Te Kotahitanga
Manu Reo o Aotearoa

The Children's Outreach team

The Children's Outreach team

The New Zealand Choral Federation (NZCF) encompasses a diverse community of over 20,000 singers around Aotearoa from hundreds of community, school, and chamber choirs performing in styles ranging from classical, gospel, world music, sacred music and barbershop through to jazz, kapa haka, musical theatre, and opera. We hold school, community and chamber choir festivals and workshops, and our Association of Choral Directors (ACD) is a professional development network for anyone who wants to start or develop a choir - from beginner to advanced.

At a primary and intermediate level, many schools have fantastic, thriving singing groups or choirs - and we run The Kids Sing festivals around the country for schools who want to take part. Exposure to music access at a young age has so many proven benefits for children, including the ability to improve educational outcomes, and to contribute to well-being and self-confidence. Group singing is able to form a foundation for all other musical learning. Every child has a voice and, of course, singing is fun, uplifting, and free!

However, for schools who don't have a music teacher or music leader, it can be really difficult to run a singing programme - either in the classroom, for assemblies, or as a co-curricular activity. Where schools don't have easy access to resources and training - especially where teachers aren't confident to lead singing - we would love to help.

Thanks to a recent grant from the Ministry of Culture and Heritage, we are running this Children's Outreach Programme to support and encourage singing in primary and intermediate schools, including curating and creating resources that are free and easy-to-use for teachers. 

To hear more about the project from NZCF Chief Executive Christine Argyle click this link.

If you are interested in being part of this project, please get in touch!

Some of the mentors, resource creators, and presenters involved in this project:

Maria  WMaria Winder, MNZM is NZCF's Children's Outreach Coordinator and an NZCF Singing Matters Mentor. She teaches Kodaly-inspired pre-school music classes in Auckland and is a former primary school music specialist teacher and district music adviser (Wellington and Auckland). Maria is an active choral singer and experienced choral conductor. She co-authored 'Hear Our Voices' (NZCF), the NZ Ukulele Handbook for Teachers and The Kiwileles Songbooks (NZUT 2007-2021).

Megan  FlintMegan Flint has an extensive background in education and music, as both a primary school teacher/leader and music specialist. She leads and presents NZCF's programme of Singing Matters workshops for primary and intermediate schools, and is the Artistic Advisor for NZCF's Children's Outreach project.

Mary  C Jpg

Mary Cornish, MNZM has been teaching music and leading singing for over 20 years, and has conducted numerous festivals for children including including the New Zealand Ukulele Festival, helping thousands of children and their teachers start their journey in music. Mary co-authored Hear Our Voices (NZCF), the NZ Ukulele Handbook for Teachers, and the Kiwileles Songbooks, and she is a NZCF Singing Matters Mentor

Te   Ohorere   WilliamsTe Ohorere Williams is a proud descendant of Ngāiterangi, Ngāti Pukenga, Ngāti Porou and Ngāti Kahungunu and has recently graduated with a Master of Music at the University of Auckland with Dr. Te Oti Rakena. Alongside her singing performances and teaching work, Te Ohorere is a passionate musician and educator and has been a Tuākana mentor for the University of Auckland, supporting Māori and Pacific students.

Lala   SimpsonMadagascar-born and raised Lala Simpson is a Wellington NZ-based community song leader, song writer, singing workshop facilitator and singer who delights young and old alike with her passionate,  playful and joyful approach to singing  and her focus on community singing.

Juliet   WollerJuliet Woller is a music educator, performer and composer. She is currently HOD Music at New Plymouth Girls' High School where her passion is choral music. She has directed both mixed and treble choirs for many years. As an educator and composer, Juliet understands both the joys and challenges of singing for young voices and is excited to use her skillset to support her colleagues around the motu.

Natasha   ManowitzNatasha Manowitz teaches Music at Logan Park High School, and is the choral director of the Dunedin Children's Choir. She gained a Bachelor of Music from The University of Auckland in 2012, and a Master of Teaching and Learning from The University of Otago in 2019. Natasha has sung with the Southern and Auckland Youth Choirs, and more recently with the Opera Otago Chorus. In 2024, Natasha looks forward to singing with Voices NZ. With a passion for developing children's voices, she has completed The Voice Lab Level 1 course for voice teachers, and has previously co-directed the Māori Hill School choir. She has a special interest in the Kodaly approach, having completed all three levels of the Australian Kodály Certificate in Music education. 

Maria   KapaMaria Kapa (Ngati Rangitihi, Whakatōhea, Ngāti Pikiao, Ngāti Rangiwewehi, Ngāti Tūwharetoa) has worked in a number of music settings, including the aboriginal performing arts center in Brisbane, singing teaching in high schools, and early childhood, primary, and intermediate music teaching. A trained Orff and Kodály specialist, Maria incorporates these approaches in her music program. Maria is committed to keeping her Māori language and culture alive and has composed numerous waiata to support this ‘kaupapa’ purpose. She currently teaches Year 0 - 8 music in a school.

Rachel   Alexander   SutherlandRachel Alexander Sutherland has extensive experience as a voice specialist, choral director and curriculum leader and performs regularly as a soloist and in choirs. She is Assistant Director and Vocal Consultant of NZSSC and has directed choirs at both the NZCF Big Sing and Kids Sing Festivals.

