The Dame Malvina Major Foundation offers a range of scholarships to young performers to help them to achieve their dreams. As a trusted charity, the Foundation also manages scholarships and named donations or bequests that support the performing arts on behalf of other trusts and individuals.

Ryman DMMF Mina Foley Award

This award, to enable talented young singers to return to New Zealand to perform in a professional opera season, was established in 2008 in memory of one of New Zealand’s most promising vocal talents of yesteryear. The soprano, Mina Foley, captivated New Zealand audiences with the quality and technique of her singing in the 1950s. The Foundation has assisted New Zealand Opera to bring back a number of outstanding young singers from the United Kingdom and Europe to perform leading roles. Since 2018, Ryman Healthcare has partnered with the Foundation to sponsor this award.

Award winners

  • Amelia Berry 2018
  • Jonathan Abernethy 2017
  • James Benjamin Rodgers 2016
  • Rachelle Pike 2015
  • Madeleine Pierard 2014
  • Shaun Dixon 2013
  • Anna Leese 2012
  • Andrew Glover 2011
  • Wade Kernot 2010
  • Wendy Dawn Thompson 2009
  • Ana James 2008

Sir Howard Morrison VocalScholarship

Sir Owen Glenn and The Glenn Family Trust in collaboration with the Dame Malvina Major Foundation has endowed a vocal performance scholarship in recognition of the late Sir Howard Morrison’s unique talent. The scholarship is administered by the Dame Malvina Major Foundation and is awarded a to a New Zealand performer of exceptional potential aged between 16 and 32 years of age.

Scholarship winners

  • Hannah Bryant 2019
  • Pasquale Orchard 2018
  • Blaire White 2016
  • Madison Nonoa, Jarvis Dams, Joel Amosa 2015
  • Oriana Kershaw 2013, 2014
  • Amina Edris 2012, 2011
  • Te Waikamihi Korohina-Ormsby 2010


  • Applicants must have exceptional talent and have the potential to develop a career in vocal performance.
  • Open to applicants who are New Zealand citizens.
  • Minimum age 16 years, maximum age 32 years.

Scholarship to include:

  • up to 30 hours of personal vocal tuition from Dame Malvina Major through the year
  • as the lessons will take place mainly in Hamilton, some accommodation and travel expenses may be available
  • some financial assistance may be available to the recipient to help with activities which are seen to being related to the success of the scholarship recipient e.g related tuition fees (languages, personal presentation, deportment) or costs associated with a competition.

Applications to include:

  • 1-2 page personal statement outlining how this scholarship will help you achieve your career in vocal performing musicHome address, all contact details and date of birth
  • CV and photo
  • audio recording, CD or DVD
  • written support from two referees preferably practitioners in the arts or established artists/teachers.

Closing date 8 April each year. Applications to be posted to: The Administrator The Dame Malvina Major Foundation PO Box 9976 WELLINGTON 6141

“I really want to do this – to choose talented people that I feel have the ability to make a career out of singing and performance as Sir Howard Morrison and I have done.”

Dame Malvina

Cecily Maccoll High Achiever Award - Canterbury

Based on need and talent, this award of up to $1000 is open to young classical instrumental or vocal performers in Canterbury. The award is granted as part of the Christchurch Arts Excellence Awards. For how to apply see Christchurch Arts Excellence Awards.

Award winners

  • Baritone Angus Simmons 2018
  • Flautist Matthew Lee 2017
  • The Herzog Klaviertrio 2016
  • UC Christchurch Youth Orchestra 2015
  • Tenor Harry Grigg 2014
  • Cellist Catherine Kwak 2013
  • Soprano Aivale Cole 2012

Alice Cole Piano Scholarship - Auckland/Waikato

The Auckland & Waikato Committee awards a scholarship of $1000 annually to a young pianist of outstanding ability in the Auckland/Waikato region. The scholarship is available to piano students between the ages of 14 and 21 (on 1 February). Applicants are required to perform a 10-15 minute programme of 2-3 contrasting pieces. A short Viva Voce will follow each performance.

Applications for 2019 close on Friday 6 September

Alice Cole Piano Scholarship winners

  • Siyu Sun 2018
  • Tony Chen 2017
  • Leon Chen 2016
  • Arnold Lee 2015
  • Lucy Zeng 2013
  • Jason Bae 2012
  • Sylvia Chen 2011
  • Lawrence Wong 2010

Peter Lees-Jeffries Memorial Scholarship

Set up in honour of Christchurch theatrical designer and teacher Peter Lees-Jeffries, an occasional scholarship of up to $2,500 is awarded to young New Zealand designers and directors to visit opera theatres and workshops overseas. If you have a project that could benefit from this type of professional development, please contact us for more information.

Scholarship winners

  • Jacqueline Coats, opera director and Abigail Boyle, ballet dancer 2018
  • Kate Middleton-Olliver 2015
  • Jessica Verryt 2012
  • Andrew McKenzie 2010
  • Hedda Oosterhoff 2009

“It has been a real privilege to undertake this professional secondment to Opera Australia. Being allowed inside their doors has opened my eyes to a whole new world of opera”

Kate Middleton-Olliver

Italian for New Zealand Opera Singers Masterclasses

For several years the Foundation has granted  scholarships to enable young singers to take part in Patricia Hurley’s Italian for NZ Opera Singers Masterclasses in Italy, offering  language lessons, vocal tuition and an introduction to Italian culture as well as performances opportunities.

Scholarship winners

  • Joanna Foote, Elisabeth Harris, Harry Grigg, Ben Reason 2018
  • Natasha Wilson, Marlena Devoe, Jonathan Eyers 2017
  • Eliza Boom, Katherine McIndoe, Kieran Rayner, Oliver Sewell 2016
  • Madison Nonoa, Jarvis Dams 2015
  • Christie Cook, Daniel O’Connor, Julian Van Mellaerts 2014
  • Moses Mackay, Polly Ott 2013
  • Carleen Ebbs, Claire Egan, Tavis Gravatt 2012

“I found the whole process of studying Italian, rehearsing the concert repertoire and learning about the Italian culture to be absolutely pivotal in my development as a young singer.”

Jarvis Dams

Thank you


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