A former music tauira is so grateful for how Te Wānanga o Aotearoa changed his world that he wants to help it change someone else’s.
Recording artist Aisea Niuila is offering a current Certificate in Māori Performing Arts music tauira the opportunity to have some professional studio time and a music video shoot to the value of $5000, out of his own pocket.
The Māngere resident says Te Wānanga o Aotearoa sparked a flame in him and now he wants to ignite that in someone else.
“I know a lot of people give back when they’ve made it but I want to give back in the process,” he says.
Aisea - who goes by the stage name ACE - felt an opportunity such as this was would have been a huge bonus for the programme when he first enrolled in 2010.
If someone had offered him a chance to record a song and make a video clip, he would’ve grabbed it with both hands, he says.
“A lot of young kids want a taste of it, it’s a dream for so many, but a lot give up on their passion. There’s a lot of hidden talent out there but with no drive or motivation. That’s because there’s no one to guide them,” he says.
Aisea was 25 when he first came to the wānanga to follow his dream of making music for others to enjoy.
“I’ve always had a passion for music. In many ways it was my escape from the real world and I loved making it so I decided to give performing arts a go.”
As he was growing up, Aisea experienced the loss of his sister, his mother and then his brother but through all the grief, the father-of-two realised that things such as that happens in life.
“A lot of people give up on their passion, but I want students to know they can make it, they can do it. You can always create your own path, there’s always a solution.”
Since completing his performing arts qualification, Aisea has gone on to study Small Business Management with Te Wānanga o Aotearoa and is currently enrolled in the Money Management programme, which may help his philanthropic nature.
However, Aisea knows his money will benefit a tauira and looks forward to seeing the finished product.
He says he has faith CMPA music kaiako Lisa Cave will find the most deserving tauira for the taonga.
Lisa says she’s humbled by Aisea’s generosity.
“Who does that? Just gives away that type of cash away for nothing?” she says.
“Aisea is just doing so well now in all areas of life. He is recording his own songs and running his own business so to come back and help our tauira build a song by offering a reward incentive, I’m just blown away.”