Our Team

current mentors

Marcus Powell


Marcus is the founder and Chief Executive Officer of the Crescendo Trust of Aotearoa (CTOA).
In 2014 Marcus was a recipient of the Vodafone New Zealand Foundation's World of Difference Award which was then extended for a further three years. He was also nominated for the prestigious "New Zealander of the Year" award in 2014.

In 2016 Marcus helped build and launch Rawkus radio, a radio station lead by the youth for the youth.

An original band member of the multi-platinum band Blindspott which formed in 1997, Marcus recently reformed the band under the name Blacklistt. In September 2013 Blacklistt debuted at number one and won “Best Rock Album" at the 2014 Vodafone Music Awards. His latest project is CIty Of Souls

Marcus is a qualified Audio Engineer, holds a diploma of Business Studies and has completed the following:
Praxis Certificate for Response Ability Pathways. The Circle of Courage
Health Promotion Agency - Smashed ‘N Stoned Training
Abacus Certificate in Intervening in Alcohol and other Drug Issues
Modules 1-4 in Effective Youth Mentoring through the NZ Youth Mentoring Network
Brainwave Trust
Marcus is New Zealand’s only international endorser for the Jackson guitar brand, and has also endorsed for Fractal Audio and the Axe FX II, Shure Microphones, Famous Stars and Straps Clothing, Converse Shoes and G-Shock watches.

David Atai


Crescendo Trust mentor David runs educational workshops and advises young people who are looking to pursue a career in music on how to navigate the music industry.

David Atai is an award winning, multi-platinum selling artist from Nesian Mystik with a track record of "the most produced top ten hits" in New Zealand history.

David has been involved in music since 1999 and is passionate about helping young musicians. He possesses the skills for working with young people and has various certificates including those from The New Zealand Mentoring Network.

David has worked in professional recording studios (i.e Beaver Music and Montage Studios) and has experience with composing music, recording vocals and instruments as well as mixing and mastering music and songs for television and radio including Nickelodeon channel.

Dominic Hoey

Dominic Hoey is an author, playwright and poet based in Tamaki Makaurau. He has been a youth mentor for the last seven years, teaching arts and mindfulness to rangatahi as a way to combat mental health struggles.

As well as his role at Crescendo Trust, Dominic is currently the lead mentor at the award winning Atawhai program under the Kindness Institute.

His debut novel, Iceland was a New Zealand bestseller and was long-listed for the 2018 Ockham Book Award.

Dominic has released three poetry books, Party Tricks and Boring Secrets (2014), a collaboration with artist Joshua Solomon, and Feel Like Shit Looking Great (2016) and I Thought We’d Be Famous (2019)

As a screenwriter he’s scripted four short films which were accepted into a number of festivals including Palm Springs, The Orlando Film Festival, The New Zealand Film Festival and Show Me Shorts.

In a former life, Dominic was an MC battle and slam-poetry champion. He’s performed his spoken-word poetry in Australia, Europe, England, Japan, and America.

Dominic is currently working on his second novel, Don’t You Want To Be Rich.

Greg Davis

I have been involved in music since I was 4, my grandmother directed musicals and I loved been apart of them. When in High School I focused on art, photography and music.

After High School I went to WINTECH to do a Bachelor of Arts (Majoring In Music Production), I took five years to do this degree. While there I was mentoring mentally/physically challenged adults using music to relax and possibly to heal. Also I start doing live sound with one of my tutors and then he introduced me to College Hill Productions. College Hill started using me as a casual contactor (I started cleaning cables,and mic stands).

After I finished my degree I started teaching at Te Wananga O Aotearoa for a year, teaching a diploma of contemporary maori music.

The next year I was asked to lead the closing down of Metropolitan College, my role was to find placement for the remaining 19 students, this job lead onto my role in AE(Alternative Education) which I have been involved with for the past 19 years.

Once I moved to Auckland I started working for College Hill full time and when available worked with AE.

I was thrown in the deep end and put on tour with Blindspott on monitors, from then the roll on effect was crazy, Nesian Mystik monitors and Elemeno P FOH (front of house), Shihad (Monitors).

Along with many system tech jobs for internationals: Deep Purple, Motorhead, D12, DJ Shadow (Monitors) to many to mention, but these ones are ones stuck in the memory for good reasons and bad.

