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Christopher Finlayson

21 November, 2012

Minister welcomes recognition of Sistema Aotearoa success

Arts Minister Christopher Finlayson has welcomed the first evaluation report of Sistema Aotearoa, saying it justifies the investment made in the children’s classical music programme by the government and private philanthropists.

“The evaluation of Sistema Aotearoa confirms all the anecdotal evidence so far – that this is an excellent programme that not only supports children to learn music and develop new skills, but also increases their educational outcomes and helps with behaviour,” Mr Finlayson said. “It’s wonderful to see young children so enthusiastic about music and so keen to keep learning.”

Sistema Aotearoa is a music programme that has been trialled in South Auckland for the past two years; it provides young children with the opportunity to learn a musical instrument with professional musicians. The government initiative is funded primarily through the Ministry for Culture and Heritage and run by the Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra. The first evaluation report of the programme, by AUT University, was released today, the same day as the 2012 programme’s end of year performance at the TelstraClear Centre in Manukau City.

Philanthropic support had been high for the project and was expected to increase.

“Owen Glenn has made a generous contribution of $100,000 each year for the next four years towards Sistema in South Auckland. This donation demonstrates the positive role of philanthropy and private/public partnerships in New Zealand, as well as recognising the benefits of the Sistema programme itself.”

Mr Finlayson said he would like to see the programme, which is in its initial pilot phase, extended.

“I’ve received much interest from other parts of the country to join the Sistema programme. It would be of huge benefit to make Sistema Aotearoa a nationwide project, and while the fiscal environment is tight I’m working hard to see what can be done”.