KrissSouth Auckland based, Kriss Rapana has been a teacher for many years, both as a classroom teacher and as a music specialist. He also leads school kapahaka groups and choirs. Kriss is a foundation member of the Graduate Choir, NZ (2001) and often leads the choir when learning waiata-a-ringa.

Ben Madden For Website Cropped

Ben Madden is an NZCF Singing Matters Mentor for Primary and Intermediate Schools. In addition to being an active performer, hs is a member of the artistic team for the National Secondary Schools' Choir, and currently a choir director and singing teacher in Ōtepoti Dunedin.

Nigel   Tongs  01Nigel Tongs has been a primary educator for 30 years in Palmerston North.  He is director of the Saturday Music programme and alongside his role as Deputy Principal of Linton Park School, works with children's choirs to foster musicianship and a love for singing and performance. Nigel is an NZCF Singing Matters Mentor.

Anna  SecoleAnna Sedcole is a music educator, performer, and registered music therapist working with primary and intermediate-age children to the elderly. Anna has undertaken research into supporting children with learning support needs in mainstream primary school education, and has worked to support students with communication needs including autism spectrum disorder. She currently works for Music for Life, and runs several community singing groups in Pōneke Wellington .

Rosemary   Galton  TeacherRosemary Galton conducts the Nelson Youth Choir and teaches singing and violin at the Nelson Centre of Musical Arts.  In her teaching she aims to approach each student as an individual and tap into their own passion to find what inspires them to succeed. She takes a holistic approach to the voice, and draws on the vocal pedagogy of teachers such as Janice Chapman (GSMD) and Jenevora Williams (The Thinking Voice). Rosemary works with children of all ages.

Sally   Bodkin   Allen   SquareSally Bodkin-Allen is a composer, music educator and musical director. She believes that everyone can and should sing. Based in Invercargill, Sally has run the SIT Kids Concerts for over twenty years, and worked with the Outreach Singing Trust for ten years. Sally has a PhD in early childhood music education, works at SIT and teaches at Out of School Music Classes (OSMC) on Saturday mornings.

Joanne   StevensJoanne Stevens has been teaching music and leading primary and intermediate school choirs for over 20 years. She previously conducted the Taradale Schools Primary Schools' Singing Festival and is currently the specialist music teacher at Hereworth School, where as well as working with two choirs, she teaches classroom music and singing to all students from years 1-8.

Melissa   Absolum  SquareMelissa Absolum has been primary classroom teaching for many years and is currently Deputy Principal of a South Auckland primary school. She is an experienced choral leader and active choral singer and a member of the Governance Board of NZCF.

Rachel Wilford3Rachel Wilford has been teaching in the primary school sector for many years as a music specialist, choir director, and singing teacher. She is a conductor for the Northwest music festival and is music director of the Christchurch Primary schools' music festival. Rachel is an NZCF Singing Matters Mentor.

Elise   Bradley  PhotoElise Bradley, MNZM is a passionate musician, award-winning conductor, and internationally respected educator, adjudicator and clinician. She is a former HOD Music at Westlake Girls' High School and former director of NZSSC and has recently repatriated home to NZ after 14 1/2 years as the Artistic Director of the Toronto Children's Chorus. Since returning to NZ, Elise has co-founded the company "Choral DirectioNZ" and the NZ Children's Choral Academy and has completed a number of Kodaly Music Certificates for her return to the primary classroom. She also conducts a number of school and community choirs.

Steven + Rapana + HeadshotA New Zealander of Māori and Samoan extraction, Steven Rapana is a singing teacher, choral director, language coach, a professional singer, arranger, and composer in and around New Zealand. He is best known for his arrangements and compositions of Pacific choral music, and his work with singers from auditioned members of the National Choirs, to complete beginners.

Elisha  SquareCurrently residing in Rotorua, New Zealand-born Samoan Elisha Fa’i-So’oialo enjoys a busy and fulfilling career as a music and singing teacher at Rotorua Boys’ High School, and as a freelance classical singer, composer, vocal tutor and director. Elisha holds a Master of Music and is Pasifika Advisor for the New Zealand Childrens’ Choral Academy.

RoshanRoshan Tuivavalagi is a Music Educator based in Paeroa. She has worked for many years as a music specialist and has led a number of community and school-based singing programmes and festivals in the Hauraki region. Roshan is passionate about singing in the classroom.

Helen WillbergHelen Willberg has been singing all her life, and presently sings in two choirs and directs a Youth Choir. She has been happily immersed in Music Education in her career which includes Senior Lecturer in Music to Primary and Early Childhood Teachers, and a number of publications. She is a Life member of MENZA, the Music Education New Zealand Association, and is passionately advocating for better teacher training to bring life-giving music to every child from birth to tertiary education and thereby boost well-being, literacy and numeracy for all learners.  

Susie   HardieSusie Hardie has been singing in choirs since the age of 9. She led her first children’s choir in France and then became a choral conductor and music specialist at a Montessori school in Canada. She moved to New Zealand in 2000 and founded the Choral Centre at Chilton St. James school. She currently teaches French, music and conducts 2 choirs and 3 concert bands at Queen Margaret College. She has been the musical director of the Hutt Valley Community choir since 2011.