A guiding light

26 Nov 2019

This year, thanks to a generous gift from the Rolleston family, College has been able to commission a new waiata for the Chapel Choir. “Whakamanawa Ki Te Atua” was presented to College by its composers the Puanaki whanau and debuted at a special ceremony in Chapel on Friday 22 November.

“I had a vision for a waiata that would become part of our kaupapa and recognise the spirit and heritage of College as an inclusive community,” says Director of Music Robert Aburn.

Robert wanted a contemporary waiata that captures the Christian message of the Christmas season, but has universal appeal. To make it happen he turned, once again, to the Puanaki whanau, confident they would capture the spirit of the brief and create something wonderful after engaging them to compose College’s first waiata “Te Whakapono Ki Te Atua” in 2017.

“The choir has always had waiata in its repertoire, but nothing we could call our own – until we were gifted ‘Te Whakapono Ki Te Atua’ and now ‘Whakamanawa Ki Te Atua’. We had an instant connection with the Puanaki whanau, who immediately understood what we wanted to achieve at College. Tihi, Wiremu and Te Huaki have been the ideal educators for us and it has been a great pleasure to have them working with us and alongside us on this journey.”

John and Karen Rolleston, their son Robbie, and John’s brother William were among the guests present on Friday evening.

“It was incredible, a very special event for us as a family and for the school as well,” says John. “Our children [Robbie and Henry] are passionate about the arts and College gave them so many opportunities in music and drama. We wanted to give back to the school – and simply asked that they come up with something that was different, that involved people from outside the school, and that would add a whole other dimension to the boys’ education, experience and enjoyment of the arts.”

“Whakamanawa Ki Te Atua” – a taonga to treasure for many years to come – will premiere at Carols on the Quad on Thursday 28 November.