Creative New Zealand has 85 staff based in Te Whanganui-a-Tara Wellington, Tāmaki Makaurau Auckland and Ōtepoti Dunedin. Our team has a range of experience and expertise across many artforms.
Read our staff profiles:
Chief Executive | Pou Whakahaere
+64 (04) 498 0743
Stephen joined Creative New Zealand in 1990 and was appointed Chief Executive in 2006.
Prior to being appointed chief executive Stephen was acting chief executive and had been a member of Creative New Zealand's senior management team since 2002 as manager of Arts Infrastructure Services.
Stephen has been involved in the strategic and business planning of Creative New Zealand for several years and has worked closely with many of this country's leading arts organisations.
"As a young nation at the bottom of the Pacific Ocean our arts help to illustrate our lives with new layers of meaning and fresh perspectives. There are clear social, cultural, economic and educational benefits for supporting the arts and these need to be made. But life is personal and experiencing great art makes life better."
"I think the late Michael King captured the importance of the arts when he wrote that to be confident as New Zealanders we must listen to our own voices and trace our own footsteps; we must have our own heroes and heroines to inspire us, our own epics to both uplift and caution us; we must persist in building our own culture with our own ingredients to hand."
Creative New Zealand's job is to work with the arts community to build our culture and help the wider community appreciate and support its development. Enormous progress has been made in the last 30 years, and because New Zealanders do value the arts, we are committed to furthering the progress that has been achieved so far. Visit: New Zealanders and the arts: Attitudes, attendance and participation
Stephen graduated from Victoria University with a Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Commerce and Administration.
Gretchen La Roche
Senior Manager, Arts Development
+64 4 473 0329
Gretchen has an extensive background in the arts. She is a trained musician and for the past year has been the Chief Executive of Chamber Music New Zealand. Prior to that position she was the CEO of the Christchurch Symphony Orchestra for eight years. Hailing from Te Tairawhiti, she is a member of Creative New Zealand’s arts advocacy group, Te Rōpū Mana Toi. Gretchen has previously worked at Creative New Zealand as a Senior Programme Adviser.
Senior Manager, Business Services
+64 (04) 498 0880
“The Business Services team provides the tools for Creative New Zealand to make the best decisions on how funding is passed to others so that the New Zealand arts sector is strong both here and overseas.”
Angus joined us in 2005 as Finance Manager before taking up the role of Business Services Manager in 2008. He graduated from Victoria University with a Bachelor of Commerce and Administration before working with Lower Hutt chartered accounting firm, Kendons. This was followed by a role at international accountancy and consulting firm KPMG.
His previous experience helps Angus to ensure that Creative New Zealand delivers the best results for the individuals and organisations we deal with.
“While funding is not the only part of the business that Creative New Zealand does it is probably the best known. The Business Services team provides the tools for the rest of the organisation to make the best decisions on how that funding is passed to others so that the New Zealand arts sector is strong both here and overseas. Dealing with a limited resource means that decisions have to be made about what gets funded and what doesn’t, and I believe our role is to make sure that our funding processes are clear and fair to everyone who deals with us.”
Senior Manager, Planning, Performance and Advocacy Services
+64 (04) 473 0880
David leads the Strategy and Engagement team which initiates and implements advocacy initiatives, manages communications with the media and other stakeholders, produces publications and provides information to the arts sector and members of the public. The team also manages government relations, including strategy and accountability documents, public and government requests for information, business planning and reporting, and governance policy.
David joined Creative New Zealand in February 2015 from the Ministry of Health, where he was the Manager, Governance & Crown Entities. In this role, he led a number of strategic projects and change management programmes, including establishing new crown entities, developing key sector engagement fora, and supporting shared administrative and support services for district health boards.
David holds a Bachelor of Laws and a Bachelor of Arts in psychology from the University of Otago, and was admitted to the bar in 2000.
