31 Jul 2015

K-pop's loyal New Zealand fanbase

12:59 pm on 31 July 2015

Ahead of the Wellington K-Pop World Festival competition we talk to some of the stand out contestants.

K-pop is music at its pop-iest with ultra polished dance sequences, catchy melodies, and elaborate outfits. While it may be some time before it’s considered mainstream in New Zealand, interest is certainly simmering.  

K-pop, short for Korean Pop, first swept through South Korea in the early 1990s and despite the songs being almost exclusively in Korean, the genre has spread through the rest of Asia like wildfire.

Since the mid-2000s, the K-pop industry has experienced double digit growth rates, and Korea’s ministry of culture, sport and tourism estimated its economic value to be about US$5.26 billion.

Undoubtedly the genre’s most successful break into the West was the 2012 hit 'Gangnam Style' by Korean musician Psy. It’s still the most watched YouTube video ever with over 2 billion views and counting.

It may seem like a world away, but New Zealand has its own K-Pop fan base with a loyal Facebook fan page.

Since 2012, the most dedicated Kiwi K-poppers have had the opportunity to compete in a worldwide competition that gives amateur non-Korean performers a chance to travel to the music’s birthplace.

The K-Pop World Festival was set up by South Korea’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the New Zealand leg of the competition is happening tomorrow night in Wellington.

This year, about 50 contestants entered either the vocal or the performance category and best of the bunch will perform live on stage.

As well as pocketing a bit of prize money, tomorrow night's winners will be entered into an online semi-final round, and if they make it through that, it’s off to Korea.

The 2013 event was a particularly successful year for New Zealand with twin brother dance team, Philip and Jason Siu from Wellington, winning the Global Talent Award at the finals in South Korean.

The K-Pop World Festival New Zealand finals will be held in conjunction with the K-Culture festival.

When: Saturday 1 August 11:00am-4:00pm
Where: Shed 6, Wellington
Admission: Free

Video shot and edited by Luke McPake 

Additional shooting by John Lake 

Produced by Mava Moayyed

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