The Kiri Programme
In 2016, after substantial research and consultation with a variety of New Zealand organisations and individuals involved with the training and development of young singers, the Kiri Te Kanawa Foundation launched The Kiri Programme , designed to provide a high-level, personalised and sustained skills boost to a small group of outstanding young opera singers preparing to leave New Zealand for international post-graduate training and career development.
Based around five modules, The Programme provided training and mentorship to improve the singers readiness to undertake advanced study abroad, compete with their international peers, and establish sustainable professional careers.
Internationally renowned opera singer and teacher, Kathryn Harries who had just completed a 12-year tenure as Director of London’s National Opera Studio, agreed to come on board as Programme Director and Principal Coach.
Each training module was centred around intensive and high-level vocal coaching and repertoire development with outstanding vocal coaches such as Sharolyn Kimmorley, Terence Dennis and Catherine Norton.
During the first year the curriculum evolved to include motivational psychology, grooming and media training, as well as business skills, language, acting and vocal development. Experts in their fields were brought in from overseas and around New Zealand.
In addition, the singers were privileged to work with leading international coaches, Teresa Desmarchelier (focusing on sung Italian and French) and Catrin Johnsson (German). Leading US opera director and teacher Chuck Hudson provided a five-day intensive acting and movement workshop, focusing on preparing the young singers for auditions and competitions.
The six singers who participated in the inaugural Programme included Eliza Boom, Filipe Manu, Katherine McIndoe, Madison Nonoa, Natasha Wilson and Jarvis Dams. They credited the Programme for playing a large part in an impressive string of successful auditions, competitions.
A second Programme followed in 2017 with five singers selected – Kalauni Pouvalu (tenor), Harry Grigg (tenor), Ipu Laga’aia, Samson Setu (bass-baritone) and Manese Latu (tenor).
2021 sees plans being drawn up for a revised Kiri Programme.
Lexus Song Quest
Competition with an extraordinary history
With an impressive 62-year history, the Lexus Song Quest (previously called the Mobil Song Quest) is internationally recognised as New Zealand’s most prestigious singing competition, launching the world famous opera careers of many talented New Zealanders.
As part of a long-standing commitment to developing New Zealand’s best singing voices The Kiri Te Kanawa Foundation has supported the competition since 2012. Its role as a key partner includes financial support for the competition itself and a series of special Lexus Song Quest Masterclasses which provides the singers with the unique opportunity to experience what they can expect if they decide to continue their studies and the presentation of a $15,000 study scholarship which is awarded to one of the finalists considered by the Head Judge to have the most potential.
Dame Kiri has very happy memories of the competition – “ I often wonder what course my career might have taken had I not won the Song Quest in 1965. What I can be certain about is that the experience was a vital factor driving my decision to go to Britain for advanced training at the London Opera Centre. Generations of outstanding young New Zealand singers can tell a similar story. Over the years the Song Quest has been the catalyst and the launch pad for so many careers. It is a great institution with an extraordinary history and it richly deserves the iconic status it has achieved.”
Victoria League Scholarship
In 2015 the Kiri Te Kanawa Foundation established a special relationship with the Victoria League (Auckland) Trust to jointly promote ‘The Victoria League Scholarship in Singing. The annual award funded by the Victoria League and presented by The Kiri Te Kanawa Foundation includes 12-months accommodation at the Victoria League’s London base. James Ioelu, Kieran Rayner, Katherine McIndoe, Harry Grigg and Madison Nonoa have been awarded this scholarship.