About Us

North Shore Brass is one of New Zealand’s most active community bands as it has four bands that perform in competitions, local events, parades, civic events plus a regular concert series including a cabaret style concert – Music For Our Mothers, and a highly popular Christmas @ Holy Trinity combined with Westlake Girls High School at Holy Trinity Cathedral Parnell.

The lead band is an A grade band that competes successfully in our national contest each year – it is currently ranked second in New Zealand’s highly competitive A grade and is the champion band of Auckland.

The band is fortunate to receive some support from the Devonport Takapuna Local Board, part of Auckland Council, and this support began at the band’s formation in 1923 and recognises the civic duties across the area as well as to entertain and providing live music. The band’s name has evolved over the years as the area moved from a borough to a city and finally part of the super city of Auckland.

With over 100 musicians involved in our organisation we are the largest musical group on the North Shore by participation and a diverse membership from Hong Kong, Malaysia, China, Taiwan, South Africa, Britain, Macedonia, Tonga, Samoa as well as Māori.

Picture1Academy members perform a duet at a recent concert

 Picture2 – Takapuna Youth Brass in concert

North Shore Brass Academy

Formed in 2013 this group was soon meeting an unmet need in our community for quality teaching and banding in general as it attracted returning adults as well a raft of students from local schools. It now has three levels of bands:

  1. North Shore Brass Academy Band – An invitation only band of mainly students – it is the current champion D grade band for New Zealand. Most recently it was promoted to the C grade.
  2. North Shore Brass Academy Community Band – an all-comers band that attracts adults and students from our youth band.
  3. Takapuna Youth Brass – the 2019 champion youth brass band of New Zealand has students from local schools that wish to play in a dedicated brass band.

Percussion classes are also taken each week with expert tutor Jenny Raven (Auckland Philharmonic Orchestra)

In 2019 we were very proud as the principal cornet of the Academy Band, Liam Wright, was awarded New Zealand Junior Champion of Champions at age 15 years. By playing in the “top” seat we gave him some leadership experience that helped him in his confidence at competition time. Since 2019 he has won the same title three times in a row.

There are now over 100 musicians through our band rooms on band nights, aged from eight to eighty with many families involved – mum and son, grandfather, and grandson.

This part of our organisation is experiencing an un-precedented growth and success as it has allowed musicians of all levels to be involved.

Picture 5Our Academy Band at Band Camp

Picture4Liam Wright NZ Junior Champion of Champions


The band is an incorporated society and a registered charity. It relies on donations, grants, subscriptions, band room rental and concert income for all its income. All this is managed by our volunteers who form our committee of eight people. Committee members come from a broad spectrum – students, business owners, accountants, engineers, professional musicians and so have broad expertise in business as well as in musical fields.

North Shore Brass is very fortunate to have world class band rooms. Called the Taharoto Community Facility it allows us to hire out half the facility for many community groups & churches.


The band has hosted Harmen Vanhoorne from Belgium each July since 2015 to perform with the band at competitions, concerts and teach our senior and student musicians.

He has fallen in love with New Zealand and moved to our country from Belgium in early 2020 under a talent Visa arrangement with Immigration NZ.

He is a world class musician, conductor, trainer, teacher, and player. He is regarded as a virtuoso cornet player and until recently sat on the principal cornet of our A grade band (the leader of the band – music like an orchestra). He took over the baton and is now the Director of Music for North Shore Brass. In 2020 he was also appointed as principal cornet (Leader) of the National Band of New Zealand. Harmen works at high schools and intermediates in Auckland teaching individuals, bands and small groups as well as a private tuition business.

Picture 4 Director of Music Harmen Vanhoorne

Picture 3
The Academy Band competing in Wellington where it won the NZ D grade section

Picture 2
Christmas @ Holy Trinity is our most popular concert held in the enchanting Holy Trinity Cathedral Parnell and includes the Cantare Choir from Westlake Girls High School.

Picture 1
North Shore Brass recently competing in the NZ Brass Band Championships and won the “Own Choice” and was placed second overall in New Zealand.