Meet the Team
Having grown up in a musically oriented family, it was a natural step for Elena Morgan when she went on to study music performance.
Elena completed her Bachelor of Music in 2016 at the New Zealand School of Music in Wellington. Following this, she continued her studies at the University of Waikato where she received first class honours and a post-graduate diploma in music performance.
In 2018, Elena realised her true passion lay with music education. Moving away from performance Elena joined Sistema Waikato first as their cello tutor and then as the Programme Manager a few months later.
Elena's favourite part of this position is being part of a like-minded team and being able to share her love of music further than she ever thought possible.
Elena is a recipient of the Duke of Edinburgh's Gold Award, which has developed her communication, organisation, management and problem-solving skills.
In addition to her role at Sistema Waikato Elena teaches cello privately and performs regularly with OPUS orchestra and for musical theatre productions
Jade Browne is a passionate musician and educator, who believes that every child, regardless of their background, should have access to a meaningful and quality music education.
She graduated from the University of Waikato, with a Bachelor of Music (Honours) and a Master of Arts majoring in Music, both awarded with First Class Honours. Under the direction of Dr Michael Williams, her research focused on music education in New Zealand society, highlighting the social, psychological and cognitive benefits of a quality music education and how musical exposure can benefit and enrich children’s lives.
During this time, she also completed a performance diploma awarded with distinction, through The Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music and received Merit in Composition at the 2017 Lilburn Trust Awards. Jade is a Golden Key Scholar and a recipient of the “Research Masters Scholarship”, “FASS Thesis Scholarship” and the Hamilton City Council “30 Under 30” award. She is also a nominee of the Attitude Awards and New Zealand Youth Awards, being nominated for the Outstanding Youth Champion and Inclusion and Diversity categories due to her ongoing contribution to the community.
Kahu is our newest team member and we are so lucky to have her! Kahu trained as a chef at AUT and has had a prosperous career in hospitality.
Kahu is a loving mother to several children, two of which are involved in the programme!
Kahu's favourite aspect of the programme is that it provides a safe and loving environment for children to learn and grow together as a community. Kahu loves that being a part of Sistema gives her something special to share with her children.
As Programme Assistant, Megan helps out the management team with all the little bits and bobs that make the programme run. We couldn't do it all without her!
In addition to her position as Programme Assistant, Megan Robinson is also a senior tutor here at Sistema Waikato. Megan has been teaching with Sistema for nearly 3 years. Megan loves all forms of musical instruments and loves seeing our tamariki spark excitement for music too. Megan has 4 boys of her own, and she has learnt through them that every child learns differently, and that's okay. Megan learnt the piano and violin as a young child and had opportunities to learn new instruments at High School; Megan studied Architecture at Wintec.
Megan's favourite thing to do at Sistema is our Orchestra sessions. It makes all the hard work of the students blossom into an amazing full sound. Watching those kids who struggled, shine with excitement and pride over their accomplishment.
Communications and Marketing Assistant
As the Communications and Marketing Assistant, Sera puts together our newsletters and notices, as well as helping take care of our website and social media platforms. She has also been volunteering as a Music Tutor Assistant at Sistema since September 2018, and absolutely loves her time spent helping, and watching the children grow and flourish in their learning.
Sera is currently attending Hamilton Girls High School, and plays the flute in her school orchestra. In her spare time, Sera enjoys playing football, and spending time in the outdoors. Sera loves being apart of the Sistema team, and getting to be a part of such an awesome community. Getting to spend time with the kids and celebrate in their successes is the most rewarding and fulfilling thing.
Music Tutor Team
Whaea Cindy plays the piano and the violin; Cindy leads the orchestra, choir and musicianship classes at Sistema Waikato. Prior to joining Sistema Waikato in 2016, Cindy was a tutor at Sistema Aotearoa in Otara, Auckland for four years. Cindy loves being a part of the Sistema whanau; she feels so lucky to work alongside our passionate, hardworking and inspiring tamariki at Sistema every week! When Cindy isn't at Sistema, she enjoys sleeping, playing anime songs on the piano, doing Japanese Taiko drumming and cuddling her cat, Pixel.
Mary has had the privilege of working for Sistema Waikato since it began in July 2015. She is dedicated to not only teaching for the programme but also building relationships in her local community, Nawton. Music has always been a huge part of her life and she began playing the violin at the age of 4. She gave up a career as an Occupational Therapist working in mental health to focus on teaching and performing music. She is passionate about the Sistema philosophy and excited to walk alongside each child, as they develop life skills and a joy of music.
Josh has lived in Hamilton his whole life, and has worked with Sistema Waikato since Term 4 of 2018. He currently also teaches piano at two schools, and is a workshop tutor for StarJam. He loves animals as well as bush walks, and has a keen interest in writing music for various combinations of instruments, including for choirs.
Renee joined Sistema Waikato in November 2018. Renee enjoys being part of the Sistema Waikato family because we are made up of a diverse range of individuals who share a love for music! Nothing has been more rewarding than to see our students grow in confidence and develop meaningful relationships with their peers through music. Renee's favourite composer is Joe Hisaishi and in her spare time you'll find her with a cup of tea in hand, playing piano or exploring the hiking trails in the Waikato.
Jane has been with Sistema Waikato for over three years and she plays the guitar and enjoys helping in all other classes. Jane loves watching children grow both socially and musically at Sistema, it is a wonderful program to be part of.
Cecily, who grew up in Stratford, Taranaki, has worked with Sistema Waikato since July 2018. She recently completed a Master of Music at the University of Waikato, under the tutelage of Glenese Blake, and supervision of Stephanie Acraman and Rachael Griffiths-Hughes. Cecily specializes in classical singing, having been an alto soloist in many oratorios, and having worked with Julliard415 and Masaaki Suzuki in 2016. She has also attended the annual New Zealand Opera School, and performed with Opera Factory. In her spare time, Cecily enjoys composing humorous songs for ukulele, and making crazy costumes. Cecily is passionate about giving everyone access to musical success, having focused on the experiences of neurodiverse musicians as part of her Masters research. As a member of the Asperger's community, Cecily hopes to encourage, support, and pave the way for young musicians of all abilities.
Kendall previously worked for Sistema Waikato for two years, before heading overseas on her OE. Now that she has returned to New Zealand she volunteers for Sistema during some afternoon sessions and at events, really enjoying seeing the Sistema children grow and blossom throughout their musical journeys. Kendall is a marketing manager for two software companies and has a background in grant writing, communications and design. Her hobbies include playing squash, reading and gardening.