Following 24 successful years of development and support, in 2018 the Nelson City Council moved the Nelson Arts Festival into a community-based, autonomous organisation to enable it to grow and flourish.
Community & Education Director
Marketing & Communications Manager (Night Vision Lead)
Mask Carnivale Assistant
Pukapuka Talks Coordinator
Technical Director &
Head of Lighting
Head of Sound
Head of AV
The Board’s Chair and Trustees were appointed through a public and transparent process led by the Nelson City Council.
The Trustees have combined experience in governance, business, central and local government, and arts promotion and management. They are:
Brent Thawley has over 20 years’ experience in the wider cultural and sports sector, working in non-profit organisations and central and local Government. He has held senior leadership roles within Sport NZ and Creative New Zealand.
Ali, a broadcaster by profession, has been involved with arts in Nelson since moving to New Zealand in 1996. She ran the Nelson Bays Arts Marketing Trust, is a former Deputy Mayor of Nelson City Council, and the former Head of International and Business Development for WOW. She is now Chief Executive of Nelson Tasman Chamber of Commerce.
Cynthia is from Tasman and works nationwide as an employment relations / HR consultant with an emphasis on dispute resolution. She is a trained NZ mediator across a range of forums including employment. Cynthia supports the Trust with HR and Contractor oversight and is experienced in operational and strategic HR matters. Her work as an HR Specialist at NZ School Trustees has given her wide experience across the education sector and a strong understanding of governance.
Gemma, is a born and bred Nelsonian with a passion for the arts, and a life-long interest in dance. Having run a dance studio until 2016, she has been involved in sourcing and preparing entertainment for many community, sporting and cultural events, and taught both performing arts and dance in numerous schools. With a diploma in performing arts, she has coached competitive dancers to the world championships. Currently she works in the events industry running nationwide dance events, competitions and showcases.
Gemma has also worked on the Fringe Festival, International Arts Festival, Cuba Street Carnival and WOW, as well as the opening Entertainment for the All Blacks test matches and Bledisloe Cup.
Her board experience includes being the current vice chair of the First Years Community pre-school board and she is a member of the national dance board -Street Dance New Zealand.
Zoe is involved in many Nelson community initiatives, including being instrumental in advocating for the voice of young people for accessible mental health services. She interacts with many community groups and projects through organisations such as Whanake Youth, and the Nelson Youth Council. Currently, Zoe works for a supported employment agency, helping people with physical or intellectual disabilities to find sustainable employment.
The Nelson arts scene is a significant part of Zoe’s life. She plays the tenor saxophone in the Nelson Jazz Club Big Band, is a committee member for the Nelson Jazz Club, and has been on the organising group for the annual Nelson Jazz Festival for the last 3 years. Zoe loves to dance and has recently started a salsa class to further her skills.
Sarah has a strong background in governance in local government, as well as community engagement and in arts management with the Salisbury International Arts Festival in the United Kingdom. She gained extensive experience in developing strategy and policy while working for the Nelson City Council for six years. She has had a life-long involvement with the arts.
Johannah is big on diversity & inclusion. Over the last couple of years, Johannah has strengthened her governance abilities alongside her iwi in Te Tauihu. She now contributes to the Pōneke and Te Tauihu regions in a number of wider cultural and Māori economic leadership positions. Currently working in non-profit Māori organisations, she is a young HR & Strategy professional.
After consultation with the community, the Trust has developed a strategy to guide the new organisation through this important transition and to continue to build the Festival as New Zealand's most unmissable.
If you would like to contact any board members they can be reached via email@example.com