Meet Dame Kiri Te Kanawa, legendary soprano who is among the top ten candidates for nomination to be the first President of New Zealand. Read her biography and see photos and a video of her below.

The Republican Movement in New Zealand has announced its top ten candidates to be the first President of New Zealand. Dame Kiri Te Kanawa is on the list. Current members of the Parliament and Queen Elizabeth II (the current head of state for New Zealand) are not eligible.

Others on the top ten list are: James Belich, Jim Bolger, Sir Douglas Graham, Sir Robert Jones, Sir Kenneth Keith, Don McKinnon, Claudia Orange, Vincent O’Sullivan and Sir Wilson Whineray.

This is a mock election promoted by the Republican Movement in New Zealand. Their website states that their hope is to promote debate as to whether or not New Zealand should have their own head-of-state. In the meantime, the position that is being promoted currently is that of a figurehead.

Dame Kiri Te Kanawa Biography

Claire Mary Teresa Rawstron (Te Kanawa) was born on March 6, 1944 in Gisborne, New Zealand. She was adopted in infancy. She is believed to be of M�?ori and European ancestry, though little is known of her biological parents. Her adoptive mother was Irish and her adoptive father was M�?ori.

She became a pop star in New Zealand during her teens and early twenties. She moved to London in 1966 when she received a grant to study there.

She was created Dame Commander of The Order of the British Empire in 1982. She was invested as an Honorary Companion of the Order of Australia in 1990 and awarded the Order of New Zealand in the 1995 Queen’s Birthday Honors List. She has received honorary degrees from numerous universities in Great Britain and throughout the world.

She founded the Kiri Te Kanawa Foundation that manages a trust to assist talented New Zealand musicians and singers.

Her operatic career has been outstanding by any standards. She has performed in the greatest operas in opera houses throughout the world. In 1981 she sang at the wedding of HRH Prince Charles to Diana Spencer at St. Paul’s Cathedral. There was an audience of an estimated 600 million people worldwide. She sang her last American concert with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra at Ravinia Park on July 19, 2008.

She married Desmond Park in 1968. The couple adopted two children, Antonia was born in 1976 and Thomas was born in 1979. Kiri and Desmond divorced in the 1990s.

Dame Kiri Te Kanawa – Video