Whangaroa Community Music Group

Young people in the far North with a passion for music are being given the chance to pursue their talents thanks to a committed group of volunteers and with the help of a Mazda Foundation grant for equipment.

The Whangaroa Community Music Group has been set up to foster the musical talents and ambitions of youth in the area. It has just been given an extra boost thanks to a grant of $6,500 from the Mazda Foundation to purchase a professional drum kit and PA system.

Group volunteer, Sharyn van Heerden, a teacher from the decile two Whangaroa College, says there are so many talented young musicians in the area who wouldn’t get the chance to play music if it wasn’t for the Community Music Group.

“Because the college doesn’t offer a music programme the after-school Music Group is a great way to develop their talents. There are a number of kids here who are really musical and talented and the programme is really rewarding for them. Some of them may struggle academically but when it comes to music, they discover they have a gift and the increase to their self-confidence has been fantastic. One of the students last year has gone on to study a Bachelor of Music at Otago University and this year at least two students are looking to do further study in music or performing arts.”

Sharyn says the feedback from parents and the wider community has also been really positive.

“We hear from families who have been saying ‘finally the kids have found something they enjoy, something they are passionate about’ and the kids have been asking for keyboards instead of Playstations! We’ve also noticed that the positive effects of the programme are permeating other aspects of their lives. For example, feedback from the school and local literacy provider in terms of attitude to school work has been great; similarly they are demonstrating really great teamwork skills.”