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Music School planning new home

Tristan Egarr



No more lugging double basses across town in heat of day
The New Zealand School of Music (NZSM) recently announced plans to develop a $50 million home on the edge of Wellington’s Civic Square.

The offspring of a collaboration in 2005 between Massey and Victoria Universities, the dual nature of the school has caused a number of teething problems. While the merger has allowed students to take multi-disciplinary courses spanning both jazz and classical genres, such students have been forced to commute between the Mt. Cook jazz campus, and the classical department’s home in Kelburn.
However, staff members approached by Salient were optimistic that these problems were being ironed out, and that the proposed Civic Square building would see an end to them.
NZSM Director Professor Elizabeth Hudson told Salient that it has also caused organisational problems for staff, as inter-departmental meetings always require one set of staff to travel across town. However, Hudson says that the merger has decreased administrative costs, and that the opportunities for collaboration have made it all worthwhile.
NZSM Business Manager John Kelleher says “the nature of any merger is such that there will be procedural issues… We always knew that there would be small things we would need to address.”
Both Kelleher and Hudson add that staff morale has risen greatly over the last year, as problems have been identifi ed and addressed.
The NZSM has proposed replacing the two schools with a single home on the old Circa Theatre site in Civic Square to solve the issue of coordinating across campuses. The proposal includes a large auditorium, able to seat 600-800 people and host performances by the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra.
Hudson says the project has the backing of both universities as well as the Wellington City Council, who recently renewed the School’s hold on the proposed site.
While a number of local MPs have also thrown their weight behind the project, it still lacks funding from the Government as well as the private sector – around $50 million is needed for the project to go ahead.