Waiheke High School’s international students with head of music Russell Duurloo and Waiheke Youth Music Trust committee member Gareth Moore at the Surfdale Community Hall. The hall falls under licensing laws, an obstacle to regular practise and performances. Photo Safia Archer

They’ve got talent and instruments but nowhere to perform; they’ve got drive and ambition but nowhere to practise.

That’s why charismatic music teacher Gareth Moore and the Waiheke Youth Music Trust are on the hunt for practise space and financial support to give the island’s young musos a regular stage.

The trust was established earlier this year to aid young musicians who either don’t have the confidence to perform just yet and need some exposure or are confident performers having trouble finding regular gigs.

“There are so many young bands and singer-songwriters on Waiheke who love playing together, and they are always coming up with new and original ideas for songs,” Gareth says.

“We decided that we wanted to provide shows both for performers as well as their peers to come and participate as an audience and interact.”

One of the main obstacles is Auckland Council’s strict licensing laws around venues, he says. That can make getting first shows really difficult for teen musicians.
The high school music rooms are often booked out during lunchtimes, so the students need more space, especially for out-of-hours jam sessions.

“Part of what we want to do is make sure youth living on the gulf islands get the opportunities to record, tour, get promoted and are introduced to people who can further music opportunities throughout Australasia.”

He says they’re lucky that all committee members have worked in the top echelons of the New Zealand music industry, are well-connected and can build ‘road maps’ for up and coming musicians in what is now a digital industry.

The trust is championed by Gareth (School of Rock) as secretary, international composer and musician Graeme Revell as chairman, professional musician Jamie Stone and teacher, professional DJ and promoter Sam Caroll.

“We are really lucky on Waiheke to have quite a few ‘old-rockers’ who spent their late-teens and 20s in some of New Zealand’s most successful bands, and now they live on Waiheke and want to give back to the new generation,” Gareth says.

Anecdotal evidence suggests that when young people are not provided with networking opportunities and events in a rural environment, there is a rise in vandalism, youth drinking, and bored teens engaging in peer pressure that they can regret later on, he says.

The local board is interested in what the trust is doing and the trust plans to seek funding in the 2018 financial year.

Once they have affordable access to practise space, the next steps include regular performances, sponsored masterclasses with mentors and the ultimate goal of a street performance arcade in Oneroa.

“We really want to shut down main street Oneroa for a day and have three performing stages up and down the road with rotating musicians all day.”

He says this will need the support of all the businesses in Oneroa, and will be a great community day, bringing more business their way.

“We have been told the logistics are too expensive at the moment, but we haven’t given up so watch this space.”
Safia Archer

Subscribe and read Gulf News and Waiheke Weekender Online