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Mentorship programme unlocks rap, dance and street art for up and coming Kiwis


Mentorship programme unlocks rap, dance and street art for up and coming Kiwis

MELODOWNZ, Bianca Ikinofo, and Charles and Janine Williams set to mentor in PUMA x Red Rat Mentorship Programme

PUMA has teamed up with streetwear retailer Red Rat to offer Kiwis looking to break into the worlds of music, dance or street art an enviable opportunity to learn from leading talent within each field. The PUMA x Red Rat Mentorship Programme will give three aspiring individuals unrivalled access and an unforgettable experience by pairing them with a talented mentor to help foster their careers.

Award-winning rap artist MELODOWNZ, renowned worldwide dancer Bianca Ikinofo and widely accomplished graffiti and street artist duo Charles and Janine Williams, are all on board to share their knowledge and wisdom with the selected mentees.

Applications are open from 2 September until 7 October. The three successful applicants will each get one-on-one time with their chosen mentor to explore their passions, dive into challenges and come out the other side ready to tackle their goals.

Pancho Gutstein, General Manager of PUMA Oceania, says that PUMA is honoured to be able to acknowledge the vibrant artists and help them to pave the way for the next generation.

“Life’s full of hustlers working on their craft, whether that’s music, dance, street art or something entirely different. Working with Red Rat, we want to give three deserving Kiwis a chance to step up their game. We’re looking for people that will make the most of this mentorship programme and use it to unlock the industry for them.

“It’s going to be an awesome journey to watch and we can’t wait to see the mentees flourish,” says Gutstein.

Richard Wright, Red Rat CEO, says the Red Rat team is thrilled to be able to give back in a meaningful way.

“The mentorship programme is such an amazing opportunity for our customers and community. We know how hard it can be to get your foot in the door and make your dreams a reality.”


Rap superstar MELODOWNZ is a Polynesian artist based in Auckland who is widely regarded as one of the driving forces in the New Zealand rap scene.
MELODOWNZ says that he feels blessed with his musical success and is eager to share his wisdom.

“My musical journey has had a fair share of hurdles and challenges, but they’ve helped me become who I am. I’m so grateful to be able to share my music and do what I love and am stoked to be able to help someone chase their dreams.”

Dance: Bianca Ikinofo
Bianca Ikinofo is an award-winning urban/hip-hop dancer and choreographer who has performed all over the world with the likes of Rihanna, Jennifer Lopez and more. Bianca was previously a member of The Royal Family and ReQuest.

Ikinofo acknowledges that, “Throughout my entire journey as a dancer, I’ve had to learn through experience and opportunities. However, it would have been so valuable to have someone guide me, especially in the beginning. A mentorship is a money can’t buy experience and I can’t wait to be able to share my knowledge with someone.”

Artists: Charles and Janine Williams
During the past 20 years, urban artist duo Charles and Janine Williams have been creating visual stories through large scale murals, street art and design all over the world.

Charles and Janine say one of the greatest things about their art is that it enables them to connect with people and spaces.

“We’re lucky to be able to create work all around the world that pushes boundaries and inspires others. It’s been a challenging ride, which is why we want to give back and help someone grow into the most talented artist that they can be.”

THE PROGRAMME: 2 September 2019 – 31 January 2020
During September, New Zealanders over the age of 18 can apply by uploading a video or image to social media which demonstrates why they think they should be part of the programme. Potential mentees can apply through Instagram using the hashtag #PUMAxRedRat and tagging @redratclothing, or via Red Rat’s Facebook page by commenting with their content in response to the competition post.

The three lucky individuals will be selected in October by a panel of representatives from PUMA and Red Rat and the three mentors.

When it comes to what a good application will look like, Wright says, “You don’t have to have tonnes of experience under your belt or out-of-this-world talent. That’s what the mentors are there to help you with. If you’re dedicated, eager to learn and inspired, we’d love for you to apply.”

For more information: visit
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PUMA is one of the world’s leading Sports Brands, designing, developing, selling and marketing footwear, apparel and accessories. For 70 years, PUMA has relentlessly pushed sport and culture forward by creating fast products for the world’s fastest athletes. PUMA offers performance and sport-inspired lifestyle products in categories such as Football, Running and Training, Basketball, Golf, and Motorsports. It collaborates with renowned designers and brands to bring sport influences into street culture and fashion. The PUMA Group owns the brands PUMA, Cobra Golf and stichd. The company distributes its products in more than 120 countries, employs more than 13,000 people worldwide, and is headquartered in Herzogenaurach/Germany. For more information, please visit

Red Rat is New Zealand’s largest retailer of streetwear. They have been selling the world's biggest brands like PUMA, adidas, Nike and Converse to the masses for more than 15 years as well as quality homeware and health products under their own brand, Homie. Red Rat have been inspired by the firm belief that everyone deserves to look their best and should have access to the products and brands that they love. They offer all customers credit options, highlighting that no matter who they are or where they're from, there’s something for everyone. There are 14 Red Rat stores across New Zealand. For more information, please visit

Mentorship programme unlocks rap, dance and street art for up and coming Kiwis

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