James Faraimo, Chairman
James Faraimo, Chairman

Kia Ora, Taloha Ni, Nisa Bula Vinaka, Talofa lava, Malo I lelei, Kia Orana

James describes his three year involvement with Virtuoso Strings as challenging, joyful, and rewarding.

Born in Porirua, James raised his own family in the area which resulted in having two of his children benefit from the free music programme. His son, Toloa, is now the orchestra's concertmaster. In James' own words, he feels "privileged to be involved in a Trust that provides a transformative music programme to the youth in our community".

Associate Professor Hon. Luamanuvao Dame Winnie Laban QSM, DNZM joined the Virtuoso Strings board of Trustees in 2019. She brings a wealth of experience in governance and executive leadership from her many years in the highest offices of government.

In 2018 she was made a Dame Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit (DCNZ) for her services to education and the Pacific Community. Her chiefly title of Luamanuvao was bestowed from the village of Vaiala in Samoa in acknowledgement of her work.

As a widely respected advocate for women, community, Pasifika and youth, the Virtuoso Strings Board is extraordinarily fortunate to reap the benefit of Luamanuvao’s wisdom, experience, connections and guidance.

Luamanuvao Dame Winnie Laban, Trustee
Luamanuvao Dame Winnie Laban, Trustee

Dr. Elizabeth Sneyd QSM. Founder & Trustee
Dr. Elizabeth Sneyd QSM. Founder & Trustee

Liz and husband Craig Utting started the Music Learning Centre from their home in Tawa in 2006, and quickly discovered a very musically-talented Samoan family.  In 2013 they started teaching in schools in East Porirua and equally quickly realised that their many incredibly talented students there.

Liz co-founded the Trust in 2013 and has gone from strength to strength. For several years we also had a violin shop in our house, but our interest in that has lapsed, and we've donated all the stock to the Virtuoso Strings Charitable Trust.

In 2019 Liz was awarded the Vodafone music teacher of the year which was presented by Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern.

After living for nearly 50 years in Asia, Bob Barton retired to New Zealand in 2009. Bob sees Virtuoso Strings as an organisation that, through the discipline and delight of music, aims to build self-confidence and create new options for young people from under-privileged backgrounds, a cause which he believes can contribute to the improvement of lives as well as strengthening the social fabric.

Bobs business acumen and international relationship experience is shaping how we partner with a strategic lens.

Bob Barton, Trustee
Bob Barton, Trustee

Paul Setefano, Trustee
Paul Setefano, Trustee

Paul has worked over twenty years in IT Leadership roles for both the public and private sector. His experience in digital, innovation, strategy and risk management compliments the skills of his board peers. His sense of service and community is evidenced not only through his VSO involvement but also being active in his church, helping with an annual leukemia charity fundraiser and collecting for Mary Potter Hospice. He is also a fifteen year veteran Firefighter with the Porirua Volunteer Fire Brigade.

"I love that Maori and Pasifika kids through their enjoyment of learning and performing classical music are changing the world"