The local music scene is alive and well in Hawke's Bay but has more to offer than the occasional weekend gig, Anna Pierard says.
The Festival Opera and Project Prima Volta director said there was much to celebrate about the region's music scene but promoting its importance to the community's wellbeing was a challenge.
"There's no doubt as to the quality of music produced here in Hawke's Bay, but does the wider community really measure the impact that the art form has in their own lives?"
She said music was important for an environment where people, youth in particular, were less adept at communicating and connecting with other.
"That's where music participation, appreciation and creation comes in. It's feel good, so you feel good. Simple.
"You collaborate, share the good times and the inspiration. I think this needs celebrating. We have the capacity to make our community well. We just need the strategies to achieve it."
New Zealand singer Hinewehi Mohi has had first-hand experience with the benefits of music on wellbeing.
She opened the Raukatauri Music Therapy Centre in Auckland for people with special needs following music therapy's success in helping her daughter Hineraukatauri Mohi, who was born with cerebral palsy.
Mohi signalled plans to start classes in Hawke's Bay in August last year, after moving back home to the region with her family in 2016, and said she was pleased to announce a new programme in the region would begin at the start of June.
"This is a satellite service that will be facilitated by the Auckland centre but it's our first regional service so it's probably the biggest thing we've done since opening in 2004.
"For us it's particularly exciting because we founded the centre in Auckland and, having shifted down home 18 months ago, we were delighted to be able to make the service available to people with special needs and disability in our home region."
She said a strong music scene was an important part of any region's identity.
"It gives people an opportunity for real identity-setting and it's really awesome to have a rich array of talent in all the arts and all sorts of cultural experiences that the community can be involved in.
"For Hawke's Bay it's particularly important for tourism so I think we need to be able to offer visitors to the region different experiences whether it be local Māori performance, solo artists or bands."
Mohi said the region had a "cool little scene" going but needed further opportunities for local artists to perform in its festivals.
"It's fairly limited at the smaller venues for live performances which is pretty typical of New Zealand generally.
"It would be great if the big stages and bigger festivals had more local performances but ... having set up my own and involving artists from outside of Hawke's Bay I know that can be quite a challenging exercise."
Pierard said she believed there was great diversity in Hawke's Bay music, which was driven by those producing it in competitive groups, music academies or school departments.
"There are burgeoning young singer songwriters who are making progress as well as, of course, opera continuing to be produced by Festival Opera.
"These different organisations work away ensure there is diversity and great reach for those who wish to or need to come into contact with their respective offering."
Those wishing to find more information about music therapy classes can visit www.rmtc.org.nz.