Dame Kiri te Kanawa has accepted an invitation to be patron of Gisborne's War Memorial Theatre to be upgraded at a cost of over $6 million.
Dame Kiri was born in Te Tai Rawhiti and traces her genealogy to Ngati Porou through her biological father.
She says she has looked at plans for the re-developed theatre and is sure it will be a catalyst to inspire talented young singers, musicians and actors to consider a fulltime career in their chosen field of the arts.
Gisborne Mayor Meng Foon says the new theatre, which will bigger than the existing one, will be a wonderful asset for the region.
He says Dame Kiri has a real soft spot for the Gisborne region and it is a real coup to have her agree to be the patron.