Opera singer and diva Kiri Te Kanawa is one of our most recognised international performers. Trained by Sister Mary Leo, RSM, Te Kanawa won the prestigious Mobil Song Quest in 1965 and then left New Zealand to study in London; within three years, she was offered a three-year contract as a junior principal at the Royal Opera House Covent Garden. Her warm, vibrant and lyrical voice and her dignified stage presence and beauty made her one of the leading operatic sopranos in the 1970s and 1980s and led to international recognition and many awards. Although she now rarely sings opera, she still performs in concerts and recitals and helps young emerging artists launching their careers through the Kiri Te Kanawa Foundation, which she founded. Her contribution to the arts has been recognised by the NZ honours system and she was made a Member of the Order of New Zealand in 1995.
© 2016 The New Zealand Portrait Gallery Trust