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phone: 021 252 7632

email: robyn@robynsutherland.com


Robyn Sutherland is an Auckland harp player and singer. She enjoys teaching beginner harp students.

You can hire a harp with a teach yourself book and take beginner harp lessons - children and adults. Lessons are conducted online via skype or zoom or in person at Point Chevalier, Auckland.


Robyn performs at events, weddings, funerals and other functions in and around the Auckland area and throughout the North Island of New Zealand.

Her performance repertoire consists of contemporary pop, Celtic, original and Medieval songs and instrumentals sung and played with an ethereal, atmospheric flavour - her style has been likened to Lusaint, Eva Cassidy and Loreena McKennitt.

She plays a 32 string Camac DHC Light carbon fibre electric harp, made in France this gold harp looks stunning in any room, great for situations where amplification is required.

Robyn has been working in the music industry in New Zealand since 1980 and has played solo and with well known performers like Rick Bryant, Karen Hunter, Jan Hellriegel and Midge Marsden as both bassist & singer.

She played bass guitar and sang on the covers band circuit in her home town of Dunedin for over 15 years playing in rock / pop groups and in duos. Bump and Grind featuring Mark Blandford and Matt Hall and Alien Antics also featuring Matt Hall, were the last bands in Dunedin Robyn played with before moving to Auckland.

She has played at corporate functions, weddings & funerals, on TV, national tours - performed at pubs, clubs, theme dinners, restaurants & garden parties, festivals like Sweetwaters, Mountain Rock & WOMAD & at various food & wine festivals.

Robyn taught beginner bass and beginner guitar privately and for music shop Sounds Musical in Dunedin. She has experience with tutoring bands and has taught bass and guitar as well as some larger group tutoring at St Peters College in Mt Eden at their after school rock music classes with fellow musician Cadzow Cossar. She has taught some music at Metro College in Mt Eden and enjoyed jamming with the students playing drums and bass, and encouraging their playing.

Based in Auckland since 1994 and concentrating primarily on her harp playing, bass playing, singing and composition - Robyn loves to spend time writing music.

She is a current member and past committee member of the New Zealand Harp Society.

Since 2005 Robyn has been working part time for New Zealand's largest national entertainment agency - PME Entertainment Agents formerly Pete McGregor Entertainment - and has extensive current industry experience.


Personal Bio

Robyn's home town is Dunedin where she played in covers bands around the pub and club circuits
as a bassist and singer from the age of 16.

For many years she worked as a photographic printer in various photo labs while working on her
music on days off and in the weekends.

At the age of 21 she developed an interest in Tai Chi which has stayed with her and she is passionate about caring for the health of the older generation. Prevention is better than cure and Tai Chi is a great way to keep people moving well into their golden years. She practices Yang style and has taught Tai Chi at various places including community centres, schools, Odyssey House and the Auckland Deaf Association.
Robyn Sutherland and bass guitar

An interest in the lifecycle of the Monarch butterfly has lead to several swan plants appearing in the garden and a host of other plants that the butterflies like to feed from. It is amazing how many butterflies now come to visit and is a constant delight.

If you hire a harp you may well leave with an electronic tuner and a tuning wrench in a hand felted or embroidered bag made by Robyn. Fibre arts are also an interest and the harp studio walls are slowly being covered by shelves of wool and other interesting craft bits and pieces. Spinning, weaving, felting, micro macrame, crochet, Tunisian crochet, knitting, tatting, and bobbin lace are interests, embroidery, hand stitching and visible mending are also indulged in. Interestingly enough handcrafts, particularly spinning and weaving, feature in a lot of harp songs.

An interest in technology sees her working with computers on a daily basis, it is amazing to see what is evolving on the internet and in the world of AI.

In 2010 Robyn studied with Mary Hancock at the Titirangi Celebrant School which was a wonderful experience and she graduated with a certificate in Celebrant Studies.


