Through the years...

History - 2015

Written on December 4, 2017

Taken from the President’s Annual Report.

The past year has proven to be another very busy and highly successful one for our organisation. Our AGM and Conference in Christchurch was a great success and attendance numbers exceeded our expectations. Once again those who attended took the opportunity to participate in the informative seminars and forums presented by some of the best presenters available and also soaked up the networking opportunities. Our thanks must go to our hosts Showbiz Christchurch and especially to Violet Blay chair of the organising committee for the support they gave to Kate in putting the whole weekend together. I would also like to thank Dr Anna Crighton for her opening presentation on the Isaac Theatre Royal rebuild.

We are most grateful for the on-going support we receive from our corporate members at conference time not only by supplying equipment but also the manpower to transport, install and operate this equipment at no cost to MTNZ. I would like to thank David Bosworth, The Light Site and Glen Ruske, BOUNCE NZ for their on-going sponsorship in this area.  Special thanks to our other Conference Gold Partners – iTICKET, Firework Professionals and Origin Theatrical.  We also receive sponsorship towards meals, drinks, awards and the provision of presenters/speakers for the many forums and seminars that are now an integral part of our annual meeting. My thanks to all those who support MTNZ in these areas.

Special thanks go to our Conference Platinum Partners John Herber Limited and NZ Fire Shield Limited who are also our major sponsors as they continue to generously sponsor your organisation. This support received from Graeme, Diane, Deane, Mark and Amanda enables MTNZ to operate under a lot less financial pressure and allows us to undertake projects that otherwise could not possibly be considered.


The Youth Initiatives we have implemented have continued to meet with your approval and an amazing response.  In July we held the first ever MTNZ NextGen Workshop and Forum, which was attended by some 30 plus young and enthusiastic Next Gen members of MTNZ. I was blown away by the intelligence, eloquence  and general demeanour of these young people. My grateful thanks go to General Manager Kate and Ngaire Holmes, Zone Two Representative, for arranging the forum, agenda and the behind the scenes logistics.

Thanks to Vice President Terry, and Next Gen Representative Gwen, for facilitating such an informative day . Thank you too, to our industry representatives, Lisa Maule from Toi Whakaari, Tanya Kopytko from DANZ, Simon Vincent from Creative NZ and Chris Burton from Palmerston North Boys High School, thank you for taking the time out from your busy schedules to be with us for the day.  Last but by no means least, Tracy Holmes and Rochelle Nicholson for keeping us all well fed and watered on the day.

The initiatives that were suggested at the meeting have all been collated, and this has resulted in a NextGen Training Weekend to be held in Dunedin in August 2016.

Weekend Workshop – Wellington

After the success of the four directing musicals schools and the feedback received– the MTNZ Executive agreed to answer the call for some further workshops and training, and this was held in Wellington in early September at Toi Whakaari.

Huge thanks to our fantastic tutors – Cameron Rhodes, Kaarin Macaulay, Kathryn Osborne and Annie Pearce. Thank you for sharing your knowledge, expertise, craft and the love of theatre with our course attendees.  Special thanks to Team Toi Whakaari – Craig Atkins especially, for your sponsorship of the venue and help with setting up rooms and all the admin that goes on before the actual event. To our sponsors for the weekend – BOUNCE NZ - Glen Ruske and Karen Ruske – we really appreciate your ongoing support of MTNZ training initiatives – it’s awesome- thank you. My thanks also to GM Kate and Zone Three Representative Sharron Pardoe for all their work behind the scenes and over the weekend.  The feedback from this weekend has been fantastic and so positive.

Executive Meetings

The Executive met three times during the year in Rotorua and Wellington.  My thanks to both Rotorua Musical Theatre and Porirua Little Theatre and Amici Productions and their respective Boards for the hospitality shown to us during our visits.

So what do we do best? I refer to our Strategic Plan which, thanks to an outstanding contribution from Vice President Terry, is now firmly entrenched in our psyche!

  • Our Vision: Connecting Communities Creatively
  • Our Mission: One voice to educate, support and advocate; enriching all aspects of theatre in our community.

Surely this is what we do best, and I am determined in my tenure as President that we continue to support our plan. The Executive is a strong team and I applaud all the work that they are doing individually and collectively in getting around their zones and encouraging people to attend workshops and zone meetings.


Towards the end of 2014, we asked all member societies to complete an on line survey, which has been managed by Dr Glenn Vallender, a long time stalwart of musical theatre. I can only thank Glenn and Steve from Solletec Solutions, for managing the survey data. Again in 2015 it was at times a slow and painful process. I can only implore you all, that when asked in future years to repeat the exercise, you do so promptly, as it does help the Executive as we apply for funding to continue to provide you the members with continued support and expertise. The survey request will come every year, so forewarned is forearmed!

Life Membership of MTNZ was awarded to

  • Ian Reid
  • Graeme Philip
  • Diane Philip

During the 2015 year MTNZ said farewell to some wonderful supporters of community theatre in New Zealand, all have made a huge contribution at both local and national level to the theatre community and will be very much missed. We remember John Antony QSM and Ray Spence – Life Members of MTNZ and long serving Executive members

Executive - 2015

Patron Mrs Donna Philpott, QSM
Life Members Mrs Donna Philpott QSM, Mr Tim Blennerhassett, Mr Jim Fenton QSO, Mrs Shona Spencer, Miss Sandra Sewell, Mr John MacGibbon, Mr Kevin Murphy, Mr Len Speir, Mr Ray Spence, Mr Markham Lee, Mr Graeme Philip, Mrs Diane Philip, Mr Ian Reid
President Mrs Lesley Carthew, Napier
Vice President Mr Terry O’Connor, Auckland
Zone One Representative Mrs Pauline Vella, Auckland
Zone Two Representative Mrs Ngaire Holmes, Hamilton
Zone Three Representative Mrs Sharron Pardoe, Wellington
Zone Four Representative Mr Ross Benbow, Nelson
Zone Five Representative Mrs Helen Horsnell, Dunedin
Nextgen Representative Ms Gwen Lyon, Hamilton
Business Advisor Mr Kevin Murphy, New Plymouth
Hon Auditor Mr Len Speir, Tauranga
Hon Solicitor Mr Markham Lee, Christchurch
General Manager Ms Kate Ghent, Wellington
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