As my career progressed I became more a FOH engineer for many local acts,

Nesian Mystik (10 years and tours all over NZ and Australia and tow trips to Japan), , Blindspott (6 years and tours all over NZ), Elemeno P (5 years and tours all over NZ and Australia), Sola Rosa(4 years and tours all over NZ and Australia), Blacklistt (tours all over NZ), IAMGIANT (many years and tours over NZ and Europe) and SIX60 (8 years and tours all over NZ, Australia, USA, UK and being based in Berlin for 6 to 9 months a few years in a row while touring all over europe) and Skinny Hobos (NZ tours). I have been also been called in to fill in for FOH engineers for bands, Pluto, GoldenHorse, Opshop, The Vailes, again to many to mention.

Through my connections overseas I have toured with some international acts through Australia and NZ as FOH engineer the last one being YG and Ty Dolla Sign.

Recently I have pulled back from touring to raise my own family and working full time with AE and part time at CTOA.

Riccardo Ball

Riccardo is passionate about broadcasting and has been working in the radio industry for 25 years and filled nearly every role there is including Breakfast Announcer, Music Director, Producer, Promotions Manager and Journalist.

As a mentor with Rawkus Radio and CTOA he works with people new to the industry and helps them develop the tools they’ll need if they want to pursue a career in the wider radio world.  Riccardo also balances this mentoring and educating with overseeing the running of the station.

Creatively driven, he also consults with bands, works as a radio plugger and has produced and arranged tracks for commercial Rock radio, on top of that he fronts his own band Just One Fix.

Music Apprentice

Tui Merrilees-Horn

Having started from the comfort of his bedroom over ten years ago, making beats was a way for Tui to create his own world. A classic introvert personality led to his growth being stagnant.  That is, until he caught wind of Crescendo, a space that could provide the means for him to grow and succeed.  Tui has been with Crescendo since 2018 and in this short time he has made great leaps in his music ventures and will continue to do so under Crescendo’s ongoing growth and apprenticeship development program.

Hailing originally from the South Island of Aotearoa, Tui and his single parent made the to Auckland at the age of 8. Having rhythm flowing through his native blood, and wanting to spread a message, music was the perfect route. Having no formal qualifications, his musical abilities stem from his early influences, being the likes of Paramore, Linkin Park, Lupe Fiasco, Pharrell, Timbaland, Ryan Leslie; and now gradually moving into Jon Bellion, Childish Gambino flavours eventually forming his own.

Tui’s stage name is Siddi Teo or Siddi for short. Siddi is a phonetic interpretation of the word Siddhi, which referred to supernatural abilities that were able to be performed once reaching spiritual enlightenment sadhanas such as meditation and yoga. Teo stands for The enlightened one. Teo speaks for itself.

Always loving a good conversation, if you see Tui aka Siddi around, he would love to meet you.

Christiaan Toailoa

Christiaan aka SSU, is an SAE graduate that has been pursuing audio production and songwriting, since 2017. In such a short time, his beat making has managed to capture the attention of emerging artists, local and abroad.

Christiaan has had an interest in hip hop since his birth, and was influenced by his father who has been a DJ since his youth. He would then start to tag along with his father, setting up gigs and functions around Auckland, also being given the opportunity to showcase his talents here. This lead to him hosting his own show with a friend on KFM.

Working in a local warehouse in South Auckland, Christiaan had decided to leave his job to pursue a career path in Audio Production, and signed up to CTOA as part of our mentoring program. The promise he showed lead to an apprenticeship, and he has been with the trust since 2018, working with the majority of our young people.

Applying his recording, production and writing skills, Christiaan has helped construct a series of workshops for youth artists based around these skills and is currently in the works of helping in the development of a DJ course for aspiring DJ’s.

Christiaan is commonly based out in Glen Innes, where he is helping to grow, empower and shed light on the local talent.

Marketing & Social Media Apprentice

Liana Vaipa-Rice

After 5 years of being mentored under David Atai, Liana Vaipa-Rice has stepped up to upskill in Marketing & Social Media. With a keen interest in imagery and promotion, Liana has been taken under the wing of Communications & Marketing Producer Bev Adair who is best known for her work with Stan Walker and as Executive Producer of Homegrown Festival. Liana is currently working on writing articles on her upcoming blog ‘Young & Emerging’ which showcases the finest emerging kiwi artists as well as creating content for the CTOA Social Media pages.

