Toi Akorangi is the Māori name given to one of the world's most successful music and social development programmes known as El Sistema. It has been nearly a year now since the programme was introduced to schools in Whangarei.
Mother from Ngāti Hine, Serena Tilialo says that “he [her son] loves it he loves coming he loves listening to violin he finds violin songs on YouTube and listens to them”
Meanwhile Letitia Tapu says that her child ”loved it straight away and he doesn't want to give it up. We've moved schools we're still in the system and it’s really made him bring out the social side of himself.”
The positive effects from this type of learning for children are as clear as ever.
Many parents say that if it was not for El Sistema a lot of these children would not be exposed to the music lessons because of the generally expensive nature of the lessons.
Douglas says, “we're really excited because its making a difference on all levels not just with the children but with whānau and also with our volunteers and for us as teachers and now community wide it’s making a huge difference.”
It has proved itself to be a space where children learn to focus and take direction and work together which will prove to be invaluable life skills for them to carry into the future.