MusB (Otago), MA (WIAV)
Kawiti Waetford’s Otago Bachelor of Music in classical voice performance was the launch-pad for the beginning of what promises to be a successful international career.
“Otago gave me a chance to hone and develop myself as a musician, singer, scholar, young adult and person, in a safe and sheltered environment, which was small enough that I was given ample opportunities, but big enough that those opportunities were world-class.”
Kawiti came to Otago from Whangerei after meeting and performing for Otago’s Head of Classical Musical Performance Professor Terence Dennis, and Associate Professor Judy Bellingham a year earlier.
Their advice and encouragement, and a Māori and Pacific Island Entrance Scholarship from the University, made it possible for the Ngāpuhi, Ngāti Wai and Ngaiterangi descendant to travel so far from home, and acceptance into Carrington College was also a big drawcard, he says.
“Being away from home for the first time I was forced to grow up and take responsibility for the course of my life, and build and define a pathway for my future. This is a rite of passage that I think all students who come to Otago from other parts of the country go through.”
Kawiti’s favourite memories at Otago stem from the close-knit group of friends he made while here – “the priceless memories shared with my friends are what I treasure most”.
He keeps in close contact with his voice teacher, Isabel Cunningham, and coach Professor Dennis, and feels a keen connection to the city as a whole for the “massive support the community gave at my farewell fundraising concert”.
“I think that because the city and the University are so interlinked and integrated, this makes life as a student at Otago so unique, so enjoyable and so much easier. It’s such a great place to study.”
Since leaving Dunedin, with funding from the Ngarimu VC and Māori Battalion Masters Scholarship, Kawiti has studied at the UWTSD Wales International Academy of Voice, where he completed a master’s degree under renowned Welsh tenor Dennis O’Neill, being mentored by Dame Kiri Te Kanawa. His journey promises to be an international one, but he credits Otago and his professors and coaches with helping him on the way.
“For me, what made Otago unique was the combination of its world-class academic quality, an environment steeped in history and heritage to be proud of, and the opportunities it was able to provide students wanting to make their dreams and future aspirations a reality.”