At just 12 years old Aurian White will be sharing Whangārei with the world.

The Sistema Whangārei student is one of 10 students selected from Sistema programmes around the globe to be a World Ensemble Ambassador. She was "speechless" when she found out.

As part of the programme she will submit a monthly report on the Sistema Whangārei programme and the things they're doing, and share the reports from the other ambassadors with the Whangārei musicians.

White is the only New Zealander in the ambassador network, and is joined by two students in both Canada and Kenya and one each in Brazil, Sweden, the Untied States, Venezuela and The Philippines.


She is looking forward to "meeting everybody around the world and seeing what they're doing".

The Tikipunga High School student will communicate with the other ambassadors via Skype and Facebook. She will also get six hours worth of music lessons via Skype with an international expert.

Sistema Whangārei programme director Sam Winterton said the World Ensemble, which is connected to Sistema Global decided to launch the ambassador programme "so that students in Sistema programmes around the globe could connect with each other and break down cultural barriers".

A host of programmes around the world were contacted and asked for students to apply.

Aurian White, 12, has been chosen as one of 10 World Ensemble Ambassadors. Photo/Michael Cunningham
Aurian White, 12, has been chosen as one of 10 World Ensemble Ambassadors. Photo/Michael Cunningham

First came the written questions, then after making it through to the next round a phone interview with representatives in the United States.

White, who has been playing the cello for nearly five years, said the interviewers asked about how long she had been playing and how she can inspire people to play.

The answer she gave was: "Try them out with the cello and ask them what their favourite instrument is, give them a go and see if they like it."

Winterton said she was "incredibly proud" of the young musician.


"One of the things that is special about us is that we develop those leadership aspects of our young people, they're not just learning instruments."

She said while Aurian is a bit younger than some of the other ambassadors in the programme "she is already supporting younger people to learn".

"For these guys to be able to share all these differences means all of the children are widening their understanding of the world and themselves."

Sistema Whangārei is open for an intake of new students starting January 21. Contact Sam Winterton on 027 434 3967, email or just turn up at the Old Library at 9am on the day.

What is Sistema?
The Sistema Whangārei programme is a free community based social action programme using orchestra as its vehicle. It was first introduced to Whangārei in April 2013. It is modelled on the El Sistema programme started in Venezuela. It is run by volunteers and funded by donations and grants.