Kiwibank Local Hero Award – Te Pou Toku e Te Tau

Two Registered Music Therapists have been awarded Kiwibank Local Hero medals for their work with people living with neurodisability. Each year 100 medallists are selected across New Zealand, as part of the New Zealander of the Year Awards. The Local Hero awards recognise “everyday people doing extraordinary things in their local hapori – communities over the past year”. Nominees are people who have made “a significant contribution to their region, town, suburb, community, iwi, or local group” in any field, or to have overcome personal adversity.


Kimberley Wade’s 2021 medal (presented in 2020) celebrates her work in Canterbury. Kim is the founder of Southern Music Therapy, which provides music therapy sessions for people with disabilities. In 2011 she co-founded the Cantabrainers Choir (launched in 2012) which allows people living with a long- term neurological condition, such as stroke, Parkinson’s disease or traumatic brain injury to sing in a safe, supportive group environment. Kim is passionate about music therapy and has presented her work at symposia and conferences for Music Therapy New Zealand, New Zealand School of Music, and MENZA (Music Education New Zealand Aotearoa). She has also collaborated with Chamber Music NZ and Creative NZ in providing accessible concerts for people with disabilities.

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For more information about Southern Music Therapy (founded 2009), see: and

Kim also coordinates the MThNZ South Island Regional Group.


Image descriptions:

Kimberley Wade’s phot and name on the awards The text reads “New Zealander of the Year Awards 2021 – Kiwibank Local Hero Medallists. We’re celebrating the 100 Kiwibank Local Hero Medallists who have shown dedication to making their hapori- communities a better place through hard mahi and enormous contribution. They come from all walks of life and they spread light around the country. They’re our everyday heroes doing good work every day. Kimberley Wade – 2020 Kiwibank New Zealand Local Hero of the Year.: The photo shows Kim smiling at the camera.


In the previous awards round Alison Talmage was awarded a medal for her work since 2009 with the CeleBRation Choir, a therapeutic community singing group for adults living with a neurological condition. She has also established the Sing Up Rodney community music therapy groups in Ōrewa and Warkworth. Alison is a doctoral student in the University of Auckland’s School of Music and Centre for Brain Research, and Editor of the NZ Journal of Music Therapy.

Image descriptions:

Formal photo from Alison’s awards night. Four people are standing and smiling at the camera – Professor Suzanne Purdy (Alison’s supervisor), Alison Talmage, David Talmage, and CeleBRation Choir member Elizabeth