The Waiheke Island based hip hop mega crew was recently awarded the international status of ‘World’s Oldest Dance Troupe’ by Guinness World Records.
“We are very honoured to be invited to perform at this special event. It’s a really big deal in Taiwan and attracts a lot of attention from news media all over Asia. The organisers, the Hondao Senior Citizens’ Welfare Foundation (Hondao Foundation) and Silver Linings Global, saw us on an Asian news programme and tracked us down,” says 80 year old Hip Op-eration Crew member Brenda Long (aka BB Rizzell).
The Hondao Foundation is a non-profit organisation which provides various services to support seniors in Taiwan to lead healthy and fulfilled lives. Silver Linings Global works alongside the Foundation and also provides strategic consulting on knowledge management, global marketing and event management in the ageing and healthcare industries - including international networking.
The Hip Op-eration Crew consists of 23 senior citizens aged 67 to 95 years old; all neighbours on Waiheke Island. They have competed in the NZ National Hip Hop Championships over the past two years and were guest performers at the World Hip Hop Championships in Las Vegas last year where they received standing ovations.
“We are doing lots of fundraising to pay for the flights to Taiwan in November. The Hondao Foundation and Silver Linings Global are raising the funds to cover the costs of our food, transport and accommodation and that is just fantastic. They know that, on a pension, we just can’t afford those expenses. We are hoping to raise $5,000 in donations on our Givealittle charity site to contribute to our flight costs.
“Going to Taiwan is going to be a real culture shock for us so we’re both excited and a little bit nervous about the trip. I think we will be quite overwhelmed by everything – but in a good way. The whole show in the Taipei Stadium will be in Mandarin Chinese and we’ll be the only westerners there. The language, food and customs will be completely new to us so it’s going to be a real adventure.
“We’ve also been asked to share our life stories with the other senior citizens in Taiwan. It’ll be great to compare how our life paths differ from theirs. It’s not just a hip hop performance; it’s a real cultural exchange which hasn’t really happened before with people in our age group.
“Our aim is to do New Zealand proud and represent the youthfulness of our people, both old and young, to the rest of Asia,” says Long.
The Hip Op-eration Crew members include four people who use mobility aids, five members in their 90s, many people who are deaf, and one member who is legally blind. The average age is 79 and there are five men and 18 women in the Crew.
A ‘behind the scenes’ feature documentary film about The Hip Op-eration Crew will be released in cinemas around the world later in 2014.
Each member of the crew (called a homie within the crew) has a hip hop name such as Quick Silver (95), Kara Bang Bang (94), Shake it up Sheila (81), Dollar 91(91), Terri 2 Cents (93), Tiny Tot (81), Snoop J (79), DD Bugz (67), BB Rizzell (80).
More Information following this press release from Crew manager Billie Jordan
Donations to the Hip Op-eration Foundation charity can be made through Give-a-Little at: http://www.givealittle.co.nz/org/hipoperation
About Silver Linings Global
Silver Linings Global, a social startup inspired by non-profit Hondao Senior Citizens’ Welfare Foundation ‘s effort to promote active ageing and ageing-in-place, was established to address the opportunities emerging from the global rapidly ageing trend. It aims at developing a platform and tools to facilitate knowledge transfer and engage industry leaders in creating quality services and products for seniors. Silver Linings Global also provides strategic consulting on development of international cooperation, knowledge management, global marketing, and event management in the ageing and healthcare industries. It assists local businesses and non-profit organizations to build global connections and exposure through various events, activities and vice versa.
About the Hondao Foundation and Dreams Never Get Old Campaign
Established in 1995, Hondao Senior Citizens’ Welfare Foundation (Hondao Foundation) is a leading non-profit organization that provides various services to support seniors in Taiwan to lead healthy and fulfilled lives. Hondao Foundation’s Dreams Never Get Old Campaign includes a series of active ageing programs such as Grandriders, Grand Baseball league, and Seniors on Broadway Show etc. These programs have drawn the “Forever Young Revolution” in Taiwan and impact hundreds of thousands of people around the world. Silver Linings Global believe Hondao Foundation’s success in mobilizing seniors to lead active and fulfilled lives would greatly benefit a global audience. By building a strong partnership with Hondao Foundation, they proactively promote and share its Dreams Never Get Old Campaign with the global community through specialized 50+ volunteer travel packages, global conferences and various events.