New Zealand has reputable community music programmes and excellent teachers that deliver quality musical tuition resulting in demonstrable increases in social well-being and individual self-worth. Musical instruments are vital to these teachers and programmes’ success and are the necessary tools for participation yet are often under provisioned.

“A student from Papatoetoe East Primary School performs within the 2015 Tironui Music Trust Showcase Concert”. Photo credit photographer Baz Caitcheon

The MHIVC Charitable Trust facilitates the gifting of student string instruments – student to full-size string instruments. We do not purchase instruments for students or programmes, but coordinate the donation of them from private individuals. After we undertake some basic maintenance and equipping, we will on-donate them on to Aotearoa’s community music programmes across the country.

The Trust will further support community music programmes by providing advice on appropriate storage, climate controls, and written agreements between the schools and families in receipt of an instrument.


Generally speaking, student-level string instruments most valuable when they are new and in good condition. With good care they can last for many years and for economic and carbon-friendly purposes, it is advisable to circulate existing instruments in New Zealand, particularly if they’re not being played, and like a winter coat, will serve another child better who needs it.

Also like winter coats, we seek instruments that will engender pride and confidence for the new owner, so are looking for violins, violas, cellos, basses, bows and cases that meet a basic standard of care and will not require significant investment to make them ‘student-ready’.

While some issues may be easily fixed, too many things needing changed could add up to more cost than the instrument is worth. The Trust is committed to providing, at no cost, the basic setup requirements such as bridge, pegs, soundpost, replacement strings and bow rehairs, but is not prepared to resource repairs or rebuilds.

Some guidelines of instruments we wish to attract:


  • Is the body of the instrument in good condition? Minor scratches or chips on the varnish are not serious but cracks or chunks out of the wood may be significant enough to dissuade any repairs. Even beginner instruments should be attractive, and look sturdy and well-made.
  • The fingerboard should be straight, smooth and even.


  • The stick should be straight and not warped nor splintered.
  • The tip and frog should look intact – no chunks missing and well-connected to the bow
  • Lastly, the screw needs to turn easily


  • Does is secure the instrument and bow inside properly? Does the zip go all the way round without getting stuck? Does the buckle work? Are the handle and straps still properly attached?

If you have an instrument (with or without bow and case) you are wanting to donate to the programme, the steps are

  1. Send an email to us at supplying information and some photos of the instrument (front and back), bow and case. Advise your region and if you have any existing affinity to music programmes you wish to support.
  2. We will assess the condition of the instrument(s) and connect you with a community music programme needing instrument(s) such as yours.
  3. We provide a ‘gift statement’ for you to sign that ascertains the instrument is yours to donate.
  4. You and the community music programme organise delivery (which for student level instruments can be couriered).


The Michael Hill International Violin Competition Charitable Trust does not purchase instruments or meet instrument hire costs but instead facilitates the donation of instruments from families and owners where instruments are not being used to programmes where they are needed. We expect that the need for instruments will outstrip what we are able to facilitate, so preference will be given to programmes where there is greatest financial and social need.

Recipient programmes are established and with a track record of success both delivering quality music lessons to students and demonstrating social good. It is important that the recipient has quality storage and instrument provision systems in place to engender trust and confidence for owner-donors. Whilst we envisage primarily supporting existing community music programmes, we welcome requests from private teachers and families demonstrating how an instrument will nurture and transform a particular student.

If you wish to request an instrument(s) for your programme, the steps are

  1. Send an email to us at with a 1000-word description of your programme and explanation of your need. Please advise your region and identify what systems you have in place to oversee the responsible use by students of instruments.
  2. We will facilitate instruments made known to us that we have assessed and prepared as being ‘student-ready’ connect you with an instrument donor when one becomes available.
  3. We provide a ‘gift statement’ to the donor to sign that ascertains the instrument is theirs to donate.
  4. You and the donor organise delivery (which for student level instruments can be couriered), the cost of which are generally met by the programme.