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Arohanui Strings Concert

Issue date: 
Thursday, 23 March 2023

E nga rau rangatira mā, e kui mā, e koro mā, e huihui nei, tēnei aku mihi māhana ki a koutou.  Nau mai, haere mai ra ki Te Whare Kawana o Te Whanganui-a-Tara.

Warm greetings to you all, and welcome to Government House Wellington.

I specifically acknowledge:

Helene Pohl, Patron Arohanui Strings
Stephanie McLean, Chair, Arohanui Strings
Kirsten Mason, NZSO Director
Donald Armstrong, NZ Symphony Orchestra Associate Concertmaster

Thank you all for joining us for this evening’s performance.

The Arohanui Strings programme would not exist without the aroha and dedication of people here tonight – the teachers, the volunteers, the board members, sponsors and parents.

Thank you for everything you do to make this experience possible for our young performers tonight.

Yesterday, I was in Dunedin to mark the 50th anniversary of the Dunedin Study. I mention this because the study is world renowned for what it has revealed about the impact of childhood experiences on physical and mental wellbeing and has confirmed that children’s lives – and their futures – can be transformed by early interventions at key stages – although we all benefit from unconditional love throughout our lives.

We know how much easier it is to learn when we are young, whether it be a language or a musical instrument. Similarly, children can be encouraged to develop vital life-skills – to apply themselves, communicate with others, express their thoughts and feelings, try new things, cope when things don’t go to plan, and build confidence and resilience.

I came from a modest background myself, and I am grateful that key people fostered my innate curiosity and helped to direct me down a pathway to education and research. As a result, doors have opened to me to roles I could never have imagined, and I have in turn, been able to work for positive change in other people’s lives.

I also think back to my involvement with kapa haka from a young age. Singing with others brought a special sense of joy, pride and community that I carry with me to this day.

My life experience leads me to understand why the Sistema model of music education has found so many enthusiastic adherents around the world – and why it produces positive results on so many levels.

Quite apart from the immense satisfaction of learning how to make a string instrument sing under your fingers and bow, there is the pleasure of knowing that your single contribution to an ensemble enables the completion of the whole.

As Shakespeare would say, everyone has their part to play – and Sistema makes sure that more young people have an opportunity to play their part – and in the process, to learn to apply themselves, to learn that practice really does make perfect, and to feel pride and joy when they are able to master a challenging piece and take a step up to the next level.

In the years to come, when these little string players are adults, they will look back at their Arohanui experience and cherish the opportunities it gave them to work hard, learn wonderful new skills and experience the particular pleasure to be had from making music with others.

The ripples of this experience will radiate through their lives and the lives of their families.

Thank you again, and please enjoy the concert and the hospitality of Government House.

Dame Cindy Kiro speaking to Arohanui Strings




Last updated: 
Friday, 24 March 2023

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