Henry Kiria assists NZ Prime Minister with his bow holdOn Friday 26th May, the Prime Minister of NZ, Rt Hon Bill English, visited Otara to share in all the fun we have at Sistema Aotearoa and to see first-hand the impact the programme is having on the lives of our students, their whanau and the community.

The students sang a welcome waiata, with Lola Loni and Charlotte David as soloists. The OMAC hall was packed with students, whanau, supporters and friends all excited to be at this very special event.

During his visit the Prime Minister joined in a music theory session with some of our younger students, chatted to parents and seemed to really enjoy a concert performance by the Tiki students, conducted by Jess Hindin. The highlight of the afternoon was when the Prime Minister took part in a cello lesson. Mr English told the students that all 6 of his children had played an instrument or sung in choirs but he had never learnt an instrument – at least not until today. Under the careful tuition of 8 year old Sistema students, Henry Kiria and Hadassah Talamaivao, Mr English quickly mastered the bow hold and string positions. The children were very impressed at his playing skills!

The tamariki were so proud to show him their progress and achievements. It was an incredible privilege to receive this visit and it’s great that the importance and success of the programme is being recognised at the highest levels.

Students Michael Walker, Esekia Taito, and Yanazee Samul thanked the Prime Minister (especially for giving up his time in such a busy budget week) and invited him to come and play cello with us again anytime – we hope that he will! It was a fantastic and very memorable afternoon for the students, tutors, whanau and the community.


Photos by Adrian Malloch

To view more photos from the PM’s visit to Sistema Aotearoa, please visit our Gallery here.

We also have a video of the visit, which captured some really special moments, which you can find here on our Videos page!