Home » August 2022 » Currently Reading:

Uncovering an astonishing musical talent

August 2, 2022 August 2022 No Comments


“I’ve always had a natural attraction to the violin. It fascinated me as a kid, the way the bow would pull sound out of the strings, the beautiful design of the whole instrument”-Toloa Faraimo.

Toloa Faraimo was born into a musical family in Porirua in August 2002. He began his musical journey learning the piano by ear, and then switched to the violin at age 12 in 2015 at Rangikura School through the Virtuoso Strings In-School Programme. It was this programme that uncovered Toloa’s astonishing musical talent.

The Virtuoso Strings Charitable Trust was formed by former Wellington Orchestra musicians, Elizabeth Sneyd and Craig Utting in Porirua in 2013. They had noted the natural musical talent in this community particularly among Māori and Pacifica students and spent their savings on 150 violins beginning free lessons in decile 1 and 2 schools in Porirua East. More than 200 children annually benefit from their non-auditioned, no cost programme. Driving this initiative was their belief that adequately resourced children from all backgrounds can achieve excellence. Toloa Faraimo is a star graduate of the Virtuoso in-schools programme.

From 2016, Toloa received individual lessons from Elizabeth Sneyd. His talent was such that he had passed his Grade 8 Trinity examination after little more than two years of formal lessons. A string of achievements followed including leading two groups in the 2019 NZ Community Trust Chamber Music Contest in which both made it to the finals. One of these groups, the Virtuoso Strings Octet, won the People’s Choice Award while his string Quartet, Sixteen Strings, won the overall prize.

Currently, Toloa is doing a BMus at Victoria University receiving his tuition from Helene Pohl of the New Zealand String Quartet. Prior to this, Toloa was selected for an internship with Orchestra Wellington where he received one-on-one coaching with concertmistress Amalia Hall.

Toloa’s ambition is to achieve a standard of excellence in his undergraduate studies that will see him “hopefully take my postgraduate studies overseas”. He is well on track to do this. 

Outside of music, Toloa is involved in the “ballroom culture of Aotearoa. It is an underground culture formed by Black and Latina transwomen in the 1980s in New York City. This scene is where queer people of colour are celebrated for their authentic selves. We hold balls where people vogue, walk, pose, lip sync and model in front of a panel of judges”. 

This astonishingly talented young violinist will play in three of the MMF programmes; on the Saturday night and the two Sunday programmes.

Programme details and Tickets for the Martinborough Music Festival are available via the website at www.martinboroughmusic festival.co.nz.

Winifred Bull

Comment on this Article:

You must be logged in to post a comment.



Featherston Wrestling Club

June saw the start of Regional & National wrestling tournaments.  The Wellington Regional Championships is back on the national calendar after 31 years.  This illustrates the growth in the Wellington region clubs – Featherston, Tawa and Waikanae.  The club also had a team travel to Hamilton in July to attend …

Roll the Jack

With Rozanna Muriwai, as the new president of the Martinborough Bowling Club, the Club is humming. “When we returned from Bahrain 2 years ago, we wandered down to the Bowling Green to check it out. Both my husband and I love bowling, says Rozanna. We joined. The social side of …

Rare mother – daughter success at South Wairarapa Karate Club

The South Wairarapa Okinawan Goju Ryu karate club is continuing to grow in both numbers and achievements, and it was great to see two Martinborough locals recently achieve their Shodan (blackbelts) in September this year. Mother and daughter, Clare and Bonnie Miller,  travelled to Dunedin with Senpai Anna Borjesson and …

Regular Features

How Well Do We know People in our Community?

Reid and Reid, or otherwise Chris and Stewart are the owners of the Gin distillery …

Recycling days

Wednesday 10th August Glass Wednesday 17th August Wheelie bin Wednesday 24th August Glass Wednesday 31st …


While Covid has kept many of us home over the last month, our services have …

Martinborough Golf Club Report

We have certainly had a lot of rain over the last few weeks, so much …

Martinborough Community Garden

Well, weather like we have had recently makes one understand the frustration of the animals …

Martinborough Business Association

We  don’t always get it right…. In last month’s article our focus was on the …


Gosh time flies, another month rolls around. The Brigade has been keeping well occupied with …

Recent Comments