Press Release & What they are saying


Sturges Road, Henderson, Auckland

Ph: 836 1213  Fax: 836 0618

E-mail: admin@westernheights.school.nz


23 October 2013

Dear Singing Minstrel aka Mark

What an amazing day we had when you visited us last week. It had been two years since you last called by and all the Western Heights pupils were very excited to have you back.

The children had retained the facts they had learnt about saving our fish stock and safety on the water because your presentation has a powerful appeal.

They sing the songs, dance the dance, move in the groove and just love the session. Fun is an excellent vehicle to get important messages across and you have a successful formula.

Your musical ability and talent along with your relationships with kids is to be highly commended.

I fully recommend other schools to have you be part of their programme.

Wearing your adult entertainment hat, you provided a wonderful programme to support my farewell last Friday evening and the comments were so positive.

I wish you all the best for the future and I welcome any calls from other Principals to support the above statements.

Kindest regards

Sandra Hewetson


Western Heights Primary

Henderson, Auckland



20th May 2013

Mark de Lacy aka The Minstrel performed his “Hiwi the Kiwi Goes Fishing” show at St Paul’s, Massey last Friday.

I was “blown away” by the quality of the learning provided for students in the program. It had all the great components of a superb show – humour, music, dance, extraordinary interaction with the kids but it had much more.

The learning was clear and relevant and fulfilled all our requirements for future focus. The Minstrel started by giving the children the big picture of what we were going to learn. He made it relevant by talking about the opportunity to have their writing published in a nationwide magazine.

The learning intention and success criteria were delivered in edible bites and revisited. All 370 Y1 to Y6 kids were held riveted for 75 minutes. By the time they hit the classrooms they were busting to write and had retained all the information.

In all my years teaching simply the best I have ever seen.

Sharon Chaytor

Curriculum Leader for Inquiry

Read and endorsed by Mary Zellman, Principal



10th January 2012

Evan Mackay

NZ Sport Fishing Council


Dear Evan

RE: Hiwi the Kiwi

On behalf of the Houhora Big Game & Sportfishing Club (Inc) I would like to take this opportunity to thank you, Roz & Paul Batten for all the support you gave to me recently in my quest for ‘Hiwi the Kiwi’ information.

As you know (& I am ashamed to admit) my knowledge around the concept of Hiwi the Kiwi was about half a degree above zero.

The purpose of obtaining information about ‘Hiwi the Kiwi was in fact for our ‘Kidz Fishing Day’. An email to Roz turned into a call to you.  As you know a cancellation of our original competition date allowed me the time to find sponsors to pay for the appearance.  What a great appearance it was.  Not only the children but the adults too were fascinated by Mark & Chrissies performance.  I only wish I could have seen the whole show, sadly I had other things to organise.

Thank you also for the Hiwi the Kiwi products you donated Evan, we gave those out as lucky draws, the books are really awesome especially with the CD as well.  The Rod & Reel set we are going to give to the child that sends us the best story or poem about fishing.  Entries close on Sunday the 22nd January.  We hope the NZ Fishing News will publish it along with a photo or two about our day with ‘The Minstrel’ in Houhora. 

Our ’Kidz 24 hour Fishing Competition’ was a huge success, considering the weather wasn’t.  We had 67 brave anglers and their parents or guardians out there fishing and attracted 37 new memberships.   I attribute the posters, newsletters and advertising about ‘Hiwi the Kiwi’ to have been a big draw card enticing people to see the show.  Frank Malley from the Northland Age has been extremely supportive for us thru his sports page.  There is an article & picture of ‘The Minstrel’ on the sports page today 10 January.

If there is any way in which I can help with please let me know and don’t hesitate to refer other clubs my way.  This is such a great way to educate the next generation; every club should be making the effort to bring Hiwi the Kiwi to their clubrooms.  The appearance fee is so minimal – I had no problem raising the money – ask & you shall receive!

Before I close, I was talking to one of the local MAF team last month and was explaining to him about the show and he said to me that ‘something like this show was the way to get thru to the future fishers because current education isn’t working.’

In closing Evan I would like to say that those at the Prizegiving will talk about the show for a while to come.   Lisa & I have had some fabulous comments about the afternoon (especially the show) and we look forward to seeing Mark & Chrissie back again soon.  We may look at something during the winter months.

Thanks again & kind regards

Debbie Bunn

Houhora Big Game & Sportfishing Club (Inc) Committee Member





 Over the last few weeks an on-line competition was conducted by Real New Zealand Festival to find the ”Peoples Choice” song to support the All Blacks. Ashhurst School and The Minstrel’s entry “Black Fever” proved to be the clear winner with 2000 more hits and 65 more “likes” than the second placed finalist.

 The Minstrel, aka entertainer Mark de Lacy, will be living up to his name with his song to be heard throughout the country over the next few weeks. While ‘the country’ may be a bit of an exaggeration,” Black Fever” will certainly receive plenty of air time at the various Rugby World Cup Fan Zones until after the final is played on Sunday October 23.

 Black Fever was written by The Minstrel and produced as a music video with the co-operation of Ashhurst School students. It was made from conception to finished product in two weeks with a budget of zero.

 “I had performed the ‘Hiwi the Kiwi Goes fishing Show’ at the Manawatu school the week I received an invitation to enter the competition so asked  principal Nick Reed if his students would be interested in collaborating in the project,” Mark says.

What the Minstrel asked the students to do was produce a haka to be videoed as a backdrop to the song.

 “They went well beyond that. Nick arranged parents and teachers to provide sound recording, lighting and camera operator, to produce a polished product.”

The school was ‘blacked out’ for the day of the recording and The Minstrel hurriedly put together a backing band of some local muso aquaintances.

