Te Herenga Waka - Victoria University of Wellington appoints New Head of School, The New Zealand School of Music - Te Kōkī

Te Herenga Waka - Victoria University of Wellington is New Zealand’s globally ranked capital city university, focused on engaging with Wellington, New Zealand and the Asia-Pacific region and connecting with the world.  It is known for its research quality and strong arts programmes. It is one of the two biggest employers in the Wellington region and contributes in excess of $1 billion to the regional economy every year.

The New Zealand School of Music (NZSM) - Te Kōkī at Victoria University of Wellington, has a breadth and depth of music study available nowhere else in New Zealand.  NZSM is situated in Wellington, the arts capital of New Zealand, and offers the highest standards of excellence in professional music fields (including classical performance, composition, jazz, music therapy, musicology, and ethnomusicology), and brings an international standard of music education to New Zealanders.  

Society collaborated with Te Herenga Waka - Victoria University of Wellington on appointing the Professor and Head of School for NZSM. We conducted a global search to identify suitable candidates who could drive the strategic direction for NZSM in all aspects of academic leadership and operational management, providing financial oversight, internationalisation, management of stakeholder relationships, student recruitment and academic partnerships. The position also involves working closely with the School Manager, planning for the school’s future, and effectively managing its people, resources, learning and teaching, and research programmes.

We are delighted to announce that Professor Kim Cunio has been appointed the new Professor and Head of School at The New Zealand School of Music. He is an activist composer interested in old and new music and the role of intercultural music in making sense of our larger world.

Professor Cunio has recently concluded his tenure as Head of the School of Music at the Australian National University (ANU). In this role he made a sustained contribution to Australian music, arts, culture and governance, public advocacy, and commentary. His responsibilities also included leadership of the ANU Press - Music, writing and implementing the strategic plan (2019), major review (2023), securing funding for and leading major research projects, developing philanthropy, rebuilding the performance capacity of the school, and reimagining the role of music and music education in the 21st Century.

He is a recipient of the ABC Golden Manuscript Award for his work on traditional music. His compositions have been played internationally with performances at the Whitehouse, United Nations, and festivals in around the world. His list of commissioning organisations and places include the Sydney 2000 Olympics, Art Gallery of NSW, National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne International Arts Festival, Foundation for Universal Sacred Music (USA), and many others.

Society wishes Professor Cunio all the very best in his new role.

“Society really cares. From the outset I felt a sense of responsibility from a human focussed company. It means a lot to me that Society works for gender equality and the Global Majority as it fills high level roles. Society has progressive policies and initiatives in place. They worked with me to let me know about the proposed role, answering all of my questions in a manner that can only be achieved through detailed preparation. All the time there was never a hard sell, instead there was the kind offer to debrief in as much detail as I needed. Society seems to have had a similar relationship with The New Zealand School of Music as they appeared to be very well looked after. Once again, all my thanks, I feel a strong connection with this organisation.”

Professor Kim Cunio

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