Photo credit: David Tralli.
Musicians and singers from Hutt Valley and Capital & Coast DHBs came together last year to play music as Manawa Ora – the 2DHB orchestra. Now they are putting on concerts in DHB hospitals across the region over the winter months.
Dr Manjula Ricciardi was instrumental in the formation of the orchestra in early 2020 after seeing how much musical performances were enjoyed by patients, visitors, and staff alike.
“Music is a simple way to connect people – patients, whānau and staff appreciate the music and are grateful for a moment of joy,” she said.
“It feels like we’re welcoming people to a place where we want them to feel safe.”
With the increasing sharing of staff and services between the two DHBs, it felt natural that the orchestra include staff from both DHBs. Staff juggle on-call rosters and hospital shifts to rehearse together.
“It takes commitment from everyone to make it this far – but everyone wanted to perform well and be there at the concerts. It’s wonderful to see so many musicians and singers from different roles and backgrounds coming together.”
A debut concert last Christmas is now being followed up with performances over the winter months. The first concert, a Matariki celebration, took place in the atrium of Wellington Regional Hospital in late May. “Matariki has great cultural significance in New Zealand, and we felt that a concert was a great way to celebrate Māori New Year,” says Manjula.
Around 42 musicians and singers performed, with a hospital choir featuring soprano soloist Jess Segal “taking our performance to the next level.”
After having to cancel two more Matariki performances due to the recent COVID-19 alert level change, the orchestra has now scheduled another winter concert at Kenepuru Community Hospital in August.
Manawa Ora is supported by Wellington Hospitals Foundation, while its name was gifted by 2DHB director of Māori Health, Arawhetu Gray. “Arawhetu felt that Manawa Ora was the right name as it encompasses a sense of joy, hope, and acknowledgement that music can lighten the heart.”
Media contact: Chas Te Runa – 027 230 9571