‘Titiro whakamuri, haere whakamua” We walk into the future looking backwards. Regarding the growth of music in Muriwhenua, we recognise the wealth of talent that has gone before us. The future doesn’t exist without a past and our growth is enriched by building an intergenerational ecosystem of “musicking”.
Te Hiku Music Academy (THMA) was established in 2021 with the purpose of finding musically gifted students at a young age and supporting them to grow into exceptional musicians. As a brainchild of Jon Pirini, THMA is responding to the need of students; the symptom of arriving at secondary school having never touched an instrument. With 15 years’ experience as a guitarist and primary teacher, Jon moved to Wellington from Kaitaia with his family to study a BMUS in jazz performance (2018 -2020). On returning to the Far North, THMA was formed.
In August of 2021, after approaching the innovative and leading principal - Brendon Morrisey, THMA was piloted and established at Kaitaia Primary School amongst the chaos of covid. Soon after, word spread, and THMA was invited to 3 other primary schools in the Far North. By the middle of 2023 THMA has been involved in 8 primary schools.
At the end of 2022, THMA was successful in bringing the Out of Hours Arts & Music Tuition to KPS and around 50 students are receiving free group instrument lessons in 3 different locations in the Far North on ukulele, guitar, bass guitar, violin, cello, keyboard and drums. There are currently 5 tutors employed via this scheme (4 mainly part of THMA). One of the tutors is 17 year old virtuoso (and Kaitaia College student of Jon Pirini) Robin Hemana who is employed on Fridays to teach guitar and drums.
A significant part of the in-schools programme is the band aspect. Talented students are identified and the capping part of the project is being selected to learn and perform an item with the school band. For many schools, this is new and exciting and it is wonderful to see the joy students experience through this mode of learning.