Meet: Kaine WilsonKaine Wilson (pictured far right) has been with Harcourts for over 26 years. Hawke’s Bay born and bred, Kaine and his wife, Jo, own the local branch. Pitsch Leiser approached Kaine at the 11th hour in 2015, seeking a main sponsor for the inaugural arts festival, and it was his passion that ultimately convinced Kaine to take a punt and become the naming sponsor.
Kaine: We’re very much about supporting people who are absolutely passionate because we know they will then do a great job, and Pitsch was just amazing.
About half an hour of us talking, I just turned around and agreed to come on board.
For us it was about aligning our brand with something across Hawke’s Bay and across all whole walks of life. And from a national point of view, the festival definitely has an influence in bringing people to Hawke’s Bay.”
HBAF: This is Harcourts’ fourth year of supporting the festival now, and you’ve renewed for another three years. This year there’s also been a step up, with individual agents getting behind the festival purchasing tickets for school kids, so there’s a lot of goodwill.
Kaine: Yes. This year round we did focus on how individual people can get involved and help drive the festival to the next level. By making sure we’re getting into those areas where people may not necessarily have access to the festival. Some of the schools on board with the Festival to Schools programme are obviously keen and financially able, but the idea is around helping those who can’t. It was about our people going into those schools and wanting to give back into those communities. We’ve got agents taking 50-odd kids to the festival or, in some cases, entire schools. We’re about the give philosophy. And the feedback from the community is amazing.
We get feedback from all kinds of people every year, emails, letters, phone calls: “Thank you for bringing this here.”
That’s a real feel-good factor as well.
HBAF: So it’s had a really positive spin for you, in how you’re reflected in the community. Personally what do you enjoy about the festival?
Kaine: The craziest thing is, I wasn’t an artsy-type festival person, and what this experience has proven to me here, is the arts festival is an opportunity to go along to something at a minimal cost and test your own tastes and experiences. And they’re good short, sharp events.
You surprise yourself, what you’re actually interested to look at and like.
There will be someone in the household perhaps that’s been dragged along, and then they’re pretty much an addict from then on in! It’s the whole package – the live experience, being right there, the feeling. And now that the festival’s pushed out to multiple venues, it’s terrific too for the whole Napier-Hastings binding. This is something for the whole of Hawke’s Bay.
HBAF: What does your role as sponsor entail? Obviously you’re named on the festival programme and there’s the financial gifting, but what does that mean?
Kaine: For us it’s all about the association with a good broad spectrum, feel-good event. And we’re able to assist in numerous ways with our reach, Harcourts being the largest real estate brand across the country.
HBAF: So you’re able to promote the festival through your networks, and on the ground during the festival itself you and your staff go to shows…
Kaine: Lots of our staff go. We have fun nights, where we take our whole administration staff out, for instance. That creates a feel-good within. But also a number of our salespeople are taking groups themselves or shouting clients tickets, and for our agents being made to feel really special when they go to those shows is a big part of it. And they’re proud, they’re really, really proud going there.
HBAF: Your wife’s a ceramist and a keen festival supporter. But she’s not here this year, I understand?
Kaine: No, Jo will be offshore exploring more of the arts at that time – she paints and pots. So it things will definitely be a bit different this year, because in the past all the shows we went to together. But then, the festival is a great opportunity to rally friends and family, and at Harcourts we’re really genuine about that.
HBAF: What shows have you got down on your list?
Kaine: I really enjoy acrobatic, circus type shows, and the music, and of course, comedy. So that will be By a Thread this year and Louis Baker, we’ve got a big crew going to these. And Wilson Dixon – we’ve been told this guy is really funny and we’ve had a lot of people take up that show. So the mixture of us at Harcourts is circus type, comedy, and brilliant music.
When the kids were younger we’d go to Wellington or Auckland to see Cirque du solei, but some of these festival acts, on a smaller scale, are just as amazing.
It’s an opportunity to see something locally you wouldn’t otherwise.
And then the music, you’re sitting there watching a more high-class, theatre-style performance, it’s not like an alcohol-infused event. You get to go to a mini-concert without having those great big crowds, something on a smaller scale in a more civilised manner.
HBAF: You were saying the launch video has been really pivotal in your office for deciding which shows to go to.
Kaine: Yes, very much so. Look, Pitsch did a great release on that video, and then, good old Google, you can get in there and have a look at what those artists have done. But it also comes down to the fact that there’s some history now – people who have been to the festival before have faith in the process and they trust the team who’s putting it together.
It doesn’t matter what you go to, it’s going to be of a high standard. What is certain about this year’s festival, the community will love it.