28 Jul 2022

This content is tagged as Pacific arts .


Conductor with musicians
Anne Maroussia Filimoehala conducts musicians of the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra.

We’re proud to share that we’ve partnered with the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra to deliver our inaugural Pasifika Conductors Masterclass.

This week, Langakali (Kali) Halapua, Anne Maroussia Filimoehala, and Enyah Puao Tauiliili-Talamaivao conducted musicians from the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra (NZSO), with guidance from internationally renowned Conductor and NZSO Music Director Emeritus James Judd, and Principal Conductor in Residence Hamish McKeich.

Aligning with the Tagata and Vā pou of our Pacific Arts Strategy 2018-2023, the two-day masterclass was a new initiative to provide a foundational entry point to a professional creative career for Pasifika conductors.

Kirsten Mason, NZSO’s Director of Artistic Programming, Innovation and Audience Engagement, is thrilled to be able to work together on this programme. 

“Conductors are the lifeblood of any ensemble, and the NZSO is delighted to be working with conductors from across Aotearoa to support both them and their ensembles, in partnership with our friends at Creative New Zealand”, says Kirsten.

The Masterclass ran from Monday 25 July – Tuesday 26 July with the initiative co-designed by NZSO’s Engagement Team and our Pacific Arts Team at Creative New Zealand. The costs, resourcing and networks were shared between the two agencies to provide this exciting new opportunity.

Anne, a Pasifika violinist and tenor horn player, and a tutor at the South Auckland-based Sistema Aotearoa ,says that conducting is very new for her, so it was nerve-wracking at the beginning.

“With the guidance of James Judd, I was able to step out of my comfort zone and just let the music speak.

“I have always been an advocate for brown excellence, so to stand in front of the NZSO with a baton in my right hand, representing my beautiful island of Tonga was an absolute privilege.”

Sistema Aotearoa is a music and social development programme based in Ōtara, South Auckland. Since its inception in 2011, the programme has worked to unleash the potential of tamariki, whānau and communities through orchestral music making.

Earlier this year, under the Pacific Arts Strategy, Creative New Zealand invested in Sistema Aotearoa to develop Pasifika youth leadership development, and this relationship was important to selecting the three new trainee conductors.

James Judd said he thoroughly enjoyed teaching the conducting sessions with Kali, Anne and Enyah.

“I was deeply touched by their profound love and passion for music, and their ability to develop their skills so quickly. I sincerely hope these opportunities will continue so this wonderful Pacific talent can be given more opportunity to flourish and be seen and heard.”

Makerita Urale, Senior Manager, Pacific Arts at Creative New Zealand says it was history in the making and the realisation of a strategic vision.

“The Pasifika community offers so much to the world of classical music already, with our Opera singers thriving on the international stage and winning top prizes at the prestigious Lexus Song Quest

“To see our Pasifika women up on the conducting podium in the Michael Fowler Centre was truly ground-breaking and inspiring. It was also beautiful to see the generosity and alofa from James Judd and the musicians, sharing their expertise and guidance with our aspiring Pasifika conductors.

“We are truly grateful for this partnership with the NZSO and the support from Sistema Aotearoa.”

For media inquiries, contact Esther Lees at esther.lees@creativenz.govt.nz