WOSOSI members come from a variety of backgrounds – musical and otherwise!.

We are passionate about and committed to learning and sharing world song. We entertain and engage with our audiences and raise people's spirits.

Whakawhanaungatanga is important to us, we enjoy each others company and having a laugh.


Member stories
Below, you will find personal accounts from some members about what being a WOSOSI-ites means to them.


Roy: I encourage men of all ages...  

I joined this lively group of singers in 2019. Pam Hughes, our creative song leader, encourages us to pay attention to meanings in the lyrics and trust the potential in our voices. The joy of singing ‘a cappella’ binds us together in harmony.

Throughout childhood I trained as a boy soprano. When performing in competitions and concerts in Auckland I gained a real appreciation of classical music. I learnt ‘voice production’ but did not learn how to ‘be myself’ in each song. Singing in various ‘formal’ choirs as an adult expanded my tenor voice, but the focus on perfection meant I could not relax easily into the music.

Wososi offers the opportunity to use our natural voices, our own interpretation of the songs and the freedom that comes from listening carefully to those singing around us. World music is alive with energy that comes from singing ‘in community’. It reflects the hopes, dreams and struggles that are part of everyday life. During each Wososi rehearsal and concert we give voice to what makes life real for people around the world. We sing waiata which lie at the heart of life in Aotearoa and enjoy songs which highlight many cultures we welcome into this land. Our music includes some classical compositions and works that touch spirituality.

I’m in my senior years but I encourage men of all ages to discover whether Wososi might be as life enhancing as it is for me. Whilst a degree of commitment is expected there is excellent learning support and plenty of time to become comfortable singing each song. Participation is the key, for Wososi singers and for our appreciative audiences who often sing with us.

Erica: How WOSOSI is different to other choirs

I knew WOSOSI was the choir for me after going to their public Sing with WOSOSI workshop.

WOSOSI is a small, energetic bunch and I immediately recognised that they're different to any other choir I'd been a part of. There's less emphasis about singing the right notes and more about singing with the choir as a whole — feeding off each other’s energy to blend and resonate beautifully. It feels effortless to memorise songs this way, rather than clutching music books and ruffling paper.

I've learnt more songs in the 6 months I've been with WOSOSI than with any other choir. And I've got to know the most welcoming group of people while being part of an enriching community.

Spencer: What it's like to be a member of WOSOSI

I’ve been singing in various choirs for over twenty years and found Wososi to be unlike any other choir I have sung in, because it’s small, informal, friendly, forgiving, democratic, egalitarian and flexible.  Rehearsals are both an enjoyable social time as well as an intense musical experience.  In larger choirs people come together just to sing, and we don’t really get to know the other singers very much.  Larger choirs can also be very formal, especially around the time of performances where the imperative can be to make a profit.  Wososi people sing together just for the fun of it.

Wososi is a group of natural singers with varied musical backgrounds.  The key ability we each need to have is to sing in harmony, in close proximity to one another.  Continually listening to and adjusting for the blend of voices is essential.  Singing in harmony is a mental exercise a bit like rowing in an eight, where the outcome is only good if all are ‘in tune’ with one another – it is a very focused, very ‘here and now’ experience.  At the same time there can be flexibility in producing harmonies – I like to improvise, and some of the songs in the choir’s repertoire enable that enriching of harmonies. 

In Wososi we have two leaders sharing the musical director role, who otherwise sing with the rest of us.  This enhances our learning and shared understanding of the music we sing and how we sing it.  As in many choirs, there are more women than men. But the men don’t feel like they’re a minority – we are all there to contribute our voices.  We also range in age from twenties to seventies, but that is unimportant. The sense of community is palpable! We call it whanaungatanga.


Ara: Long time member of Wososi

I loved singing in the choir when I was at primary school, we sang in resthomes, on the radio - 4YA - and took part in a massed choir event every year. It was the harmonies that got me and the challenge of learning new songs with the good feeling that comes when a new song comes together.

So when my friend Suzi asked if I’d be interested in joining Bert’s choir - Wellington World Choir more than 16 years ago I didn’t hesitate and immediately felt the joy I had experienced all those years ago. No matter how tired I felt after a day’s work, an evening of singing together always left me feeling energised and uplifted. It still does.

Bert gave us a strong kaupapa from which to sing, with a focus on presence and connection with each other and the qualities of the songs we were singing. Rehearsals were a whole body and mind workout as well as the music. "Singing from the soles of our feet" was the way he put it and learning without sheet music or words on paper has given me a body full of songs that I can recall with a thought and some of the old ones pop up in the shower or on the road sometimes.

Wososi has evolved over the years with people changing over time and, while we still contain that essence we began with, we are reaching new heights in our musicality and performance with the strong direction of Pam and Naomi, the work that goes on behind the scenes with practice recordings, bringing new songs into our repertoire and planning performances. We each have our own personal commitment and willingness to find our voice together.