Senior Manager, Māori Strategy and Partnerships
+64 (04) 498 0706
Paula (Ngāti Ruanui, Ngāruahine, Ngārauru, Te Atiawa) is leading Creative New Zealand’s work to develop and support Ngā Toi Māori. This includes advocating for a shared agenda and increasing the agency’s impact on Māori arts and culture by working with key external stakeholders, including other government organisations and agencies.
Before joining us in 2016, Paula worked at governance and operational levels assisting iwi and organisations to achieve their strategic goals. She has more than 20 years’ experience managing and delivering public and private sector projects. She has significant treaty sector experience including advocating for iwi claimant groups and negotiating and implementing a wide range of funding and contracting programmes.
Paula is a relationship builder who is passionate about using her influence to achieve more positive results for Māori, for the betterment of communities. Paula holds a Bachelor of Business Management (double major) from Massey University and also has qualifications in project and programme management.
Senior Manager, Pacific Arts
+64 (0)4 498 0729
Makerita has more than 20-years experience in the arts and culture industry as an independent Director, Producer and Writer in Aotearoa with national and international major works in theatre, festivals, music videos, film and television. She also did a two-year stint as a journalist for Radio New Zealand and has led branding, concept design, media, marketing and publicity campaigns for independent productions as a Creative Producer.
Makerita leads Creative New Zealand’s strategic work for Pacific Arts to make an effective long-term impact on the lives of artists and creatives, change that makes a real impact for society.
She has led and initiated numerous new strategic partnerships and collaborations with external stakeholders including government agencies, global and international partners, private sector and arts organisations. These include a cross-agency focus on Pasifika Festivals resulting in $12million of government support over three years from Budget 2020 and a #DigitalMoana focus since Covid first appeared in Aotearoa. She also negotiated the first formal Creative New Zealand partnership with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade to stregthen arts and cultural ties with Oceania creatives.
Her work focuses on growing the networks of Va relationships to empower arts communities to lead their own growth, investing in fantastic ideas, people and opportunities and to talanoa and listen to arts leaders about what they need and how we can do better for them, as a Crown agency.
Makerita was born in her father’s village Fagamalo on the island of Savai’i in Samoa. She joined Creative New Zealand in 2011 following a Fulbright NZ Pacific Writer’s Residency at the University of Hawai’i in 2010. Makerita is fluent in Samoan with a life-long hobby of speaking and learning Te Reo Māori and French. She is learning to paint in acrylics and loves surfing and swimming in the sea.
Haniko Te Kurapa
Senior Manager, Te Kaupapa o Toi Aotearoa
+64 (0)4 473 0182
Ko Manawaru te maunga. Ko Ohinemataroa te awa. Ko Te Whai a te motu, me Te Whatu o te Kanohi ngā tipuna whare. Ko Ngāti Tawhaki me Te Urewera ngā hapu. Ko Tūhoe te iwi. Tūhoe moumou kai, moumou taonga, moumou tāngata ki te pō.
Haniko joined Creative New Zealand in 2002 as Māori Arts Adviser and has more than 20 years experience working in the arts. Prior to Creative New Zealand, he held a number of roles at Te Papa including concept developer, interpreter, and education officer. Raised in the heart of the Urewera, he was privileged to have access to information regarding the stories and history of his tribe. A fluent speaker of Te Reo Māori with a wealth of knowledge on tikanga Māori, he now manages the Māori arts programmes and is based in the Wellington office.
Toi tupu toi ora, toi huarewa, toi te whenua, te rangatiratanga
Arts Development Services
Belinda has a Bachelor of Art (Hons) in art history from the University of Canterbury and worked in public art galleries in the South Island before joining Creative New Zealand in 2001. She has worked in various roles including Adviser Visual Arts, in the Arts Organisations Development Programme; Adviser, Audience and Market Development; and Senior Adviser, International. Most recently Belinda was Manager, International and Capability Building where she managed New Zealand’s presence at international fairs and markets and capability building initiatives for the sector including the regional arts pilots and national touring.
