Sistema Aotearoa



Welcome to Sistema Aotearoa!

Sistema Aotearoa uses orchestral music-making as a model for social development.  It is based on El Sistema, one of the world’s most successful music and social development programmes.

In 1975, Dr Jose Antonio Abreu gathered 11 children together in a Venezuelan garage to play music. Dr Abreu believed that communal music making could change the path of children’s lives. El Sistema was born.

El Sistema today is a visionary movement that impacts on young people throughout the world. It is credited with improving the lives and lifting the aspirations of participants and their families, reducing crime, increasing school attendance rates and preventing anti-social behaviour. Sistema Aotearoa, a partnership between the Ministry for Culture and Heritage and the Auckland Philharmonia orchestra has been operating in Otara since April 2011 and is seeing similar early results as in Venezuela.


How It Works

Sistema Aotearoa’s approach considers all aspects of a child’s development and works to integrate these creating benefits that go beyond the development of musical ability. The benefits of the programme include the development of intangible skills and qualities that are vital for positive personal development.

Sistema Aotearoa starts with children in Year 2 of primary school and carries on until full proficiency of the instrument is attained, by which time students may be well into their teens. There are currently around 170 children, aged 6 to 10 years drawn from seven primary schools serving decile 1 communities in Otara, attending three times a week after school and in the school holidays.

Emphasis is placed on developing a supportive community. Teachers and students alike are invested in both personal and community success, creating a place where children feel safe and challenged. Parents/carers working together with Sistema Aotearoa achieve a common goal, that is a more positive, aspirational future for their children.

Partners and Supporters

Learn about the incredible organisations and individuals who are making this unique event possible.

Read about Our Partners →

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Contact Details

Incredible Edge
PO Box 37 479, Parnell
Auckland 1151, New Zealand
Tel: +64 9 302 0405, +64 9 302 3028
Mob: +64 21 2470095