amount paid minus a $50 administrative charge. There are no refunds for work study participants. Cancellations prior to this time will be subject to the abovementioned $50 administrative charge.


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