by SUE SECONI
Cullinane College principal Kevin Shore has treated his students, the music department and the school’s nationally successful Te Ngakau o Te Awa Kapa Haka group to a full day with New Zealand violinist Elena.
Mr Shore first meet Elena, who is of Ngai Kahungunu descent and from the Mahia Peninsula, at an education conference in Nelson.
He was, he said, not only amazed by her flamboyant dress and spiky mohawk, but her abilities with the violin and natural skill in engaging with her audience.
The teaching workshops served also as a rehearsal time for the June 5 fundraising concert for the college’s partner Marist School in Ranong, on the Thai-Burma border.
The concert in St Mary’s Church was packed and showcased the variety of students’ musical and dancing talents — which raised $2500.
The college was fronted by prefect Briely Zimmerman and immediate past pupil Logan Anderson, who, between items, highlighted facts about this Marist project where old boy Fr Frank Bird, SM, works.
“Did you know,” said Mr Anderson, “that there are no educational prospects for 70 per cent of the children aged under 14, and that a teacher’s monthly wage is just $330.”
When he asked who had cellphones in the audience, he pointed out that a young person at this mission doesn’t even know what a cellphone is!
Elena, who has been described as a national taonga, delights in inspiring young musicians to strive to succeed. She accompanied the various groups, including performing a Once Were Warriors piece with the kapa haka group.
Elena, who has entertained the Obama, Getty and Beckham families, performed three items in her bracket.