The Dame Malvina Major Foundation offers a range of scholarships to young performers to help them to achieve their dreams. As a trusted charity, the Foundation also manages scholarships and named donations or bequests that support the performing arts on behalf of other trusts and individuals.

Ryman Healthcare DMMF Mina Foley Award

This award, to enable talented New Zealand artists to return home to perform in a professional opera season, was established in 2008 in memory of one of New Zealand’s most promising vocal talents of yesteryear. The soprano, Mina Foley, captivated New Zealand audiences with the quality and technique of her singing in the 1950s. The Foundation has assisted New Zealand Opera to bring back a number of outstanding young artists from the United Kingdom and Europe to perform leading roles. Since 2018, Ryman Healthcare has partnered with the Foundation to sponsor this award.

Award winners

  • Julien Van Mellaerts 2023
  • Bianca Andrew 2021
  • Amitai Pati 2020
  • Holly Mathieson 2019
  • Amelia Berry 2018
  • Jonathan Abernethy 2017
  • James Benjamin Rodgers 2016
  • Rachelle Pike 2015
  • Madeleine Pierard 2014
  • Shaun Dixon 2013
  • Anna Leese 2012
  • Andrew Glover 2011
  • Wade Kernot 2010
  • Wendy Dawn Thompson 2009
  • Ana James 2008

DMMF Scholarship in association with the New Zealand Opera School

This annual scholarship, worth $5,000, is awarded to a student of the New Zealand Opera School, based on their voice and potential observed during their time at the school. It is adjudicated by the New Zealand Opera School’s international and New Zealand tutors.

Scholarship winners

  • Alfred Fonoti-Fuimaono 2024
  • Rhiannon Cooper 2023
  • Emmanuel Fonoti-Fuimaono 2022

Cecily Maccoll High Achiever Award - Canterbury

Based on need and talent, this award of up to $1000 is open to young classical instrumental or vocal performers in Canterbury. The award, funded by a legacy from the late Cecily Maccoll, is granted as part of the South Island Arts Excellence Awards. For information on how to apply see South Island Arts Excellence Awards.

Award winners

  • Flautist Anastasia Bell 2023
  • Pianist Samuel Jeon 2022
  • Violinist Rose Light 2021
  • Violinist Thomas Bedggood 2020
  • Conductor Daniel Cooper 2019
  • Baritone Angus Simmons 2018
  • Flautist Matthew Lee 2017
  • The Herzog Klaviertrio 2016
  • UC Christchurch Youth Orchestra 2015
  • Tenor Harry Grigg 2014
  • Cellist Catherine Kwak 2013
  • Soprano Aivale Cole 2012

Alice Cole Piano Scholarship - Auckland/Waikato

The Auckland & Waikato Committee awards a scholarship of $1000 annually to a young pianist of outstanding ability in the Auckland/Waikato region. The scholarship, funded by a legacy from the late Alice Cole, is available to piano students between the ages of 14 and 21 (on 1 February).

Applicants are closed for 2022.

For more information email Susan Smith (DMMF Auckland/Waikato Committee).

Alice Cole Piano Scholarship winners

  • Yuzhang Wu, runner up Madeleine Xiao 2022
  • Sunny Lee, runner up Audrey Guo 2020
  • Ashani Waidyatillake and Jessica Chi 2019
  • Siyu Sun 2018
  • Tony Chen 2017
  • Leon Chen 2016
  • Arnold Lee 2015
  • Lucy Zeng 2013
  • Jason Bae 2012
  • Sylvia Chen 2011
  • Lawrence Wong 2010

Peter Lees-Jeffries Memorial Award

Set up in honour of Christchurch theatrical designer and teacher Peter Lees-Jeffries, an occasional scholarship of up to $2,500 is awarded to support the professional development of young New Zealand designers and directors. If you have a project that could benefit from this type of support, please contact us for more information.

Award winners

  • Waitahi Aniwaniwa McGee, director 2023
  • Nino Raphael, director 2022
  • Antonia Kamu, director 2021
  • Abigail Boyle, ballet dancer 2019
  • Jacqueline Coats, opera director 2018
  • Kate Middleton-Olliver 2015
  • Jessica Verryt 2012
  • Andrew McKenzie 2010
  • Hedda Oosterhoff 2009

“It has been a real privilege to undertake this professional secondment to Opera Australia. Being allowed inside their doors has opened my eyes to a whole new world of opera”

Kate Middleton-Olliver

Maxwell Fernie Dame Malvina Major Foundation Award

The Maxwell Fernie Dame Malvina Major Foundation Award honours the memory of acclaimed New Zealand organist, conductor and teacher, Maxwell Fernie. The annual award is to support young keyboard artists to further their education or training in the organ. The award is managed through the Maxwell Fernie Trust by the Dame Malvina Major Foundation. If you have a project that could benefit from this type of support, please contact us for more information.

Award winners

  • Zosia Herlihy-O’Brien 2023
  • William McElwee 2021

Italian for New Zealand Opera Singers Masterclasses

For several years the Foundation has granted  scholarships to enable young singers to take part in Patricia Hurley’s Italian for NZ Opera Singers Masterclasses in Italy, offering  language lessons, vocal tuition and an introduction to Italian culture as well as performances opportunities.

Scholarship winners

  • Pasquale Orchard, Joel Amosa, Stephen Diaz, Timothy Carpenter 2019
  • Joanna Foote, Elisabeth Harris, Harry Grigg, Ben Reason 2018
  • Natasha Wilson, Marlena Devoe, Jonathan Eyers 2017
  • Eliza Boom, Katherine McIndoe, Kieran Rayner, Oliver Sewell 2016
  • Madison Nonoa, Jarvis Dams 2015
  • Christie Cook, Daniel O’Connor, Julien Van Mellaerts 2014
  • Moses Mackay, Polly Ott 2013
  • Carleen Ebbs, Claire Egan, Tavis Gravatt 2012

“I found the whole process of studying Italian, rehearsing the concert repertoire and learning about the Italian culture to be absolutely pivotal in my development as a young singer.”

Jarvis Dams

Sir Howard Morrison VocalScholarship

Sir Owen Glenn and The Glenn Family Trust in collaboration with the Dame Malvina Major Foundation endowed a vocal performance scholarship in recognition of the late Sir Howard Morrison’s unique talent. The scholarship was administered by the Dame Malvina Major Foundation and awarded a to a New Zealand performer of exceptional potential aged between 16 and 32 years of age. The final year of the scholarship was in 2019.

Scholarship winners

  • Hannah Bryant 2019
  • Pasquale Orchard 2018
  • Blaire White 2016
  • Madison Nonoa, Jarvis Dams, Joel Amosa 2015
  • Oriana Kershaw 2013, 2014
  • Amina Edris 2012, 2011
  • Te Waikamihi Korohina-Ormsby 2010


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