Services to music, in its many forms, led to several 2022 New Year’s Honours being announced on the very last day of 2021.
Jazz trombonist, big band leader, jazz educator, arranger, producer, musical director and lecturer, Rodger Fox is perhaps best known for his own-named Big Band, which will itself celebrate a 50th anniversary in 2022. Previously awarded an ONZM, he remains an active performer having played alongside a broad range of nationally and internationally renowned names from the jazz and entertainment worlds. Rodger has recorded 44 albums over the course of his career, and is a five-time Jazz Tūī award winner. He was senior tutor at Massey University from 2000 – 2011 and senior lecturer at Victoria University of Wellington from 2011, and has delivered numerous international workshops and masterclasses. He has been artistic director of the Queen’s Birthday Jazz Festival, the Napier Jazz Festival, and the Manawatu International Jazz and Blues Festival for many years.
Campbell Smith founded CRS Music Management in 1995 and has been a long-term contributor to the local music industry. His advocacy for musicians’ rights contributed to RIANZ establishing the Recording Artists and Producers Fund, which has seen millions of dollars paid to local artists as a share of broadcast royalties. In 2005 he was appointed CEO of the organisation (since re-named as Recorded Music NZ), and played a significant role in the revamp of the NZ Music Awards. He produced Auckland’s annual Big Day Out festival from 2004, launched the annual Winery Tour series in 2007, and has developed and produced other large scale events including Auckland City Limits and the Western Springs Outer Fields concert series. In 2003 he co-founded the Raukatauri Music Therapy Trust and was chair until 2010, moving on to help establish and chair MusicHelps until 2021. MusicHelps has to date distributed more than $1 million to entities that use music to improve the lives of Kiwis in need, or the provision of emergency support to members of the music community.
John Rosser has been involved with choral music nationally and internationally as a singer, conductor, artistic director and governor since 1979. He founded chamber choir Viva Voce in 1985 and remains its conductor. He was associate conductor and chorus director for NZ Opera and its predecessor between 1996 and 2018, preparing more than 60 operas and conducting five. He chaired the NZ Choral Federation (NZCF) for 10 years between 2006 and 2020, and was appointed to the board of the International Federation for Choral Music in 2020.
Gillian Gordon has contributed to NZ musical theatre through the Wellington Gilbert and Sullivan Light Opera Society for 50 years as a performing member, society president and through directing and organising numerous performances. Her commitment to the Wellington society has been a key factor in navigating financial difficulties on several occasions, donating her own money, managing grant applications and sourcing donations to ensure the society’s progression.
Margery Pita was an original band member of the Māori Volcanics Showband, established in 1964, who went on to perform Māori and Polynesian song and dance in 53 countries over 40 years. The Māori Volcanics performed for the troops stationed in Vietnam for several years. They entertained in several army bases throughout the Middle East, Europe and UK. She was also a member of The Polynesian Trio and can sing in several languages. The Māori Volcanics Showband were part of the Unsung Heroes television series for their contribution to the music industry in NZ, and Mrs Pita was recipient of the Waiata Māori Music Awards in 2011 for her lifetime contribution to music.
Aart Brusse has been contributing to music since 1968 as a teacher, director and musician. Mr Brusse taught at Tokomairiro High School between 1968 and 1972, conducting the Milton Municipal Brass Band and assisting in local musicals as director. He was Head of Music at Bayfield High School between 1972 and 2009, developing the school orchestra, choir and the jazz band to support the annual Secondary Schools Music Festival. He rehearsed many groups for the Chamber Music NZ competition and co-ordinated regular courses for professional development. He was conductor for the Central Otago Regional Orchestra between 2012 and 2018. Mr Brusse has been tutoring at the University of Otago’s Music Department for five years and has been a member of the medieval group Rare Byrds since 2009.