Co-manager, Practice and Pathways
Amanda (Ngāti Tūwharetoa, Te Arawa) brings a wealth of knowledge and expertise after 20 years in the industry working in almost every role imaginable; from theatre usher to Artistic Director and Board member. She has worked for numerous organisations including Capital E, Taki Rua Productions, Circa Theatre and City Gallery as well as the Wellington International Jazz Festival, Fringe NZ, Laugh, ERUPT Festival and co-established with Native Earth (Canada) and Yirra Yaakin (Australia) the international indigenous theatre festival Honouring Theatre.
She has produced the popular Waitangi day concert Kotahi, as well as outdoor film screenings, Peninsula Pictures, at Kahurangi School in Strathmore Park. Prior to her role as Manager for International, Amanda was the Arts Practice Director, Theatre, Dance & Festivals at Creative New Zealand.
Co-Manager, Practice and Pathways
Paul comes with over 10 years of experience working in the arts sector as a performer and producer in theatre, music, dance, television and film. He has performed on stages and festivals both nationally and internationally and brings a large network of connections from across the vast Moana to his work here at Creative New Zealand. Paul has a keen interest in supporting and nurturing Pasifika talent at all levels, and ensuring that his community thrives and is set up for success.
He joined Creative New Zealand in 2019 as Senior Communications Adviser, Pacific and has also worked at the New Zealand Film Commission as Talent Development Manager.
Debs leads the Investments team, who hold the relationships with our Toi Tōtara Haemata and Toi Uru Kahikatea investment clients, and Creative Communities Scheme administrators. The Investments team also contribute to the delivery of the Pacific Festival Initiative.
She graduated from Elam School of Fine Arts in 2000 with a Bachelor of Fine Arts (Painting) and a Post Graduate Diploma in Arts Management from the University of Auckland Business School in 2003. She began her career as a lighting technician and music manager before moving into event and production management, producing, business management and development, and governance. Debs first joined our whānau in 2012 on a parental leave contract as the Senior Advisor for Dance, Multidisciplinary Arts and Festivals, and remained connected as a peer assessor and panel facilitator. Most recently, Debs was the Operational Strategy Advisor for Auckland Council’s arts and culture unit.
Manager, Funding, Assessment and Evaluation
Prior to joining Creative New Zealand in 2019, Penny held multiple management roles at the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment as Operations Manager/Vice Consul for Immigration New Zealand. Most recently, she worked in Ho Chi Minh City, being responsible for the operations in Vietnam. Penny has over 10 years of experience managing teams responsible for assessing and deciding applications across a multitude of areas, notably the international education sector and the horticulture/viticulture sector.
Manager, Special Programmes
Liz joined our whānau in 2018 to lead the development of Te Hā o ngā Toi, Creative New Zealand’s ngā Toi Māori strategy, and then led the team responsible for our response to Covid-19. She has experience in the education and Treaty of Waitangi sectors in various roles including programme management, investment and innovation, strategy development, business performance and relationship management.
Māori Strategy & Partnerships
Piki Diamond (PhD)
Manager, Māori Strategy & Partnerships
Piki’s (Ngāti Tūwharetoa, Ngapuhi) toto flows from the people and lands of Ngapūhi, Tūwharetoa and Pākehā. Her pono is shaped and nourished by her whānau, and also by the stories shared within taonga and lands of Tauranga Moana. These communities’ tikanga and kawa overflowing with aroha, carved her beliefs that continually define her actions. Piki’s curiosity led her to university, achieving degrees in a Bachelor of Visual Arts, MA in Māori Development with a focus on Bi-Worldview Art Education, and a PhD in Tertiary Education. Her doctoral studies explored the dynamic and fraught relationship between the higher learning of wānanga and the higher education of the university. Wānanga guidance provided through the teachings of ngā tohunga, Rangimarie Rose Pere and Hohepa Delamere.
At the heart of her research is the exploration of honouring Te Tiriti o Waitangi. Her mahi seeks the values systems in organisations which drives unconscious behaviour and how staff reconcile numerous value and belief systems. Her mahi at AUT, and UNESCO's Refugee Integration through Languages and the Arts (RILA) and Art Lab revealed what is required to begin embedding cultural safety and cultural justice into organisations. She brings knowledge from these experiences to the whānau of Toi Aotearoa to serve our ngā toi Māori sector.
