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Thursday 23 September 2021 4:15pm

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The members of SIX60 with Acting Vice-Chancellor Professor Helen Nicholson (centre) outside 660 Castle Street, North Dunedin.

Aspiring performing artists have a new opportunity to follow their dreams thanks to a new initiative from the biggest band to have got its break at the University of Otago – and they won't have to wait long for the opportunity.

Iconic music group SIX60 have bought their old flat in Castle Street and partnered with the University, signing an agreement at the end of July at Te Korokoro o te Tūī, Otago's new Performing Arts centre, under which both SIX60 and the University will provide two $10,000-a-year scholarships each, for a total of four aspiring Performing Arts students to live at the flat.

Applications for the 2022 scholarships closed at the end of August, with 35 applications received. The selection panel is currently assessing the applications and the scholarship recipients will be announced at the end of September.

The successful applicants will get to live at the iconic Castle Street house where the band got their big break, plus the opportunity to receive some mentoring from the band.

The scholarships are the latest example of collegiality beyond the normal at Otago. Students at the University form incredibly strong bonds with their friends when they live together in Dunedin. These friendships last for the rest of their lives and we are constantly amazed by what Otago alumni go on to contribute to the world. SIX60 embodies this and their remarkable journey is a precious part of Otago's story.

SIX60 lead singer Matiu Walters says the band is ecstatic to be giving back to a place that gave them their big break.

“Our roots have always been in Dunedin and at 660 Castle Street. Owning the house and being able to preserve its mana is something we have always dreamed of, but being able to realise it now is incredible.

“The University has always been as important a part of the SIX60 story as the house, so to be able to partner with Otago, give back and create an opportunity for the next generation to start their journey is something we are really excited about.”

It is with immense pride that we welcome the band back as they make this extraordinarily generous gesture to support young Otago students starting out on their journey.

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The members of SIX60 with Acting Vice-Chancellor Professor Helen Nicholson (centre) for the signing of the agreement.

Acting Vice-Chancellor Professor Helen Nicholson says the University is delighted to be working alongside the band on this initiative.

“We know that Dunedin and the University of Otago is a key part of the SIX60 story and we are very pleased to be able to work with the band to create new opportunities for students,” she says.

“Their iconic Castle Street flat has become a north Dunedin landmark and this collaboration both recognises the flat's significance and repurposes it to support the aspirations of our current students.

“The four scholarships and the possibilities of some mentoring from the band are exciting developments that will support some current Otago students to pursue their dreams in the music world.

“Alongside the recent construction of our state-of-the-art recording studio, this is a real boost for performing arts at Otago and underlines the very particular opportunities that we have for students here in Dunedin. We sincerely thank the band for giving back to the student community that they that they were once a part of.”

You can see more of Te Korokoro o te Tūī , the University's new Performing Arts Centre, in this fly-through video, created by CCM Architects.

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