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Source: New Zealand School of Music

The New Zealand School of Music—Te Kōkī has appointed jazz performer/composer and film composer Andrew Faleatua as the 2024 NZSM/Creative New Zealand Jazz Composer-in-Residence. This six-month position, funded by a Creative New Zealand grant, provides a composer with a salary and research grant to develop a significant album of new work.

After completing a Masters in jazz piano at the University of Auckland, Andrew moved to Sydney, where he completed a PhD at the University of Sydney, focusing on interdisciplinary work in ethnomusicology and composition. Most recently, he has been a visiting fellow at the University of Huddersfield.

Andrew has starred as a pianist with Maisey Rika and Jordyn Rapana, and worked as a composer/arranger, including composing the music for the films Song of Sina, Behind Tomorrow, and Fo’i Mai Pepe.

Andrew will be based in Wellington during the period of his residency, where he will work closely with members of the Wellington jazz community, as well as staff and students of the NZSM’s Jazz Performance and Composition programmes. He plans to explore the fusion of music of the Pacific Islands with the jazz tradition, including potential new musical collaborations with the Pacific communities of Wellington. In particular, he is interested in how traditional instruments such as fagufagu (Samoan nose flute) and pū (conch shell) could be integrated into a jazz context. He also plans to work with localtaonga puoro players to find further points of musical connection.

“To spend six months solely dedicated to making music with local talent is a dream,” says Andrew. “I cannot wait to get into the rehearsal room with university staff, students, and the wider jazz community to materialise musical ideas that have been brewing for quite some time.”

NZSM residency coordinator Associate Professor Michael Norris says, “We had a number of very high-quality applicants for this position, showing the breadth and depth of talent in jazz composition in Aotearoa.

“Andrew’s application was particularly notable for the way it promises to develop new cultural practices that emerge from a point of contact between jazz and traditional music of the Pacific, but coming from a standpoint of deep understanding and engagement. We look forward to welcoming Andrew into the Wellington jazz and composing community later this year.”


Andrew is a music educator, film composer, and jazz pianist. His commitment to teaching music is driven by a desire to help others discover their unique musical voice.

His research interests lie in the music of Pasifika peoples. He is interested in how notions of cultural authenticity and identity affect compositional decision making, particularly in collaborative settings. He is currently a visiting fellow at the University of Huddersfield, delivering guest lectures to undergraduate and postgraduate students on his doctoral research and a short film he recently directed.

Alongside teaching and research, he has a firm footing in the music industry. With four film scores ($4m+ global box office sales) and ongoing movie and television commissions, he is building a strong international presence as a composer in the film industry.

In addition to composing, he regularly performs as a piano accompanist, including supporting various established local artists in Aotearoa, such as Maisey Rika.