2021 President’s report


Welcome to the 98th Annual General Meeting of North Shore Brass Inc, and a special welcome today to our Patrons, Vice Patrons, Life members and other guests in attendance. I am very proud to again report on the activities and achievements of the North Shore Brass family over the year since July 2020.

We cannot ignore the effects of Covid-19 on New Zealand and on our organisation, but I think we have fared well. We were one of the first brass bands to get back to full rehearsals in the world in 2020.


During the year Harmen and myself have presented an update to our Local Board for Devonport Takapuna and also hosted some of the board members to our concerts at the Spencer Hotel and Holy Trinity Cathedral.

We have received a $5000 grant from multiple boards to go towards band room CCTV cameras that were installed this week.

Our contract operational grant has recently been approved through to 2022 of $17,000 which we are very grateful for.


With contesting somewhat difficult in this Covid-19 era the Auckland contest was not held for most bands.

A youth band festival contest was held in October 2020 which attracted three bands and our Takapuna Youth Brass under Mark Close were placed second.

The ABA solos were able to happen in May and included many trophies across our membership.

Liam Wright – under 19 Slow and Not Slow Champion
David Paligora – Open Not Slow Melody Champion
Academy Quartet and Ensemble – Auckland Champions
Emily Sullivan under 16 Slow Melody Champion
Matt Donaldson under 16 Not Slow Melody Champion

There were many placings across the sections. The North Shore Brass family again dominated the entries and the results.

The first national contest since 2019 was held in Christchurch and we were happy to send our senior band there for what was the largest contest since 1991 with 36 bands attending.

Harmen worked the band very hard to achieve impressive placings that he will discuss in his report.

Soloists also had many placings with the following highlights

Liam Wright – Junior Champion Cornet and Junior Champion of Champion
Emily Sullivan – Junior Slow Melody and winner of the Dunedin Ladies Brass band trophy for highest points for a female
Four members performed in the prestigious Invitation Slow Melody event
David Maas – winner of the Open Slow Melody
Andrew Leech- Champion Euphonium
David Paliora – Champion Bass Trombone and The Pat Cole Medal for the youngest winner of an open event
Murray Borthwick – Champion Tenor Horn
Rachel Thomas – Champion Percussionist


With the assistance of Rachel Sullivan, we had good success with grant applications during the year totaling $32,102 from the following bodies:

Auckland Council/Devonport Takapuna Local Board
contract grant $17,000
Blue Sky Community Trust $ 6,000
Pub Charity $ 3,452
Lion Foundation $ 4,000
Creative Communities $ 1,650

We would like to acknowledge the generosity of these organsiation in their support of our activities.


With eight members chosen for the 2020/21 National Band of New Zealand – North Shore Brass has the highest representation of any band in New Zealand. Congratulations to:

Andrew Leech
Alex King
David Paligora
David Maas
John Sullivan
Harmen Vanhoorne
Rhys McDonnell
Mone Isoda

We also had a record six members chosen for the National Secondary Schools Brass Band and the Development Band

Emmy Pullen
Liam Wright (Principal)
Emily Sullivan
Alex Smales
Matt Donaldson
Chris Rowe

We also congratulate the following members chosen for the National Youth Brass Band only this week

Liam Wright – Solo cornet
Esther Simpson – 2nd trombone
Alex King – Principal bass
Emily Sullivan – Development cornet player


The band is as strong as it has ever been this past year, despite the interruptions with lock downs. Several new initiatives proved successful including:

• Christmas @ Holy Trinity – a huge buzz for both bands as they performed in the magical Cathedral to an audience of 600 old and new fans. We were joined by acclaimed Cantare Choir for Westlake Girls High School
• Stars in Brass at St Peters Church is now an annual event


Our Academy continues to be the envy of bands people around New Zealand.
Members were excited, in December, to perform at Holy Trinity Cathedral and combine for a joint item with the senior band.

Community engagements have included Aotearoa Neighbours Day in Takapuna and a combined concert with Kumeu Brass in June.

Our youth band is called Takapuna Youth Brass and they performed at the Matamata Brass Festival in May earning a bronze award.

Thanks to a Creative Communities grant the band will meet at the Sir Peter Blake Marine Centre in Long Bay for a day of team building activities, intense music and social interaction to really start 2022 with some purpose.


Due to lock downs not much fund raising has occurred for this important fund, however it does continue to support youth players chosen for national representation.


I set some objectives seven years ago and here is the progress on some of them.

Maintain our community band family while also stretching our musical standards
With ages ranging from eight to eighty that spans many generations, this grounds many of us who might take it all too seriously. A true musical highlight was an impressive second placing in the A grade test in Christchurch in July.

Improving our profile with the North Shore business community
We continue to get great support for sponsorship of tables at our Mother’s Day concerts and other gifts of services and product for other fundraising events.

Build on our strengths and our Dromgoole Scholarship fund
One of our strengths is we are a large organsiation – the largest musical organsiation on the North Shore and one of the largest brass bands in New Zealand with 90 members. There have been numerous instances where members and their families have assisted us to continue to prosper.

Strengthen Our Balance Sheet
There has obviously been a pause this year due to many factors but remains on our radar.

Band room repairs

• Replace gutting on the rear of our building – funded by a Local Board grant
• Paint and repair exterior of the band rooms
• Repair bifold doors and louvre windows
• Artwork to liven up the block walls around our band rooms
• New lino in toilets and kitchen area
• New kitchen cabinetry and extraction fan
• CCTV cameras – funded by generous private donation and gifted product


A huge thanks to our hard-working team that keeps your band running – band manager and life member John Sullivan, our new secretary Ruth Lovelock, our treasurer, and life member Rachel Sullivan, committee members, conductors, band members, supporters and sponsors, I thank you for your work, loyalty and effort for the North Shore Brass family in the past year.

Thank you.

Owen Melhuish
August and December 2021