A young Te Arawa songbird hits the opera stage

By Tema Hemi

A Te Arawa songbird is ready to hit the big stage with the Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra. Zeeah Rona Waerea-Tamai is 12 years old and won the 'Little Singer' competition and for her efforts, she will sing at the 'Worlds Collide' programme that features waiata, classical music, Pasifika culture and popular show tunes. 

Taking centre stage and bringing tears to the audience is what this youngster did in her debut performance.

Waerea-Tamai says, "I'm feeling good I'm not too scared to stand up on stage and sing, I'm happy to do it and I'm ready. I'm not that nervous, I'm happy and joyful to stand on stage this afternoon."

She seems at home in the spotlight, saying, "To stand strong, to be brave and to sing the best I can."

Mum Marewa has high hopes for her daughter and she says, "I'm excited and nervous at the same time, this is a great opportunity for her, for our family and for our people back home. She's only just started to have singing classes and her teacher said she should give this competition a go and of course she was fortunate to win it."

Zeeah was shortlisted alongside 25 others who auditioned from throughout the country and it was her prescence and confidence that impressed the judge's of the 'Little Singer' competition and ultimately won her this opportunity.

Director of The Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra Tom Hamill says, "Zeeah has a wonderful voice but also she's got a great smile and we feel like her presence on stage is really gonna light up the audience, and that's what really got her over the line was her presence."

The youngster hopes to pursue other opportunities to perform onstage again in the future.