Regional | Performing Arts

Pasifika siblings to represent Aotearoa at world championships of performing arts


The 45 Black Stars from Aotearoa are to compete within various sections at the World Championships of Performing Arts this July.

One of them, Maretta Brown, who will be competing in the vocal section, is excited to take on the world's best.

“This is an international competition, it’s almost like an Olympic sport for performing arts. There are going to be musicians, actors, instrumentalists, and all kinds of people from around the world will be coming there.

Brown's brother Psalms Vaotuua is also competing.

"He’ll be the only drummer representing New Zealand and it will be his first time going overseas," she says.

New Zealand will be taking a team of 45, with the siblings part of the touring crew.

Having played since age three, 14-year-old drumming prodigy Psalms gives credit for his talent to his idol.

Musical family

“It’s a drummer called Aaron Spears. He’s a gospel drummer and I’ve watched him ever since I was a kid. I’ve always wanted to be like him because I’ve always loved his playing style," he says.

The brother and sister come from a music-influenced family where all seven siblings sing and play instruments.

Brown's singing ability was noticed at Auckland’s Stand Up Stand Out competition, with Vaotuua's drumming skills were heard at the Smokefree Tangata Beats competition.

Mother Teuila Vaotuua, a singer herself, says she is beyond proud of her two children.

“My husband is a musician and I am a singer. We mainly use it in our church space. It’s something that we have shared with the children.

Now they’ve gone on their own paths, so to see them shine in their own light is a lovely feeling,” she says.


The competition has been running for 25 years, with the judging panel having representatives across all performing sectors.

Music composer Steven Dorff who has written for Whitney Houston and Troy Laureta, a music director who’s worked with the likes of Ariana Grande, will be scoring artists from all over the globe.

The siblings aim to compete for gold and are looking to raise $15,000 to cover costs.

“The funds we are fundraising for will go towards things such as airfares, accommodation, taxes, and other expenses as well.

That and being the two of us. it’s a lot of money to raise on our own, so we’ve put up a give a little page,” Brown says.

For more information about their journey please visit their website