Samantha Winterton

The Ensemble seeks to connect and inform all people who are committed to ensemble music education for youth empowerment and social change.

Arts-Based Research—or at Least Our Version of It


In January 2020, Sistema Whangarei – Toi Akorangi found itself in a quandary. Like many programs around the globe, Sistema Whangarei has limited access to local professional orchestras or universities; instead of their expertise, we rely on the support of our young people to create a sustainable program. It is paramount, then, that we attract and retain teenagers in our organization. But we had noticed a concerning phenomenon: students who seemed invested in our program and who were making great progress would suddenly, unexplainably leave.

Developing Teaching Practices from Community Values


Sistema Whangarei/Toi Akorangi students mostly come from the local Maori community, with Pakeha (white Europeans) and some Asian students, and the program lives by practices that resonate with ancient Maori values, finding approval with the elders. We know that there are more invisible barriers for many in our community, so we continue to inquire into our practices and seek to create the perfect place for all students. With a modest budget, and modest number of tutors, our program relies on young volunteers.  Partnering with Whangarei Girls High School, we have researched the benefits to the young leader of being a teacher or tutor. We use the community terms tuakana for the young leader and teine for the younger learner.


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