3 Jul 2009

Young Maori singer off to London

4:07 pm on 3 July 2009

A young Maori performer from Whangarei leaves for Britain on Friday to pursue his dream of a life on stage.

Kawiti Waetford - who went to a Maori language school and was raised by a solo mum - is one of New Zealand's most promising young Shakespearean actors and singers.

Along with 23 other young New Zealanders, Kawiti, 18, is going to the Shakespeare Globe Centre in London for three weeks of coaching and acting.

Kawiti's schooling has been mainly at kura kaupapa - but he's been singing since childhood. He discovered the bard last year when he moved to Kamo High School.

Shakespeare Globe Centre New Zealand chief executive Dawn Sanders says he has excelled in Romeo and Juliet under the direction of Rawiri Paratene, who is currently playing Friar Lawrence in a Globe production.

Kawiti credits his success to his mum, his whanau and to his singing teacher Joan Kennaway.

A benefit concert in Whangarei last week raised $12,000 toward's Kawiti's London trip, and his studies.

Kennaway says it's too early to say just where his voice will end up. But, she says, at 18, Kawiti Waetford is a young man on a mission - and actor or opera singer - he's going to be good.