Project Manager, Festival of Pacific Arts (FESTPAC 2024)
Ko Taupiri te maunga
Ko Waikato te awa
Ko te Wherowhero te tangata
He piko he taniwha
He piko he taniwha
Mikki-tae's (Waikato Tainui, Ngāti Koroki) upbringing under the mantle of the Kiingitanga developed the importance of manaakitanga, tikanga and matauranga. Throughout his working career he has hosted and produced large public events.
Senior Adviser, Māori Strategy & Partnerships - Kaiwhakamāhere Matua, Rautaki Māori me ngā Rangapu
Justine joined Toi Aotearoa in 2021 as the lead adviser for Māori organisations in the Toi Totara Haemata and Toi Uru Kahikatea investment programmes. With a career spanning the creative, public and not-for-profit sectors, Justine has both an eye for detail and an ongoing passion for the arts, with interests in ngā toi Māori and especially dance and Māori performing arts.
Justine is a distinguished graduate of the New Zealand School of Dance and is an experienced dance practitioner. She has contributed to the creation of new works and the re-mounting of seasoned works with some of Aotearoa’s most recognizable choreographers and dance companies including Black Grace, Mau Dance Theatre, Louise Pōtiki-Bryant, Jack Gray, Auckland Dance Company, and Kahurangi NZ Dance Theatre. Justine was also a founding member of Atamira Dance Company performing and collaborating throughout Atamira’s 23 year trajectory.
Before Toi Aotearoa Justine was involved with kaupapa Māori organisations both in the public and not-for-profit sector, and she brings with her an array of skills contributing to financial management and analysis, reporting and policy development practices.
Justine currently lives on her papakāinga in Te Tii Mangonui, where she lives with her whānau including three beautiful children (15, 14 and 4). Whānau are everything to her and this includes the whānau she works with and the whānau she works for.
Mana Pasifika Navigator
+64 (0)27 321 3020
Erolia’s experience in the arts spans over 30 years as an actor, writer, director, arts management and video/digital production. Born in Christchurch, she is a co-founder of the influential and pioneering arts collective Pacific Underground with national and international productions. She has been an artist in residence at the Mcmillan Brown Centre, Canterbury University and has presented and toured works in Oceania including the Festival of Pacific Arts in Noumea, UNESCO Arts in Education in Fiji and Pacific History Association in Samoa. She is the co-writer with Oscar Kightley of the comedy/satire play Romeo and Tusi (published by Playmarket NZ)
Most recently, Erolia was the Executive Producer for indie kiwi company Transmit for the Fat Freddy’s digital web series MARAUDERS (4 seasons with 6 episodes per season) produced for Radio NZ by Transmit and made with the support of NZ On Air - launched online in October 2023.
She has helped support delivery of the annual Creative New Zealand Arts Pasifika Awards (part-time) since 2011 and has managed other strategic projects and major partnerships including the #DigitalMoana Pacific Arts Legacy Project and CNZ-Penguin Random House (NZ) partnership for the Pacific Arts Aotearoa Book, an initiative under the Pacific Arts Strategy. Erolia’s recent Mana Pasifika Navigator role adorns the space between Creative New Zealand Pacific Arts and artists, stakeholders, co-investors and communities for long-term strategic outcomes.
Manager Pacific Arts, Enterprise
+64 (0)27 620 9628
No ka pae ‘āina ‘o Hawai’i
‘O Wai’anae ka moku
‘O Ka’ala ka mauna
‘O Kawikaka’iulani ko’u inoa.
Kawika is the inaugural Manager, Pacific Arts and supports the Senior Manager in funding and development programmes to provide expertise on Pacific arts in New Zealand and internationally.
His professional and creative experience as an events producer, heritage artist, and kanaka lomi (Native Hawaiian healer) informs his knowledge of the arts sector, creative potential, and the connection of people and place.
