Our history

Read about the history of Te Kōkī New Zealand School of Music.

The establishment of Te Kōkī New Zealand School of Music (NZSM) in 2006 marked the beginning of a new era for tertiary music study in New Zealand. Te Kōkī (a reference to the 'Dawn Chorus') was chosen as the School’s Māori name, as a symbol of new beginnings evoked through musical sound.

NZSM was set up as a joint venture of Massey University and Victoria University of Wellington, combining the strengths of the former Conservatorium of Music at Massey, and Victoria University of Wellington’s School of Music. As a Limited Liability Company with two equal shareholders, NZSM was governed by a Board of Directors.

NZSM was immediately able to offer a full range of study across all traditional instruments and voice in classical performance, while also continuing the long-standing strength in jazz performance associated with the former Massey Conservatorium and the dominance in composition and academic study associated with the former School of Music. The range and quality of musical disciplines encompassed by the new School made it distinctive in New Zealand.

The merger provided the opportunity to create innovative new music programmes that crossed traditional disciplinary boundaries. NZSM also expanded on traditional strengths in historical research, allowing an outstanding representation of scholarly expertise across multiple fields including musicology, opera studies, jazz, ethnomusicology, music and film, baroque and classical performance practice, contemporary performance, music technology, and electronic music.

NZSM also established the only Music Therapy programme in New Zealand. This enabled the development of a new area of research and a new profession of increasing importance to special education and the health industries.

On 1 July 2014, the School transitioned to full Victoria University of Wellington ownership.