“It was all about setting up new ways of bringing in funds for the arts at a time when the city had many competing priorities – and that’s still our mission today; opening doors for all kinds of people to give.”
How would you describe what you do?
I run a company called Brown Bread that rallies communities and brands to do good stuff – ultimately working to make Aotearoa New Zealand a more creative place. Within that, we run The Arts Foundation Te Tumu Toi, and work for other great clients like Objectspace and the Kiwibank New Zealander of the Year Awards Ngā Tohu Pou Kōhure o Aotearoa.
What was your most recent project?
Through The Arts Foundation Te Tumu Toi we’ve recently launched the Toi Ko Iriiri Queer Arts award – a new annual Laureate award that will celebrate an outstanding artist or collective of artists whose practice has a meaningful impact on the queer community. It was an amazing process working with Ōtautahi philanthropist Hall Cannon and the queer community (who we engaged to help us develop the award over a period of 16 months). We learned so much and we’re so excited to see who the inaugural recipient will be in 2022.
What project have you worked on that you’re the most proud of?
Working with the Christchurch Art Gallery Te Puna o Waiwhetu to build a new culture of giving around the visual arts in the city. It was all about setting up new ways of bringing in funds for the arts at a time when the city had many competing priorities – and that’s still our mission today; opening doors for all kinds of people to give.
What is essential for creatives to have in their life?
Time. And respect.
What inspires you about Ōtautahi?
The surges of creativity that have happened in this place at particular times. And the potential for us to be the creative capital of Aotearoa one day!
What piece of advice about your creative work has served you well?
Learn to love making things up every day. As David Bowie says, “If you feel safe in the area you’re working in, you’re not working in the right area. Always go a little further into the water than you feel you’re capable of being in. Go a little bit out of your depth. And when you don’t feel that your feet are quite touching the bottom, you’re just about in the right place to do something exciting.”
What’s the biggest misconception about your creative work?
That because I work in an office I can’t be creative.
What Christchurch artists do you most admire?
Julia Morison and Emma Fitts. And Chessie Henry – award-winning author and one of the Brown Bread team!
What artwork/piece of music/performance has taken your breath away?
Te Wheke: Pathways Across Oceania at Christchurch Art Gallery Te Puna o Waiwhetū – a vast exhibition exploring migration and belonging. It’s amazingly well curated and I love how it’s changed over time.
What do you wish you’d have known about creative work when you were younger?
That you don’t have to be visually creative to be creative. The gates to creativity can be completely blown apart. The gate keepers have lost their jobs!
What’s your favourite hidden secret in Ōtautahi?
Sandeep at Bawarchi Christchurch. You can’t find a better hospitality experience. Full of love.