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Return of the Lockwood Aria

Opera soars to new heights with the return of the Lockwood Aria

The country’s premier operatic singing competition is once again being sponsored by New Zealand’s iconic Lockwood Homes. With a legacy going back over seven decades, the Lockwood Aria as the competition is again known, has some of New Zealand’s globally-recognised talent as previous winners.

The event is one of the world’s longest running singing competitions, with Dame Kiri te Kanawa, Malvina Major, Sir Donald McIntyre and Sol3Mio among its alumni. The return of its naming sponsor is something of a homecoming for Lockwood Homes, which has for many years played a central role in supporting the competition.

The prestigious Lockwood Aria singing competition offers life-changing opportunities for aspiring Kiwi and international singers. The event is held over three days in Rotorua and attracts aspiring opera stars who pit themselves against some of Australasia’s best young singers.

Lockwood Aria trustee and spokesperson Lyall Thurston says the organisation is thrilled to have Lockwood back in a sponsorship role. “We’re absolutely delighted. The competition is widely regarded as the premier event on the operatic calendar and it has a history which goes all the way back to 1946. Having Lockwood return is a great fit.”

The 2018 Aria took place just last month, with 22-year old Auckland singer Manase Latu winning the top prize from a field of 43 entrants which included singers from America and Australia.

The competition attracts a high calibre of entrants, judges and conductors, with the music supplied by the Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra. “Latu is in outstanding company and joins multiple Kiwi icons as a winner of an Aria,” says Thurston.

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Lockwood Homes was started in 1951 and has enjoyed a lasting reputation for quality which has made it a top choice for buildings throughout New Zealand and abroad. After sponsoring the Aria for a decade, Lockwood took a seven-year hiatus, but is pleased to return. “We’ve always loved the competition and now we’re excited to be back on board with a 5-year commitment and $100,000 as the naming sponsor. It keeps the award programme in Rotorua where it belongs,” says Andrew La Grouw, Lockwood’s newly-appointed Managing Director.

“For any opera singer, winning a Lockwood Aria is a career highlight,” says Thurston. “Many of our aspiring singers must go overseas to further their careers and an Aria is an ideal springboard, adding prestige and gravitas to the singer along with a substantial cash prize.”

He says the local operatic and broader classical music scene enjoys enduring interest from the public. “With support of generous companies like Lockwood Homes and the recognition which comes with the Lockwood Aria competition, opera continues to enjoy a high public profile with sound support for many productions.”

The Lockwood Aria is a natural fit for the brand, La Grouw adds. “We’ve had a proud association over the years and are pleased to be involved in the further development of the Lockwood Aria.”

For more information on the Lockwood Aria, and to keep up to date with news on the 2019 registrations, visit

About Lockwood Group

Lockwood Group Limited is a family-owned and operated business founded in 1951 with the idea of using New Zealand Radiata Pine in an innovative and distinctive engineered building system. The first Lockwood homes were delivered in 1954 and to date, more than 50,000 buildings have been constructed around the world. The components for every Lockwood building are manufactured in a state-of-the-art production facility in Rotorua, New Zealand to an exacting standard by our team of skilled craftspeople. With patented X Profile construction and solid wood insulated materials, coupled with its low-maintenance qualities, Lockwood buildings are eco-smart and built to last.

Lockwood Group was voted New Zealand’s Most Trusted Building Brand in 2013, 2014 and 2016, and runner up in 2015, 2017 and 2018.


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