Natania Ngawhau has won a swag of awards for her musicianship recently. Photo: Erin Bradnock.

Natania blows away the competition


There is no doubt that Nayland College student Natania Ngawhau is top brass.

The multitalented trombone player has just secured her place at the New Zealand School of Music – being recognised as an outstanding musician in her audition.

The 18-year-old was the recipient of four such audition awards which sees her receive a $2000 prize.

“That was cool, I’ll spend that money on a new trombone,” Natania says.

She also won two outstanding musician awards in the school holidays after competing in a national junior brass band competition where she was the principal trombone player for the South Island band.

The musician is also part of many local bands including the Nelson City Brass band, Nelson Symphony Orchestra and Nelson City Junior Band.

She has also been selected for the National Youth Brass Band next year after placing second in an event this July. Surprisingly, Natania has only been playing the trombone for four years after a friend found an old instrument in their attic.

“I was playing the trumpet at the time and she was like ‘do you want a trombone?’ and I said ‘sure’. The trombone is way cooler,” she says.

Not only is she a talented musician but a talented rugby player, too. She was invited to be an assistant coach for the Tasman Māori Women’s Mako team for their Te Tau Ihu Māori South Island tournament.

“Sport is a big part of my life, it keeps me sane,” she says.

Natania credits her success to her music teacher, Andrew Yorkstone, who has been her mentor since the start of this year.

“She’s been fantastic to work with,” Andrew says.

“She’s highly attentive, highly driven and highly competitive.”

Natania says she’s improved a lot this year thanks to Andrew’s tuition.

“I was close to giving up playing end of last year, but he’s really helped me improve.”

Looking ahead, Natania is keen to join the New Zealand Army Band after university.