Prior to Creative New Zealand, Kawika spent 5 years at Porirua City Council working in Economic Development, Events management and at Pātaka Art + Museum. Before that, he gained invaluable knowledge and experience as an intern in the Pacific Collection at Te Papa, working with the Pacific Cultures and Collection Management teams.
In 2019, Kawika completed a Post Graduate Diploma in Kaitiakitanga: Bicultural Professional Supervision from Te Wānanga o Aotearoa. His kuleana (responsibility) is to serve people and the environment by being a connector that actively grows pono (genuine) relationships and facilitates opportunities for dynamic transformation.
Manager Pacific Arts, Cultivation
+64(0) 27 231 3741
Ali (Mutalau - Niue, Fakaofo -Tokelau, Nukufetau - Tuvalu, Pago Pago - America Samoa) is the Manager Pacific Arts, Cultivation who supports the delivery of the Pacific Arts Strategy 2023 - 2028, as well as funding and development programmes to provide expertise on Pacific Arts in Aotearoa and internationally.
Ali has more than 15 years’ experience in the arts and culture industry as an independent actor, writer and producer in Aotearoa with national and international works in theatre, festivals, film and television.
Prior to joining us at Creative New Zealand, Ali had been closely working with the Wellington City Council over the past few years with their events team, supporting the delivery of Pasifika, Matariki, Waitangi Day and Cupa Dupa.
His work focuses on growing the Vā in the Pacific Arts sector to empower artists and arts communities. He has a Bachelor of Performing Arts and a Master of Arts in Creative Writing from the International Institute of Modern Letters at Victoria University of Wellington.
Tracey leads the team tasked with delivering advocacy that aims to ensure that New Zealanders are highly engaged in the arts, support for the arts is broadened, and the arts sector’s voice is further empowered.
Tracey has spent her career working in the arts in Aotearoa, most recently as Head of Education & Public Programmes at City Gallery Wellington. Previous arts and cultural programming, management, communications and audience engagement roles include work for Massey University, Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa, Wellington City Council, and Television Spaceman.
Tracey is also an award-winning theatre set designer. She has created work for theatre companies including The Conch, Taki Rua, A Slightly Isolated Dog, and her own theatre company, Jealous.
Senior Adviser, Advocacy
Cara’s role is focused on engagement with local government.
She joined the Advocacy Team in June 2021 from the Dunedin City Council, where she was an arts advisor, promoting and supporting the Ōtepoti arts community. She was integral in the development of its arts policies including Ara Toi Ōtepoti Dunedin’s Arts and Culture Strategy, and the DCC’s Art and Creativity in Infrastructure Policy.
Policy and Performance
Co-Manager, Policy and Performance
+64 (04) 498 0709
Elizabeth job shares the role of managing our Policy and Performance team. She re-joined Creative New Zealand in 2017. From 2007 to 2011 she held the role of Senior Manager Planning, Performance and Stakeholder Relations. Prior to her roles with us Elizabeth worked for five years at Te Papa where she managed government relations, governance, business planning and policy as well as working on a range of special projects. Before that, she had a variety of roles in the science sector within the State sector. Elizabeth graduated from Victoria University of Wellington with a science degree. Elizabeth is based in our Wellington office.
Co-Manager, Policy and Performance
+64 27 605 8045
He uri tēnei no Ngāti Porou, Te Whakatōhea, Ngāti Kahungunu ki Wairarapa, Ngāti Kuia, Ngāti Koata me Ngāti Pākehā.
Aroha works alongside Elizabeth managing our Policy and Performance team. Aroha’s focus areas include Creative New Zealand’s research programme, policy under our Access, Inclusion and Equity focus area and Māori policy, research and organisational performance. Aroha re-joined the Creative New Zealand whānau in 2019. Prior to this, she worked in a range of community arts project management and policy roles in central and local government and arts organisations in Aotearoa and the United Kingdom. Aroha in based in our office in Te Whanganui-a-Tara.