31 May 2023

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Next month Tiki Taane and Hollie Smith will be headlining a one-off gig in Christchurch to celebrate neurodiversity while also fundraising for the annual Camp Twitch for kids with Tourette Syndrome.

The concert, Brainwaves, is being hosted by the Tourette’s Association of New Zealand and sponsored by Rotary New Zealand to raise awareness and showcase the abilities and talents of young New Zealanders living with neurological disorders like Autism, ADHD or Tourette Syndrome.

At the event three support acts will perform in the first half before Hollie Smith takes to the stage, then another three will perform before Tiki Taane in the second half. Each act features at least one aspiring musician who lives with a neurological disorder.

As Robyn Twemlow, executive director of the Tourette’s Association explains, all too often people focus on the negative aspects of neurological disorders like being easily distracted in class or not being able to interact in social situations.

“We realised at the talent show we had at Camp Twitch last year that we have a lot of extraordinarily talented kids in our Association. We wanted to do something to help the kids feel better about themselves while at the same time showcasing their talents and their ability – to highlight what they are good at,” she says.

“One of the bands that is playing, The Lunatics, has five members who all live with Tourette Syndrome. But when they play music or sing, they don’t tic. So they sing or practice A LOT and are very accomplished musicians.”

One of the musicians on the autism spectrum, Griffin Little from Auckland who sings and plays guitar, will be accompanied on piano by Mike Chunn, founding member of Split Enz and The Citizens Band.

Tickets to Brainwaves, being held at the Isaac Theatre Royal on Saturday July 6th, are on sale now through Ticketek and start at $25.

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Now in its 5th year Camp Twitch brings together young people living with Tourette Syndrome from all over New Zealand to meet others like them – often for the first time.

Because Tourette Syndrome is not recognised as a disability in New Zealand there is no government funding available to host the camps that are literally life-changing for those who attend. Camp Twitch is only made possible thanks to donations and fundraising.

This year Camp Twitch is being held at Living Springs on Banks Peninsula.

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