| About Us

Opera in the Pa is a NZ Tourism Award winning event which has been successfully producing Opera in the Pa for 15 years, and is supported by an enthusiastic team of trustees and volunteers, many who have dedicated their time and skills for several years.

Opera in the Pa celebrates and helps nurture leading as well as up and coming Maori and Pacific Island classical singers in New Zealand, by giving them a platform to perform their musical craft and talents, and provides an event where all community can celebrate and embrace not only classical music, but also Maori waiata and te reo Maori.

Concert goers have included the local Rotorua community, as well as overseas tourists and visitors from surrounding areas including Auckland, Wellington, Tauranga, Taupo and the Hawkes Bay. Dignitaries have included the governor General of NZ Dame Kath Tizard, Prime Minister Helen Clarke, overseas diplomats, local Mayors, and Politicians.

Scholarships have been awarded to young Rotorua singers who have participated in the event. Past events have successfully nurtured new talent – Philip Rhodes and Kawiti Waetford both had their first public exposure with Opera in the Pa, and have gone on to become internationally recognised opera stars.

The 2019 artists contracted are testament to the established stature of this event which is recognised in New Zealand opera and classical music circles as an important stage for young performers to launch their careers.

On February 6th, 2019, Opera in the Pa will be held to also celebrate Waitangi Day.

This will be the only public event in Rotorua celebrating Waitangi Day; it will be a multi-cultural celebration, and celebrating Rotorua’s bi-lingual status.

Past Events

2015 – 21st March – Opera in the Pa honoured the brave men of the famous World War I Maori Pioneer Battalion – A review and video can be found here.

2015 – Listen to the interview with Robert Wiremu, the 2015 Opera in the Pa Musical Director on Radio NZ here.


Opera in the Pa concert held for veterans of the 28th Maori Battalion and their families at Rotowhio Marae in Whakarewarewa, Rotorua. Programme details and more information can be found here.



Held at Tamatekapua Meeting House, Ohinemutu Rotorua. Situated on the shores of lake Rotorua and nestled among the geothermal activity this venue provided another fun-packed evening of opera, jazz, blues and much more. 
Ben Makisi returned from overseas to participate, along with other leading NZ opera singers such as Kate Spence, Philip Rhodes, Greg Patel, Brandan Pou and Temua Brenan.







The third annual Opera in the Pa, at Rotowhio Marae, Rotorua, showcasing young Maori talent, featuring Todd Mohi, Natasha Burton, Mere Boynton and the youngest singer, Ruakiri Fairhall.


The second Opera in the Pa concert takes place in front of the meeting-house at Whakarewarewa, Rotorua, showcasing Maori singing talent.


Opera In The Pa, a world first, at Ngati Rotowhio Pa, Rotorua.