Tutor of rising stars

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Music teacher Peter Cairns has had a string of New Zealand Gold Guitar Award winners under his tutelage over the years – the list includes this year’s senior overall winner Jenny Mitchell.

Mr Cairns won the overall title in 1984 and he had the distinction of being the first “local” winner.

Since then, he has diversified into myriad entertainment fields, including being involved in musical theatre, being in the awards backing band and performing.

Mr Cairns has trained five overall senior winners including Ms Mitchell, Kayla Mahon, Lana McKay, his daughter Taylor and Helen Goodwin.

Then he had tutored three intermediate winners in Jenny Mitchell, Kayla Mahon and Taylor Cairns.

Junior winners were Anna Macdonald, her sister Kristen, and Beth Walker.

“I’ve had lots of kids in the finals, and section winners over the years,” Mr Cairns said.

“It’s quite a buzz seeing them get up there.”

The awards are a family passion for Mr Cairns, his wife Shona Hewlett and their three children.

“At one stage, four generations were involved either competing or behind scenes.”

Ms Hewlett’s mother Margaret was involved as well as the couple and their children, he said.

Now, Mr Cairns has grandchildren involved in the event.

He believes the winning of the senior awards title opens the door to a higher entertainment level for winners.

“It’s like getting a degree to some extent. It puts you in different category.”