How it started

Te Rauhii first started in 2015 under the name Sistema Waikato, with philosophy based on the original Venezuelan El Sistema model. El Sistema offers musical ensemble participation from an early age according to a set of clear principles, which focus on intensive and joyful music making as a vehicle for social development. El Sistema particularly looks to offer opportunities for the disadvantaged and is based in local nucleo centers, and is thus a manifestation of, and rooted in, each local community.

Sistema Waikato has since rebranded with the new name “Te Rauhii” (Rauhii meaning “to take care of, foster and protect”) and the subtitle “Ngaa reo puoro o te ao” (“music of the world”) formed from suggestions by community members. This enabled us to celebrate and showcase our cultural identity, as well as enabling our community to resonate more closely with our name, brand and values.

Where it's going

Te Rauhii has three specific aims – the wellbeing of children and whaanau, access and engagement in musical education, and fostering social mobility within the community.


The ability of Te Rauhii to contribute to child and whaanau well-being and development is demonstrated by our class curriculums, specifically designed to enhance musical and social development, supporting student and whaanau capability and resilience through participation, respect, trust, confidence and community connectedness.

Increased well-being is also fostered through the after-school programme, where Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs are promoted and fulfilled. Students’ physiological and safety needs are met as they receive food, water and warmth, while experiencing a strong sense of community, friendship and belonging. This has enabled self-regulation and co-regulation with a trusted adult or peer, as well as students exhibiting determination, resilience and persistence as they realise their potential.


Operating in Hamilton’s most high need communities, Te Rauhii seeks to provide an accessible and engaging music education programme that provides high quality music tuition through a culturally responsive, play-based curriculum, engaging tamariki, rangatahi and the wider whaanau. Music education is in crisis in New Zealand Primary Schools, becoming a privilege for a few rather than a right for all.

Te Rauhii gives children a contemporary, researched based and well-rounded music education, at no cost to the parents. Our tutors have witnessed even the most vulnerable students engage with every lesson, developing a strong understanding of complex concepts with ease and sharing them with their whānau and friends at school, prompting further engagement and participation by the passive consumers of the programme.


The long term vision that Te Rauhii has is to “work together to develop social mobility in the community: giving them the tools for a prosperous future”. Over the years this has been achieved with the relationships built between various musical programs, enabling our students to collaborate with internationally accredited musicians and singers, as well as gaining entrance to secondary schools on musical scholarships.