GWEN EVANS - REGISTERED MUSIC THERAPIST
Gwen made the journey from Wales at the end of June to join the team at RMTC. She completed her Masters in Music Therapy at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama, London in July 2018 and then spent three months volunteering as a music therapist in Bethlehem, Palestine with children with various disabilities. Gwen’s working week at Raukatauri includes three days at the Centre in Grey Lynn, with the other two days spent running Outreach programmes on Waiheke Island and in Pukekohe. She says:
‘When I saw a position advertised for a music therapist in New Zealand, I jumped at the chance to pursue my dream career on the other side of the world. Undoubtedly, it has been a big move to leave family and friends back in Wales but I could not have been more welcomed and looked after by my Raukatauri whᾱnau. It’s such a joy and pleasure to come into work every day to see all the wonderful clients and their families. I am very much looking forward to the longer summer days for my weekly trip to Waiheke Island, visiting the three schools. I do feel quite smug about getting the Waiheke gig and being the newest member of the team!! There have been plenty of challenges and difficult days, and I’m sure there are plenty more to come, but I rest assured knowing that I am surrounded by a wonderful, supportive team, who always find a way to make me smile!’
ZACH FARR - Student Music Therapist
Zach joined RMTC as a student music therapist from Georgia College and State University in the USA in July. He will be interning with the team through June 2020 and made the move to New Zealand with his new wife Emma. Zach works with clients at our Grey Lynn Centre and in community placements such as Waitakere College, and when he’s not at RMTC he is teaching yoga all over Auckland. Zach says:
‘From the first interaction I had with the team at Raukatauri, I could immediately feel the warmth and integrity that runs through the veins of the Centre. I’m incredibly lucky to be able to do my student placement with such an amazing and diverse team. They’ve been deeply supportive to my wife and me as we’ve made the transition to a new country, and they provide me with such inspiration and wisdom as I deepen my practice in music therapy. But the absolute highlight of my experience here thus far is the wonderful people that I see in sessions from day to day. To be able to witness the growth and joy that arises through the process of music therapy is a true blessing. The practice is one that uplifts the humanity of the person, and the ethos of the Centre supports this aim in such an apparent and effective way.
In addition to the clients and the team, I can feel the extended generous support that the Trust receives, which makes it such an integral and thriving resource. From the instrument supply to the facilities, everything makes for an environment that can effectively nurture the individual and provide the therapists with the tools we need to support our clients.
I’m honoured to be a part of this amazing team, and look forward to watching this all continue to unfold.’
JEZ FRANCIS - REGISTERED MUSIC THERAPIST
Jez is Raukatauri’s latest international arrival, having joined the team from Manchester, United Kingdom in September. He brings terrific experience to the role, having not only trained as a Nordoff-Robbins music therapist in Manchester, but also having worked for the police department there for over 10 years. Jez says:
‘I was very grateful to get the chance to apply for the post at Raukatauri and thrilled to bits to get the job. The centre, their work and approach really resonated with me and is the reason it was easy to make the decision to come over here, despite leaving behind a family and a lifetime of friends and interests.
However, from my first contact with the team I have felt nothing but welcomed and supported. Everybody is so warm, helpful and considerate it has really made the transition easy. I love working with people, and being able to use music to help people of all ages grow and develop is a real privilege. I love the work – it’s the best job in the world, and I’m really looking forward to getting stuck in and doing my bit to help grow the centre and spread the inspiring work that it does.
On a personal level, New Zealand ticks a whole bunch of other boxes as well as I am into music, motorcycling, running and the outdoor life and look forward to the day when I can share that with my wife and children when they come over here.
In short, I have come from the UK to NZ to continue doing the things I love, just with better scenery and weather!’