This article was in The Fringe magazine - December 2013 issue - Bandstanding
written by Susannah Bridges

I wouldn't have expected that the local fish'n'chip shop would present a candidate for Bandstanding, but our editor's eagle eye spotted flyers advertising harp tuition and hire in one such aforementioned joint - so I thought I had better follow up and see just what this malarkey was all about...

"I did do music at school" confesses Robyn Sutherland. "I wanted to have singing lessons but Mum insisted I learnt an instrument first so I chose violin. At high school, when I wanted to take music as a subject, Mum wouldn't let me and wanted me to take typing instead!" But fortunately there was a light at the end of the tunnel... "My sisters friend was in a band and he gave me a bass guitar lesson. Then mum bought me a bass guitar, and the friend asked me to join his band". "I played my first gig at a local Rugby club. When I got home I found Mum waiting up for me. I was so excited and pronounced that all I wanted to be was a professional musician! She replied "that's nice dear..." Staunchly Robyn soldiered on, and went on to play bass and sing in many bands - for functions, events, in pubs, some originals, some covers - and sometimes fronting as lead singer.

Dunedin born and Bred - Robyn moved to Auckland some 18 years ago after the three bands that she was in down in the deep south were in a state of flux. the then bass player and singer thought that the north offered more opportunities - after all, she had all of three contacts here...

"My car blew up in Kaikoura! When I did arrive in Auckland I stayed with friends till I got settled and worked in Photolabs while I got my music going again. After I had been here for about a year my Mum died. I had been writing songs at the time, and I heard a track by Bjork...she was singing with a harp accompaniment. I thought it was the most beautiful thing, and that the songs that I had been writing would sound great with a harp. Mum left me some money in her will, and I bought my first harp with that - from the Trade and Exchange in 1987. I had had lessons with Anna Dunwoodie in Blockhouse Bay, and I travelled the country writing and playing songs for friends. It took a few years to become good at it!"

Resident in Oratia for the past 15 years, Robyn now hires her harps out all around the country and teaches the harp, beginner guitar and bass guitar. "I really want to get people enthusiastic about playing the harp. It's not especially difficult to play - the strings are set like keys on a piano. Once you find the C string, then you can work out chords from there. There are no "finger gymnastics" as there are in guitar playing, so it can be an easier instrument for people to learn". She even offers lessons via skype if you can't make it to her place anytime soon.

Owner of (as far as she knows) the only electric harp in the country, Robyn also has an array of acoustic lap harps and Celtic (or Folk) harps. The lap harps are smaller, the Celtic harps are larger and free standing and have more complex tuning mechanisms. Acoustic harps have a hollow body "sound Box" to give them volume and resonance. Most of Robyn's harps are made in New Zealand, with the exception of the electric - which is French - and a 22 string Welsh harp. Harps can be made from almost anything - solid timber, plywood, plastic, even cardboard. The electric blue harp gets plugged into an amp, and so can take the kind of the effects that can be used on a guitar. Robyn has a delay pedal. I ask if she has a distortion... but alas - no! Or not as yet, anyway...

Harp playing has led Robyn into many an interesting situation - she has played for Helen Clark (when she was Minister for the Arts) at weddings, funerals, corporate events, for the Hospice, for fashion shows and many a fancy dinner... including a pop-up dining event on the Devonport Ferry. "That must have been one of my most memorable gigs" laughs Robyn. "The whole thing was over and done in 12 minutes - the time it takes for the ferry crossing from Auckland to Devonport. It was full on - quite choppy and hard to balance! The diners boarded, drank and ate their entrees, I played and everyone was in nautical fancy dress!

An occasional member and performer at Titirangi Folk Club, Robyn has recorded a CD - Tempest Lament - comprising her original harp and vocal compositions alongside old traditional scores. For eight years she was a back up singer in Rick Bryant's Jive Bombers, and she's played bass in Jan Hellriegel's band and for Auckland outfit the Porcelaines (featuring well known potter and occasional guitar player Peter Lange).

With wedding season coming up Robyn is set to be pretty busy over the Summer months - with bookings all over the North Island. It's just as well that she and partner come musical technician Brett Orams like travelling.

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page last updated 10th May 2024