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Two musical Kiwis take on Australia

Two musical Kiwis take on Australia for top AUD$50,000

NESCAFÉ Big Break prize!

Two talented young Kiwis with diverse musical dreams have beaten 4000 trans-Tasman entrants to each scoop a AUD$25,000 Big Break.

Fired by their passions, Renée-Louise Carafice and Rochelle Bright took on 13 other Kiwi and Australian finalists in this year's NESCAFÉ Big Break programme, which helps 16 to 24 year olds kick start their big idea or dream. They will now go forward to compete for the major total prize of AUD$50, 000.

Renée-Louise's desire is to produce an album with her band Operation to help improve people's understanding of mental illness through music and she says the $25,000 will help turn her life around and achieve her dreams.

"I'm absolutely blown away that NESCAFÉ Big Break believes in me and my project. This is the beginning of my creative future!" she says.

Operation was formed only eight months after Renée-Louise was released from Te Whetu Tawera, Auckland's mental health institution. She has performed with some of New Zealand's top musicians including Goldenhorse, Anika Moa and Pluto and through her music hopes to tell an inspiring story of her battle with mental illness.

At the other end of the musical spectrum Rochelle Bright's passion is graduate musical theatre writing and she is the first New Zealander to be accepted to study in this field at the prestigious Tisch School of Arts in New York.

"I have been awarded with the Deans Fellowship (NYU) which will cover my tuition costs but without NESCAFÉ Big Break I wouldn't have been able to study for the full term. This money is a dream come true! I just can't believe it," she says.

The inspirational young Kiwi from Freemans Bay has worked as a composer and playwright for many years but has come to realise that very few musicals are being produced in New Zealand and no one specialises in this genre.

Renée-Louise and Rochelle now join four Australians to vie for the major AUD$50,000 prize.

Since launching in New Zealand in 2000, NESCAFÉ Big Break has given over $190,000 to more than 20 young Kiwis in areas as diverse as technology, the arts, business, sport, fashion, design and agriculture.

Two other New Zealand finalists travelled to Sydney with Renée-Louise and Rochelle this week to present their ideas to a judging panel that included past NESCAFÉ Big Break winners.

Kiwi finalist Ben Griffin's dream is to win a gold medal in alpine skiing at the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics while Corban Wall's ambition is to start a national portable skate park business. Both take away AUD$5000 which will go a long way to helping them achieve their goals.

The New Zealand public can get involved and show its support by voting to help one of the AUD$25,000 winners take their total prize winnings to AUD$50,000 when online voting opens September 12th.

Voters will also have a chance to win prizes for themselves. Public voting closes October 12th and the NESCAFÉ Big Break $50,000 winner will be announced Friday October 28th.

For more information on NESCAFÉ Big Break, check out or call the hotline on 0800 430 043.


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