Supporting young Pasifika to lead orchestral music education

31 Jan 2022

This content is tagged as Pacific arts .

NEWS

Rangatahi tutor and pilot participant Octavia Fa’aea (centre) with Sistema Aotearoa tutors Langakali Halapua (left) and Anne Filimoehala (right). Photo: Thomas Hamill
Rangatahi tutor and pilot participant Octavia Fa’aea (centre) with Sistema Aotearoa tutors Langakali Halapua (left) and Anne Filimoehala (right). Photo: Thomas Hamill

Young Pasifika with huge potential are being supported to become leaders in orchestral music education, through a pilot programme offered by Sistema Aotearoa in partnership with Creative New Zealand, through its Pacific Arts Strategy.

Creative New Zealand is investing $25,000 through the six-month Sistema Aotearoa Emerging Pasifika Leaders pilot to support the development of up to 12 young Pasifika leaders working in orchestral and ensemble music education. They will be able to take time outside their teaching commitments to create connections, build capacity, and help create a thriving orchestral music ecosystem for the next generation of Pasifika artists and teachers.

Octavia Fa’aea has been involved with Sistema Aotearoa since 2011, first as a student and now as a rangatahi tutor who will be developing her leadership skills through the programme ahead of starting her university studies.

“Nothing is more rewarding than investing my skills back into the community that I love. Ōtara – home of the brave – is a community that gives me strength, and where I am forever grateful for the hands that are joined to shape and inspire our leaders of tomorrow,” Octavia says.

Sistema Aotearoa uses orchestral music-making to build a sense of community, develop confidence and support wellbeing in 2–18-year-old ākonga. Inspired by Sistema music programmes around the world, and located in Ōtara, South Auckland, Sistema Aotearoa offers free, intensive, ensemble-based music lessons that have been attended by thousands of children since its 2011 start. Most recently, due to COVID-19, these have continued online.

Sistema Aotearoa Board Chairperson Bernardine Vester says, “We strongly believe that having inspirational and aspirational Pasifika leaders and role models is crucial to unleashing the potential of our children and their families. This pilot will create opportunities for Pasifika artists and communities to fono, talanoa and exchange information in order to develop networks and arts practices, and to share and celebrate Pacific arts success stories with more New Zealanders.”

The majority of the Sistema Aotearoa tutor team is Māori or Pasifika. Additionally, some 80% of the Sistema Aotearoa tamariki attending classes are Pasifika, with particularly strong representation from the Samoan (42%) and Tongan (21%) communities.

Creative New Zealand Senior Manager, Pacific Arts Makerita Urale says, “We’re thrilled to support Sistema Aotearoa, through Creative New Zealand’s Pacific Arts Strategy, to deepen the skills of talented young Pasifika leaders. Through the programme they’ll be even better equipped to teach, inspire and empower their young students, gain valuable skills for whatever direction they take in life, and help build a stronger, more confident Pasifika representation in orchestral music in the future.”

The Sistema Aotearoa Emerging Pasifika Leaders pilot is underway and runs through to the end of June 2022.