I grew up in Coromandel Town in the 1970/80s, a time where everyone was either a teacher, potter, weaver, musician or artist. This is where my life long connection to the creative industries began, and my desire to one day open my own “Craft Store,” as this is what I saw around me growing up.
In my early twenties, while pursuing my own arts practice making ceramics, I helped set up Weta Design Store in Coromandel Town, which sold local & New Zealand made art & craft. I moved to Wellington a few years later and worked at The Vault Design Store where I was assistant manager. I relocated to Hamilton after a year and a half to attend Waikato Polytechnic and completed a Diploma in Business Studies while working at Texan Art Schools. I moved to New Plymouth and opened my own Art Gallery when I was twenty
five – Kina NZ Design & Art Space. It was while owning and running Kina that I really learned about promoting artists and selling their works, as I held monthly exhibitions in my gallery space, while also running the design store aspect of the business.
During this time, I also became involved with The Govett-Brewster Art Gallery and was the president of the Monica Brewster Club for two years.
I was on the committee of the New Plymouth Districts Councils Art in Public Places project, and helped to organise and install some public sculptures in the city.
I sold my business when I was thirty to travel overseas and spent some time in India, settling eventually in the UK for a number of years. I worked at Ikon Gallery in Birmingham, an internationally acclaimed contemporary art gallery in the city, managing the art/book shop within the gallery.
I returned to New Zealand in 2008 and settled in Thames on the Coromandel Peninsula. Shortly after returning I opened Bounty, a NZ made Local Art Gallery which I have been running now for fourteen years. I have two girls, Uma and Eda who attend St Francis School in Thames. I’ve been on the Board of Trustees at the school for the last three years. I’m on the Board of Trustees for He Mana Toi Moehau Trust; Creative Coromandel, and I’m currently standing in our local body elections as a member for the Thames Coromandel District Councils Community Board.
My passion is for the arts and my long-standing involvement in the creative industries has taught me many skills. I like to connect and promote my artists, customers and our community, and have found a strong online presence via social media to be crucial to achieving this. Growing a social media customer base/community is just as important as the physical gallery/store space, this is particularly true since covid has disrupted many peoples ability to engage face to face in the community.
I believe strongly in advocating for Arts, Culture & Creativity as being important to the emotional & mental health of people and the positive results come from making the arts assessable to all. The social, cultural and financial well-being of a community can be uplifted by a strong, healthy creative community where ART can be a form of personal expression for all.