Onuku grant helps Stella Maris on world stage
A grant from the Onuku Maori Lands Trust has gone towards helping Rotorua singer-songwriter Stella Maris Grant on to the world stage.
In 2013 and 2014, Stella (stage name Stella Maris) received Onuku Education Grants of $550 each year. Midway through 2014, Stella was also awarded a New Zealand representative development grant of $200 towards the funds required for her to go to Los Angeles, USA, where she was one of 13 people from Aotearoa New Zealand at the World Performing Arts Championships.
“The money went towards the fees that it cost to get there, because it’s very expensive to get to America and also to enter the competition and everything that comes with travelling.”
Stella says one aspect of the competition that she brought with her was the cultural aspect, so that she was in traditional Maori regalia during the opening ceremony.
“I was really showing the world our culture, which was amazing because there were 43 countries there.
Education was another aspect of the experience, says Stella. A music student at Waiariki Institute of Technology in 2014, Stella says she learned so much by attending workshops during the event.
Balancing three things – being a student, working and fundraising – was difficult, so the contribution from Onuku was a big help.
“Every bit does helps, because getting the grant meant I had a little bit more time to focus on my actual performance for the competition as opposed to still fundraising.”
While New Zealand was an amazing place, Stella wants to head back to the US because it offers what she wants for her career.