At least she wasn’t buggered by priests

Dame Kiri Te Kanawa has revealed that her toughness, mental or otherwise, comes from being beaten as a child by nuns at the convent school she went to.

“I’m tough … I’m tough because I have had to be. I was beaten by the nuns as a child.

Dame Kiri Te Kanawa’s revelation stunned an audience of several hundred in Whanganui.

The celebrated singer, in the city to teach at the two-week New Zealand Opera School at Wanganui Collegiate, was speaking candidly in a public conversation with fellow international opera performer and Baptist Church minister, Rodney McCann.

“I am as tough as I am today because from age 12, when I was at a convent school in Auckland, I was beaten by the nuns,” Dame Kiri told the audience at the Collegiate auditorium. ??

Dame Kiri, a child with Maori and European ancestry, was adopted as a baby by a Gisborne family and attended at St Mary’s College for Girls to study under acclaimed singing coach Dame Sister Mary Leo.

Dame Sister Mary Leo was a New Zealand nun who was best known for training some of the world’s finest sopranos, including Dame Kiri, Malvina Major, and Heather Begg.

Dame Kiri said that facing the demanding Sister Mary Leo and the ambitions of her mother, who had recognised her remarkable talent, was like “being locked between two tigers”.

“You have to be tough in the opera world or you are not going to make it. Just because you can sing an aria does not make you an opera singer.”

Could have been worse I guess; she could have been buggered by the priests.


– Wanganui Chronicle