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King Neptune's Trail



It may have rained on their Parade this morning, but that didn’t discourage the sea creatures in King Neptune’s Trail.


The Parade, which meanders its singing-and-dancing way from outside O’Hagan’s Bar in Market Square through to the Volvo Ocean Race Village stage, showcases sea creatures representing the countries participating in the race.


The parade will take place at 12.30pm and 6pm on Saturday and Sunday, and at 6pm on weeknights. Sarah Burren, managing director of Little Green Man Productions, says the creatures in the parade are all future characters in Journey to the Deep, scheduled for June to coincide with World Ocean Day.


The underwater wonders in the King Neptune’s Trail Parade include three Chinese mermaids, Ling, Meili and Chang Chang, representing China and Team Sanya. In real life, the mermaids are Chinese students in New Zealand. They travel the length of the Parade seated on a rock because, of course, mermaids can’t walk.


There is also Harry the Hapuka from Hahei, New Zealand’s representative, and Pablo the Prawn from Spain. Abu Dhabi’s Amal the Turtle is based on a real-life turtle that was saved from certain death by local sailors. Amal means Hope.


France’s crab is called Louis Le Clare, an elderly gentleman unhappy at having lost one of his claws. Marmo the Octopus represents USA and the PUMA team, and is the cool kid on the street, sure to become a favourite with younger parade watchers.


There are also dancing sea anemones, blue bottles and sea lice. These parts are taken by dance and drama students from Waitakere College.


Wisdom the albatross is the mascot for the Volvo Ocean Race Keep the Oceans Clean! project - and the star of the show. He’s the only one who can talk, so all the others look up to him.


The costumes and characters for these marine creatures were designed by Burren and her team at LGM Productions, and the makeup is courtesy of Ali Brill, head of the Diploma in Production Design at the Cut Above Academy in Auckland’s CBD. She and her students design and apply the makeup for each Parade, and the students receive credits towards their diploma as part of their course work.


Any production such as this has hiccups, and so it proved this morning, when the door of the room housing costumes and makeup had to be broken down. Undaunted, the Parade went ahead.