District Contest Organisers

Every year thousands of young musicians take part in our nationwide Chamber Music Contest. Behind the scenes, making sure the event runs smoothly are our District Contest Organisers.



Atsuko Fukuoka

"I was born in Osaka, Japan and moved to NZ with my husband. We've happily settled and made many friends through music in Whangarei. We've lived on a small farm with many animals and used to participate in the family entertainment class in the local competition every year. I currently teach piano, regularly perform for varied events as a local pianist and accompanist, conduct Brioso Corde , an advanced string group of Whangarei Youth Music, and also coach chamber music groups . I've been a District Contest Organiser for seven years. I believe that this Contest has been one of the most prominent and anticipated annual events for the young musicians and the community."


Lorna  Wright

"I have been involved in the Contest as a volunteer for a number of years, and as an itinerant flute teacher I see it as an important part of the performance curriculum. I hold a Masters in Performance Flute and have been teaching flute for many years, and really love seeing my students gain confidence and enjoyment from their successes. I teach in several Auckland schools, run a flute choir, and perform in a flute duo, TwoFlutes."



Kathryn Orbell

"I have been involved with the Contest performing as a school student in Hamilton, then as a teacher and as District Organiser. I am a flutist with a large teaching studio, who performs with a number of chamber groups. I am also on the NZ Flute Society committee, run the Hamilton Flute Festival annually and sing in the Hamilton Civic Choir for pleasure."



Bay of Plenty

Lynne Sperring


"My connection to the Chamber Music Contest goes back quite a few years, since playing in it as a secondary school student.  I have since proudly watched my three daughters have their turn and have been organising the Bay of Plenty event since 2009. I am a primary school teacher in a rural school on the outskirts of Tauranga.  I've been involved with music for young people in the Bay of Plenty since my own children started playing. I am a Board Member on the NZMEB, which I've been involved with since its inception in 2005."

East Coast

Gill Armstrong

"I have been the District Contest Organiser for many years. It is great to be involved with this and see the students develop confidence and improve their musical ability as they start in Year 9 and finally leave us after Year 13. I always endeavour to make it a pleasant experience for them. I also help with a choir at our local Boys’ High School and help the committee that organises the Gisborne International Music Competition. I also raise chickens, finches, have two dogs,  look after my husband, play tennis and look after a 10 acre coastal garden so spare time is minimal. Plus, I am granny to 6 so life is never dull!"



Jocelyn Beath

"I completed a degree in flute and composition at Canterbury University, before further flute studies in London. In 1975 my husband's job brought the family back to New Plymouth and I have since performed several concertos with New Plymouth Orchestra and was Head of Music at New Plymouth Boys' High for ten years. Now 'retired' I passionately promote music to youngsters; as a private flute teacher, a chamber music coach and as the District Contest Organiser."


Hawke's Bay

Rhondda Poon


"I have been involved with arts and the non profit sector for over 25 years as a corporate sponsor, senior manager and administrator.  I am passionate about fostering the arts in regional communities and it is wonderful to be involved with the NZCT Chamber Music Contest as a District Contest Organiser.

I have a lifelong interest in music, its performance and the pleasure that it brings to people of any age.  I have played the piano most of my life, still take lessons as an adult student, and belong to a wonderful community of people who love the arts and performance as much as I do. I have an active life outside the arts and enjoy sailing, skiing and tramping with the family."



Ingrid Culliford

"My enthusiasm for the Chamber Music Contest dates back to its early days when I took part and was national finalist. Nowadays my passion for chamber music finds many outlets, in performance as well as teaching and concert promotion. I have been an adjudicator and coach for CMNZ and since 2005 I have been the District Contest Organiser. I am a flautist and have performed in ensembles and duos, recorded with Radio NZ, has toured for Chamber Music New Zealand and played as a casual extra for the NZSO."



Amanda Houlahan

"I am passionate about encouraging musical expression and enjoyment in young people and have been the District Contest Organiser since 2014. Born in Wellington, I learnt recorder, piano and flute as a child, and achieved Grade 8 flute at high school.   I then moved to Palmerston North to study Social Work.  Currently I am teaching flute, privately and in schools, and am on the local IRMT Committee, which is very active in offering performance opportunities for pupils."



Pip Want


"I did a Music Degree majoring in Composition, then went on to work in the office at the School of Music. Following this I moved on to work at Chamber Music NZ, where I worked for 9 years, on and off between having my 3 children. The majority of those years at CMNZ were as the National Organiser of the NZCT Chamber Music Contest, so I know the Contest well! I’m excited to have the opportunity to get involved with the contest again, on a district level, and look forward to hearing the incredible talent that is out there."



Rosie-Anne Pinney


“Playing the piano and flute when I was at school led me to attend my first classical concerts at the Festival Hall and Royal Albert Hall in London: truly awesome experiences that I have never forgotten.  Since then I spent several wonderful years working for Chamber Music New Zealand as the Nelson Concerts Manager and District Contest Organiser and once again had the pleasure of enjoying music of a world class standard but in a more intimate setting.   More recently I have been playing music myself, choosing to learn two very different and challenging instruments: classical guitar and Irish whistle. The Nelson guitar orchestra and the weekly Irish session are wonderfully stimulating environments in which to develop and nurture my playing.”



Jody Keehan

"I'm a musician, mum and concert organiser who feels very lucky to be able to be able to combine my love of music into everything I do. I play saxophone, clarinet and sing all styles of music. At school I played in the South Island Youth Orchestra and entered the Chamber Music Contest. In 2007 I started working for Chamber Music New Zealand as Concert Manager for Christchurch and since 2009 I have been the District Contest Organiser."


South Canterbury

Ros Taylor


"I have been associated with the Chamber Music Contest for over 20 years and for many of those years as the District Contest Organiser. I'm passionate about music in education and have made contributions to community music in Timaru. I was awarded a Life Membership for conducting the Timaru District Choir for fifteen years and am now the Musical Director for the Height of Harmony Barbershop Chorus. In my position as HOD Music at Timaru Boys High School I encourage many students to follow their musical passion and enter the annual Chamber Music Contest."



Natasha Manowitz


"I grew up in Dunedin where I gained my ATCL Diploma in Flute performance. I studied Flute performance at the Universtiy of Auckland, graduating in 2013 with a Bachelor of Music. I'm also a violinist and have played at folk festivals and released an album with gypsy and klezmer band Baba Yaga. I have a passion for music education, particularly teaching music through the Kodaly approach. Now living back in Dunedin, I maintain a busy performance and teaching schedule on both flute and violin."



Emma Jarman


“As a four-time District Rounds Contest winner, I jumped at the offer to take on the District Contest Organiser role in 2014 and give back to the organisation as it provided me with so many wonderful opportunities as a student. Born in Southland, I attained my ATCL in clarinet whilst at high school and then went on to complete a BMus majoring in performance, a GradDipArts in Sociology and Geography, and a GradDipTchng (Secondary). Currently I am a secondary school teacher of music and social sciences, teach clarinet and saxophone privately and at the Out of School Music Classes, and perform with a variety of local ensembles.”