Content Creator

Elliot Dawson

Event Coordinator

Rory Donaldson

Rory is a member of the Crescendo Trust Event Management and Production Team. Rory grew up in West Auckland and passionately believes that music and other creative outlets can positively change lives.

After attending dozens of Crescendo run Jam Cellar shows from 2015 to present day occasionally helping to set up and pack down the events, he was asked to help out with the relocation of the Rawkus Radio studio as well as further involvement in a radio show..

Rory was the driving force behind the interior decoration, painting and relocating of the new studio. During  this time he was offered an opportunity to be the producer of an up and coming radio show ‘KATCHAT’ .

When the 2018 inaugural gala needed more hands on board Rory donated his time to help set up, run and pack down the event. With the amazing success of this gala and his continued involvement in the radio show KATCHAT he was asked to help out in the 2019 inaugural gala. With the continued success of the gala it was evident that the trust needed it’s own team to plan and run events.

After the 2019 gala the new event management and production team was formed. Having some experience in running events and with some training from fellow members of the trust  Rory has established himself as one of the core members of the trusts event management and production team.

Rory is working on upskilling on all things event production; from lighting to stage hand roles he helps to plan and run each shows that the Crescendo Trust holds.

His goals as one of the members of the Event Management and Production Team is to produce a safe, fun and welcoming events where the performing artists are able to flourish and the public are able to enjoy music.

“I hope to be able to help manage and produce events just like any other professional team from small cellar gigs to the next westfest. There’s no reason we can’t produce big concerts, I was to see this team getting that good and producing those events in the years to come”

Amelia Thurlow

Youth Advisory Panel - CTOA's Voice

Mahaani Maiava

Singer-Songwriter, Producer and multi-instrumentalist raised in both South Auckland's Manurewa and Northland's Kaikohe as a young Māori-Samoan, MAIAVA brings to you his ruff style of Soul, Hiphop and Roots Music.

Originally found his love and passion for Music through his church and his upbringing in the Ratana Marching Brass Band from the age of 10, he's pursued his passion for Music for the last 10 years and has resulted in many experiences within the Industry as a performer.

He's been a frontman for Northland Reggae band One Tribe and has shared stages with Reggae icons such as House of Shem and Three Houses Down.

He's a frontman for upcoming Soul & Hiphop band Hyster Floats and has toured all across Aotearoa with EXCEL School of Performing Arts throughout 2018.

Now a student currently studying at the Music and Audio Institute of New Zealand (MAINZ), MAIAVA aims to push the limits of his creativity and musical abilities to the very edge.

Liana Vaipa-Rice

Emerging Artist Liana joined CTOA in April 2014 and has been an active member of the trust for over 5 years. Liana has released her own music, toured the country with different organisations and has had international success with Grammy Award Winners Linkin Park. Under the alias ‘Liana Frangipani’, she has achieved online success with her latest single ‘Cake’ reaching 30,000+ people on facebook and was set to perform at 3 different stages at Pasifika 2019. Now volunteering her free time as part of our Youth Voice duo, Liana and Mahaani represent the desires and opinions of our young people.


Former mentors

Abraham Kunin

Abraham is passionate about alternative education, and offering his experience and service as a resource to the next generation of emerging artists and young people.

Within the industry, Abe works as a producer, songwriter, guitarist, and recording engineer.

He is a band member with Home Brew and Teeks.

He has recently worked with other artists including: Anoushka Shankar, Avantdale Bowling Club, Maisey Rika, Melodownz, and Tourettes, and has toured internationally with a wide spectrum of bands and theatrical productions. Abraham has a BMus (Jazz), and is an endorsee for Elixir Strings.

Abraham also has a huge interest (and fluctuating discipline) in meditation, yoga, and mindfulness practices.

‘I feel privileged to be a part of CTOA, and sincerely believe in the holistic benefit of what we are doing.’

Sam Mentink

Since 2005, New Zealand born producer, DJ and party starter Samari (Sam), has rocked dance floors across the world.
He’s played alongside some of the biggest names in techno, Released EP’s internationally, run ground breaking parties in Australasia, and most recently launched his latest party Klang in Auckland.
Well known for his high pressure DJ sets, Samari’s raw, driving, Detroit sound always leaves you with something to take away and always wanting more.
His Audio / Video sets have been eye catching to say the least, adding a dark and stunning visual narrative. Created, cut, stolen and built by the artist and performed using Serato Video, his AV sets enable the full story to be seen and heard in his shows.
Beginning in Wellington, Samari launched the infamous Electroluxxe parties before moving to Melbourne where he kicked off his second techno mainstay Gradient. A party that became synonymous with cutting edge techno. From there he went on to Europe performing across Germany, France and Belgium.
As a producer Samari has released on international labels alongside his monthly show Construct Radio - broadcast from both Fnoob internationally and Art Style Techno in Budapest.

