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 on the inaugural Programme responded well to the resources made available and credit The Kiri Programme for playing a large part in an impressive string of successful auditions, competitions and achievements. 


In 2018:

Eliza Boom - currently undertaking a Master of Music in Performance as a Leverhulme Arts Scholar at the Royal Northern College of Music (RNCM) in Manchester, studying under acclaimed soprano Mary Plazas. Next year Eliza will continue her study at the RNCM on the elite International Artist Diploma.Recent competition successes include top prize in the 2017 Dame Malvina Major Christchurch Aria, being awarded the 2018 Frederic Cox Award (RNCM) and runner-up in the 2018 Lexus Song Quest.

Filipe Manu – currently studying a Masters of Music within the Opera Studies programme at London’s Guildhall School of Music and Drama under Yvonne Kenny. He was invited to try out for the prestigious Opera programme and gained a place as one of only twelve singers.He recently won Australia’s renowned IFAC Handa singing competition in Sydney along with the Audience prize and was a finalist in the 2018 Lexus Song Quest and was awarded the Kiri Te Kanawa Scholarship.

Katherine McIndoe is studying for a Masters in Vocal Studies at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama under Yvonne Kenny. She is a finalist in the 2018 IFAC Handa Australian Singing Competition;

Madison Nonoa -  is studying at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama under Yvonne Kenny and was recently a semi-finalist in the 2018 Lexus Song Quest.

Natasha Wilson is a 2018 NZ Opera Emerging Artist and was a semi-finalist in the 2018 Lexus Song Quest. Later this year she willcommence post-graduate studies at the elite San Francisco Conservatory of Music studying with renowned teacher Cesar Ulloa.

Jarvis Dams – winner of the 2017 NZ Aria and the 2018 Sydney Eisteddfod Opera Scholarship where he received the prestigious John Lamble Foundation Scholarship (A$35,000).  


Earlier this year, four of these singers who are based in the UK accepted an invitation to visit Dame Kiri’s home for coaching and mentoring. They spent the day with Dame Kiri and two of her colleagues and the comments afterwards were inspiring. 

In July 2017 the Kiri Programme entered its second series of modules with optimism. Five singers were selected – Kalauni Pouvalu (tenor), Harry Grigg (tenor), Ipu Laga’aia, Samson Setu (bass-baritone) and Manese Latu (tenor).