Eleven-year-old Bella Maua was judged the most promising singer under 14 at the Manawatu Performing Arts Competitions Society earlier this month.
The Wanganui girl was in six events in the competition, mother Cherie Maua said. Each had about 13 entrants. She came first in four of them, second in one and third in one, as well as taking the overall vocal prize for her age group despite it being open to singers two years older.
She sang songs as varied as the hymn Amazing Grace and the pop song Someone Like You, and judges praised her strong, pure voice and excellent diction.
Her mother was pleased and surprised to find Bella could cut it with children from the neighbouring region. She and father Dion Maua can't explain their daughter's drive to perform in song, music and dance. But they are happy to help and encourage her.
Bella plays the ukulele and passes jazz dance and singing exams. She's been having singing lessons with Wanganui's Lynn Whiteside for two years.
Mrs Whiteside said she was a hard worker who could embrace any genre.
"She's really learned to communicate the text well and also delivers the genre in the manner that's expected."
Bella goes to Wanganui Intermediate School and is now focused on getting a part in its production this year. She has other vocal opportunities lined up to follow.
Perhaps her biggest audience so far was the crowd at the Meads Cup final in Wanganui in October, where she sang the national anthem. She also sang a solo with Suzanne Prentice at last year's Kids For Kids Christmas concert.
Bella doesn't suffer from stage fright, something that amazes her mother as she sits anxiously watching.
"She seems to direct her excitement into performing."