Vlatko Georgiev

Vlatko Georgiev is a composer, music producer and educator. He is classically trained musician with musicianship and production credits for over 30 years.

Vlatko has composed many pieces in various genres, for different settings in different formats, from Radio and TV commercials, music and sound design for computer games, to music for Documentaries, Theatre plays and music for Ballet.

Since 1987 he has performed live on different stages and festivals, and have been seen through world tours and many live performances with various artists such as INFUSE, Kaliopi, Mizar, Dragan Dautovski, Tose Proeski, The Macedonian Philharmonic Orchestra... As former member of Talichni Tom, Super Nova, Blue funky individuals, Bodyguards, and many other bands, his music experience evolves from Skopje’s Rock Fest 87’, Subotica – Omladina 89’, Zajacarska gitarijada 89’, through numerous club performances, music festivals such as EXIT, ALARM, Spancirfest, Ohrid Summer Fest, TAXIRAT, Skopje Summer Fest, to many concert shows and stadium spectacles.

Special part of his creative work is dedicated to experimental electronic music, which was rewarded in couple of occasions. His acousmatic compositions were presented in Japan, Sweden, Germany, Ireland, The Netherlands and Macedonia.

He is music composer, producer, music arranger and studio musician on a number of music materials.

As a versatile individual Vlatko had an opportunity to held a number of professional roles including secondary school Music teacher (Sonology and Computer Composing) at DMBUC “I.N.Luj”- Skopje, Macedonia, Faculty Lecturer (Music Technology, Electronic Music, Music Production) at the Faculty of Music –Skopje, R. of Macedonia, Education Supervisor to international undergraduate internship students, Lecturer of Erasmus+ (EU exchange student programme) students, and a Private music Instructor. His New Zealand teaching experience evolves from Piano teacher role at Lewis Eady and Pureheart music schools, mentoring bands at Hobsonville Primary School and Point Chevalier Intermediate to a Graduate Teaching Assistant at The University of Auckland. Vlatko currently works as a Sonic Arts Lecturer and DJ and Electronic Music Production tutor at Music and Audio Institute of New Zealand (MAINZ) Auckland.

Teaching young people to creatively use Music Technology tools in the process of realizing music ideas, and to increase their awareness about possible professional profiles in the field of Creative Industries, is one of his personal goals.

Vlatko’s role in CTOA is mentoring and developing customised workshops, courses, and music programmes that emphasise our rangathi’s individual development, self-confidence, musicianship and wellbeing. Gaining knowledge and developing transferable skills in creative thinking, problem-solving and self- management widely opens doors for our youth to music industry careers and pathways for further study.


Izak is a youth mentor and audio engineer for the Crescendo Trust of Aotearoa.

He came up through the trust as a mentee, having spent 10 years playing in bands and producing his own music. His band Death By Butterflies won the West Auckland final of the Smokefree Rockquest and after submitting a video that Izak mixed and mastered himself, the band were selected as one of the top nine bands nationally.

Izak has five years’ experience producing music using digital audio software specialising in recording and producing young musicians to an industry standard.

Recently he gained experience with composition for theatre, writing part of the score for the sell-out show “Love Me Tinder.”



Christian Mausia is one of the busiest Session Musician/Producer/Freelance Engineer and Mentors for the Crescendo Trust of Aotearoa. He has created programs and platforms for CTOA’s young people and become the person they feel comfortable talking to when things aren't working out at home, with their friends or at school.

Christian’s music career started off at church, before moving in 2009 to bands such as latin band Calle Latina, ska band Yebiisu then Three Houses Down (3HD) in 2011. Christian's horn section (Brass4sho - Horn Section) made a name for themselves in the reggae scene playing for 3HD, Sons of Zion and Katchafire at the One Love Festival in 2015 and 2016.

Christian studied at SAE to advance his audio engineering expertise and has worked with the Pacific Music Award winner Vince Harder and Vodafone Music Award winner Stan Walker (and still works with them today).