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Announcing the 2022 Cadenza and Finale adjudicators

We’re delighted to announce our adjudicators for The Big Sing 2022 Cadenza and Finale festivals.

Elise Bradley will adjudicate all three Cadenza festivals, having recently relocated back to New Zealand from Toronto, Canada, where she spent almost 15 years directing the Toronto Children’s Chorus.

The Finale panel is made up of Judy Bellingham, Jono Palmer, and Igelese Ete – their biographies are below.

Judging the Auahi Kore award at The Big Sing Finale, for best performance of a piece with a text in te reo Māori, will be “kapa haka queen” Tihi Puanaki (Ngāti Hine/Ngāi Tahu) and her son, singer-songwriter and te reo Māori recording artist Te Huaki Puanaki (Ngāti Hine/Ngāpuhi).

Read on below to find out more about each of our 2022 adjudicators:


A passionate musician, award-winning conductor, and internationally respected educator, adjudicator and clinician, Elise Bradley served for many years as the Head of Music at Westlake Girls’ High School in Auckland. She founded and conducted the school’s renowned treble choir, Key Cygnetures from 1991-2007, and directed the New Zealand Secondary Students’ Choir from 2001-2007, both of which won numerous national and international awards. She was also a soloist and member of Voices New Zealand. In January 2018 she was named a Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit (MNZM), in recognition of her services to Music.

Elise repatriated home to New Zealand at the end of 2021, after 14½ years as the Artistic Director of the internationally-acclaimed Toronto Children’s Chorus. During her tenure, the Chorus recorded professionally, commissioned Canadian compositions, collaborated with numerous international and national artists, and represented Toronto on nine international and four national tours. Its latest CD, Sounzscapes: From Our Lands was named the most Outstanding Choral Recording by Choral Canada in 2014.


Previously Associate Professor of Voice at Otago University, Judy Bellingham has now retired from all performing and academic life and is concentrating on teaching voice in her busy private studio, and presenting vocal and choral workshops throughout the country.

She is an internationally recognised vocal clinician and has given papers at a number of overseas conferences, most recently in Sweden on the increasing use of taonga puoro in NZ vocal music, and in Australia on the influence of quality New Zealand poetry on New Zealand vocal music.

She has published a book on sight-singing Sing What You See, See What You Sing and DVDs Warm Me Up, Judy! and Body, Voice and Brain. Judy has also recorded a CD of New Zealand song, and a DVD on historical Dunedin songs titled Songs of Old Dunedin. In 2016 she was appointed a Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit (MNZM) in the Queen’s 90th Birthday Honours List.


Tuilagi is his Samoan chief title hailing from the village of Fatausi in Savai’i. Igelese Ete is the Associate Professor and Associate Dean: Pacific at Massey University’s College of Creative Arts in Wellington.

Before that, he was the Head of Performing Arts at the Oceania Centre for Arts Culture and Pacific Studies at the University of Pacific, Suva, Fiji, and was awarded the prestigious Creative New Zealand Senior Pacific Artist Award for his contribution to the promotion and performance of Pacific music in New Zealand and the Pacific in 2009. The Fiji Government appointed him in 2017 to be Chairperson of the Fiji Arts Council Board. He has recently completed his PhD in Music.

With extensive conducting, composition, and teaching experience, Igelese was the New Zealand Choirmaster for Peter Jackson’s acclaimed film The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring, and in 2016 he was contracted as ‘choirmaster’ and music/choral consultant for the Disney Pacific animation Moana. Igelese is very passionate about the Pacific creative and performing arts and its ability to inspire, empower, educate, and uplift the world.


Jono Palmer is a dynamic and enterprising conductor from Auckland, New Zealand. His choirs have won national and international acclaim, including two Gold Medals at the 2015 Grand Prix of Nations in Magdeburg, Germany, and many awards at regional and national festivals of The Big Sing.

As a conductor, Jono has been selected for masterclasses at the 2017 World Symposium of Choral Music and the 2017 National Collegiate Choral Organization National Conference. In October 2018, he was a finalist in the inaugural London International Choral Conducting Competition.

In 2022, Jono took up the position of musical director for the Auckland Chamber Choir based at the University of Auckland, where he also lectures in conducting and music theory.

Jono earned a MM in Choral Conducting from Indiana University, a BMus(Hons) in Performance Voice, and a BA in Ancient History from the University of Auckland. He has recently completed a  doctorate in Choral Conducting from Indiana University’s Jacobs School of Music.



Tihi Puanaki (Ngāti Hine/Ngāi Tahu) and her son Te Huaki Puanaki (Ngāti Hine/Ngāpuhi) are both highly acclaimed ‘Premier Grade’ Kapa Haka exponents, as performers, composers, choreographers, adjudicators, teachers and  instructors.

Tihi’s numerous awards and accolades include a TSB Lifetime Achievement Award for Service to Education & Māori Traditional Performing Arts, and a ‘Keeper of the Traditions’ Award at the National Māori Music Awards.

Te Huaki is a contemporary Reo Māori recording artist & composer, with seven self-produced albums to his credit. Te Huaki trained at the Christchurch Jazz School, has taught music in primary and secondary schools, and has worked as a kapa haka instructor for the NZ Secondary Students Choir.

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