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17-year-old Sonatane Kaufusi takes passion to the stage at Zeal Hamilton

In May, 17 year old Sonatane Kaufusi, an up and coming singer / songwriter, took the stage at Zeal Hamilton in a completely youth-led event.

The Year 13 Manurewa High School student plays the trombone, bass, guitar and piano, singing and writing his own music. He won both Stand Up Stand Out and the Smokefree Rockquest solo / duo category in 2017. Sonatane’s debut single, Birdie, is #1 in the NZ Spotify top 50.

Sonatane is usually shy, but having a guitar in his hands boosts his confidence. “It just gives me something where I can just express my feelings, without being judged, because everyone loves music,” he says.

Over 50 people came out to see Sonatane perform, with 10 Zeal interns / youth running the event on the night.

“The best part to see was the youth participation,” says Jason, Zeal Hamilton intern. “Young people running the cafe, training others in barista, serving coffee, running the sound.”

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“Young people are their own agents of change and ultimately it’s up to the young person to seek that out for themselves when they are ready. The best thing we can do is journey alongside them and inspire them to expect and seek out better and bigger things for themselves.”

“I sat down with Zeal’s CEO last week and explained how amazing it is to have a team of volunteers who show up week after week and create an authentic sense of belonging on the streets.”