“These guys had never played together before and rehearsed the song just three times before the kids began filming at lunchtime. The kapa haka group joined us and we had it ‘in the can’ by 2.30pm, just on a week after receiving the initial invitation.”

 The footage was edited by parents and it was entered in the event that has some of the New Zealand entertainment scene’s big hitters involved such as Scribe and P Money and even an overseas group, London’s The Canz.

 Having won the competition the school has now turned the whole project into an enquiry learning educational lesson, touching on marketing, design and producing press releases.

 One spin-off for Ashhurst School is the sale of the song, available in DVD form. The students create an individually designed cover and are selling the finished product for $10, with all profits going to its school hall renovation project.

 A second benefit has been the interest created in The Minstrel’s ‘Hiwi the Kiwi Goes Fishing’ programme, run in conjunction with the NZ Sport Fishing Council, with many bookings for 2012 being made.

 The video is available to view on the HOME PAGE. Readers can obtain their own copy by sending $10 (or more if you want to contribute to  the  hall project) to Ashhurst School, 96 Cambridge Avenue, Ashhurst, Manawatu or by phoning or emailing  credit card details to 0274450772 or  kgiles@ashhurst.school.nz  

  CONTACTS  Mark de Lacy Whatuwhiwhi 0272555442 theminstrel@xtra.co.nz

 Nick Reed Principal Ashhurst School 021518201

What they are saying

On behalf of everyone at Oroua Downs School we would like to thank the NZSFC for the opportunity to take part in the Hiwi the Kiwi goes fishing programme. Our children live near the beach and we have never had something as entertaining, meaningful and relevant offered to our community before.

Our children loved the show and learnt so much. The children learnt about safety in and around water and communicated their learning to their parents with a real passion. I would like to congratulate you all on a magnificent programme and the Minstrel on a stunning presentation.

The resource that accompanies the programme is of superior quality and our staff are using this as next terms focus. We will also be basing our production around the themes learnt in the programme. The kind offer of assistance from the Tangimoana fishing club was really appreciated and we are going to take them up on their offer next term. Once again thank you for the opportunity and all the best for the future.

Tanya Zander
Oroua Downs School, Foxton


Hiwi the Kiwi Goes Fishing was a fantastic show - one of the best ever seen at our primary school. It was full of humour, catered well for all levels and through song conveyed the key messages around kai moana and water safety.

Bernie Oliver
Deputy Principal, Trentham School Upper Hutt

Captivating, educational and entertaining.

Raewyn Pepperell,
Principal, Fairfield School Levin.

We had The Minstrel presenting to an audience of almost 500 from new entrants to Year 8 and from the start he had them entranced, energised and totally attentive - an hour and a quarter. An amazing and talented singer, muscian and hard case. I would defi nately recommend this person and his message to you.

Dave Hughes
Principal, Hilltop School, Taupo


"I attended the Hiwi the Kiwi launch on Friday at Frimley School, Hastings. Two local politicians attended, as did the press, and other sponsors with Richard Baker President NZBGFC.

While I was not a strong supporter of funding this initiative initially and was keen to see the product in its final form, I was impressed with the high level of professionalism of Mark de Lacy (The Minstrel) and the quality of the program for the children.

Given the length and breadth of exposure of Council and Foundation (3 years) I would say that we have got very good value for money and will reap rewards from this education program. This will be multiplied as local clubs associate themselves with the program as it tours New Zealand."

Peter Davie
(Professor of Comparative Anatomy, IVABS Massey University. Trustee NZ Marine Research Foundation)

"I was invited to attend the Hiwi the Kiwi Show at Apanui School, Whakatane on Friday the 25th September 2009, not knowing too much about his show. It was an unbelievable experience and how he got the whole message across to 400 young children was little short of a miracle.

He had them singing, clapping, dancing and keeping the beat at all times, while he played the music and sung. He had the children’s full attention for the entire show which was around 90mins.

The message was simply unbelievable in its approach that covered lots of aspects of Fishing, Conservation ,Water safety etc… What a fantastic medium to teach the young people. I came away enlightened, exhilerated and gob smacked about the whole show. I trust he carries on with the shows and can do the whole country."

John Baker
Marine Charters, Whakatane


“I attended the launch last Friday and really enjoyed the experience. Couldn’t believe how well behaved the kids were! They were right into it and had obviously done some preliminary work prior to the Minstrels’ visit as many had created posters supporting the call to look after the fi shing resource.

From a WSNZ perspective the incorporation of water safety messages around the importance of learning to swim, adult supervision around all water based activities and the wearing of life jackets at all times on boats was excellent. Good to see local MP’s Chris Tremain and Craig Foss made the effort to attend.”  

Chris Robinson
Water Safety New Zealand  

NZSF Vice President and Mt Maunganui Club delegate attended a successful Hiwi the Kiwi Show at Gate Pa School. The following weeks led to the whole school visiting the club over five days with discussions about; safety, filleting the catch, what we have caught, how we catch fish, to explaining what happens in a fishing club, the records and the fish mounts on display. There were some very elated children including: "I am from Korea and have never been fishing, I didn't catch anything but had lots of fun learning", "my favourite part was when I caught a fish", "I had so much fun my Mum and Dad are now going to buy me a fishing rod" and comments from the teachers were also amazing. They said that it's the largest response for parent help they have ever had. Just goes to show how popular the lure of fishing is. Thanks heaps to Barbara Woodill, Craig Lubbe, Brian Goldsbury, Mike Speed, Mike Lenihan, Ian Steed, Shirley Baker and Rob Miller for all their help on the days. Also a huge thanks to Bruce Weston from the Big Fish Bait and Tackle, Barry Elshaw from Tauranga Coastguard and Peter Williams from MOF for taking the time to contribute to this very worthwhile exercise.

Gate Pa School

Hiwi the Kiwi