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Huakina - WYC's First Concert of the Year !!

There are only three rehearsals left before Huakina, the Wellington Youth Choir’s first concert of our 2024 cycle. Meaning ‘to open’ in te reo Māori, this concert is dedicated to disrupting the pale, male and stale status quo of choral composition by uplifting wāhine, nonbinary and irawhiti choral composers from Aotearoa. This year is our 35th anniversary, and we are very proud to present this concert as the first of two queer-centric performances that the choir will be undertaking this year. The second being the North Island debut and 25th anniversary of Considering Matthew Shepard, an extravagant choral oratorio that was written in response to the murder of Matthew Shepard.

We interviewed some of our fellow students and choir members to find out their perspectives on our upcoming concert. Thomas (he/him) highlighted an issue that became especially apparent after our Dave concert last year. The choral world is “heavily saturated by male composers”, he feels that “this concert is celebrating and representing women and non-binary composers who deserve more attention.” It is so important that we create this platform for non-male composers, particularly young composers from around our motu, and all our interviewees share this sentiment. Chloe (they/she) believes it’s “the variety of perspectives, and the uplifting of young musicians that reflects what singing together is all about.”

One piece that many of us are really looking forward to premiering is Takarei Komene’s ‘Ngā Roimata’, because as Kris (they/she) puts it “that is the most gorgeous piece of music I’ve ever heard in my life.” Arihia (she/her) is particularly excited for the clever use of dissonance that is characteristic of their work. Our excitement for this piece within this concert also stems from our absolute joy at having an emerging takatāpui Māori composer submit a work for us to perform. We are especially glad of this in the current political climate, as Etienne (he/any) points out, “where te reo Māori is under attack from the government. It is really important that the art community rallies around and uplifts Māori artists and Māori composers.” We are very glad to be doing just that in what ways we can.

Etienne also went on to discuss the many expressions of queerness and how this concert is an alternative expression of queerness. “The queer community is diverse, and this can be one [form of queer expression] amidst all the many other beautiful expressions.” Arihia says “Wellington is a huge hub for the queer scene, so being able to have a big regional group singing a concert inspired by queer people is so great.” We experience queerness in our own unique ways, and as Charlie (she/her) expresses, “the songs all show a unique view on what it means to be female, nonbinary, or irawhiti, depending on the composer, which is something I think is so important to remember. One person’s path is going to be completely different from another’s and this concert showcases this! We are singing through so many different paths of life and showcasing our Aotearoa queer choral scene.”

Huakina will be performed at 7pm, 31st of May at St. Peter’s Church on Willis Street. Tickets are available via our Humanitix website ( ), or through our linktree on our Instagram bio (@wellingtonyouthchoir). We would love for you to join us at this concert and help us to support this kaupapa and the wonderful composers whose work we are performing. If you can’t make it to Huakina, keep an eye out for our second concert of the year, Considering Matthew Shepard, or hey, why not come to both?

See you there!

Freya and Helen


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