The right note for music therapy
The Napier Raukatauri Music Therapy Centre was playing the right tune when it was selected as a recipient of a new Huawei piano last month.
The upright Pearl River piano arrived on the doorstep of the Tamatea High School-based centre after its success as part of the 100 Piano Project. The project was launched by technology company Huawei and the Play it Strange Trust in 2017, offering 100 pianos to New Zealand schools and communities to inspire creativity and imagination through music.
MP for Napier Stu Nash attended the presentation at the new Raukatauri Centre located within the Tamatea High School campus, along with centre founder and well known singer, Hinewehi Mohi.
Mohi founded the centre after having first-hand experience of what can be achieved through music therapy, with the impact it had on her daughter Hineraukatauri who recently celebrated her 22nd birthday. Hineraukatauri was born with severe cerebral palsy and she has found a new way to connect with the world through the power of music. Music therapy is a way of using music and instruments to help individuals with cognitive, physical or mental health challenges to express themselves and develop new skills.
The centre works mostly with children with a variety of conditions including autism, cerebral palsy, Down syndrome and a number of other issues.
Resident music therapist Will Darbyshire says the gift of the new piano is a boon for the centre.
"We are so grateful for making this possible and giving clients a whole avenue to express themselves."
Will says having a piano wis great for fine motor skills.
"There's something about sitting around a piano. Some children find it difficult to engage and they really start to come out of their shells. No matter what you play, it sounds great."
Since the Huawei's delivery, Will has noticed a marked improvement in one client with a profound disability who would normally sit in the corner for at least 10 minutes before engaging.
"Something struck a chord — this is an incredibly generous donation."
Will says music is used to support people and he’s planning on starting a group for adults with dementia and their caregivers.
"There is a strong focus on social interaction. When singing a familiar song people tend to be their most calm. It gives the caregiver a chance to have that relationship back again."
All sessions are subsidised and last from 30-45 minutes. Classes are also held on Saturdays at the Havelock North Function Centre.
■ For more email Will: firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.rmtc.org.nz
Receiving their new piano are (from left) Tamatea High School principal Robin Fabish, MP for Napier, Stuart Nash, Huawei NZ deputy managing director Andrew Bowater, Raukatauri Music Therapy Centre) music therapist Will Darbyshire, stakeholder relations and event manager Vera Wei and founder of Raukatauri Music Therapy Centre Hinewehi Mohi.
Will Darbyshire and client Emily playing the guitar together.