Ukulele Program Brings Musical Joy to Mid Canterbury Schools

by Madonna

In the midst of a chilly winter in Mid Canterbury, the soothing sounds of a ukulele, typically associated with the warm beaches of Hawaii, are filling classrooms.

Senior students at Lagmhor and Hinds schools are embracing the ukulele, thanks to instruments and songbooks provided by the New Zealand Ukulele Trust. These schools mark the first in Mid Canterbury to receive these instruments, with each school receiving twelve ukuleles.


Students who are learning through the trust’s program are affectionately known as “Kiwileles”. At Lagmhor, the Kiwileles are aiming to perform at a school assembly by the term’s end, a prospect that has excited both students and teachers alike.


Fiona Shaw, a teacher at Lagmhor, expressed enthusiasm about the initiative: “The students love it and eagerly practice their playing.” While still in the early stages, the pupils are enthusiastic, finding joy in their musical journey. Shaw emphasized the importance of fun and trying new things, noting that after learning the recorder last year, the ukulele provides a refreshing challenge.


Once the students master the chords, they will progress to learning tunes. Shaw noted, “Some students have a natural knack for music.” Meanwhile, at Hinds School, teacher Melanie Field welcomed the addition of ukuleles to her classroom, ensuring all 24 of her students could participate in learning music this year.

Christina Reid, administrator of the Trust, highlighted the program’s impact, noting they received over 100 applications from schools this year for the 21 sets of ukuleles awarded annually. Since its inception in 2009, the Trust has donated more than 2800 ukuleles to 238 schools across New Zealand.

Looking ahead, Lagmhor and Hinds pupils are eager to showcase their newfound skills not only at school assemblies but also at the “Strum Strike Blow” festival for ukuleles in Christchurch next year.


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