Winners of the 2019 Caritas SINGout4JUSTICE song writing competition have been announced from more than 82 students from throughout New Zealand.

This annual competition provides a platform for intermediate and secondary school students to share concerns on issues of importance to them through the medium of song. Each winner also receives $500 in prizes that will contribute to their musical development.

The theme for this year was “Home for Good”, linking in with the Caritas 2019 resource focus of South Sudan and the issue of displacement and the challenges faced by millions around the world who have no home.

Sina Finau

Junior winner for 2019 is Sina Finau of year 8 at Campion College in Gisborne, whose song, “Lifeline”, captured the judges with its skilful guitar work and catchy drum harmonies, emphasising the song’s message. Of her entry, Sina said, “my song is about the struggle that South Sudan is going through. Hopefully everyone [who] listens will be able to hear l[of] what they are going through and that we need to pay closer attention to this”.

Aretha Mason, Sian Pegler, Cayen Tan-Vegafria and Elena Grasso of Year 11 at Sacred Heart College in Lower Hutt took out the senior prize with their gentle melodic song, “Stars”, praised by the judges for its spectacular vocals, slick production, and nice layering of instruments, ensuring a catchy and memorable song.

Aretha Mason, Sian Pegler, Cayen Tan-Vegafria and Elena Grasso, Year 11 students at Sacred Heart College in Lower Hutt

In their song, these students reflected on how the loss of home can threaten your sense of identity and any semblance of hope. “We discussed what home really means . . . home was where we were born and where we grew up and how we grew up watching the stars in the sky during the night . . . home is the constant feeling of happiness . . .”.

Caritas director Julianne Hickey said: “We have been moved and quite inspired by our entries this year. Our winners have captured a real sense of the hardship and challenges of displacement, while at the same time displaying remarkable writing and musical talent. We had an exceptionally high quality of entry this year, and I encourage all who haven’t already, to visit the website (caritas.org.nz/singout4justice) to listen to the winning recordings.”

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