Our Council

Creative New Zealand is a Crown entity governed by the Arts Council. The council encourages, promotes and supports New Zealand arts to benefit all New Zealanders. It upholds the right to artistic freedom and promotes a New Zealand identity in the arts.

Role and responsibilities

The council:

  • sets the strategic direction of Creative New Zealand and monitors its performance 
  • sets guidelines for the allocation of funding and the implementation of initiatives
  • establishes assessment processes for the allocation of funding
  • maintains relationships with other agencies and organisations.

The council must uphold the principles of:

  • participation, by supporting initiatives that encourage participation in the arts
  • access, by supporting initiatives that provide access to the arts for those that may not otherwise have the opportunity
  • excellence and innovation, by supporting work that develops the creative potential of artists and artforms
  • professionalism, by maintaining and developing a professional arts infrastructure in New Zealand
  • advocacy, by promoting New Zealand art and artists at home and overseas.

The council recognises:

  • the cultural diversity of New Zealand
  • in the arts, the role of Māori in arts as tangata whenua
  • the arts of the Pacific Island peoples of New Zealand.

For more detail read the Arts Council of New Zealand Toi Aotearoa Act 2014 at legislation.govt.nz

More about how the Arts Council works

Māori and Pacific representation

The Council includes:

  • a minimum of four members with knowledge of Māori Arts, te ao Māori (a Māori world view) and tikanga Māori (Māori protocol and culture) appointed in consultation with the Minister of Māori Development
  • two members with knowledge of the arts, and the traditions or cultures, of the Pacific Island peoples of New Zealand, appointed in consultation with the Minister of Pacific Peoples.

Members of the Council 

Caren Rangi ONZM (Chair) of Hawkes Bay, is of Cook Islands Māori descent and is a former member of the Pacific Arts Committee of Creative New Zealand. She is an experienced public sector governance practitioner, with a passion for Cook Islands Māori dance, music and cultural history. Caren is a qualified accountant and auditor and an experienced governance practitioner and facilitator.  Caren is a board member for the Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa, Pacific Homecare Services, and Pacific Inc Ltd. She is also a Board director of the Cook Islands Investment Corporation in Rarotonga, and of Pacific Co-operation Broadcasting Ltd. In 2018 Caren was made an Officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit for her services to governance and the Pacific community.


Briar Grace-Smith ONZM of Wellington is of Ngāti Hau and Ngā Puhi descent. She is an award winning writer of plays, screenplays, short fiction and television. Her plays include Haruru Mai, When Sun and Moon Collide and Purapurawhetū, with her first play Ngā Pou Wāhine winning the 1995 Bruce Mason Playwriting Award. She was one of eight Māori women filmmakers who created the acclaimed feature film omnibus Waru in 2017 which screened in Official Selection at the 2017 Toronto International Film Festival, before going on to screen all over the world at festivals such as ImagineNATIVE, Hawai’i International Film Festival and Palm Springs International Film Festival. Her television credits include Mataku, Fishskin Suit, Kaitangata Twitch, Being Eve, and Billy, as well as This is Piki in 2017. Briar was also a recipient of the Arts Foundation Laureate Award and was made an Officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit in 2018 for her contribution to theatre, television and screen.

Garth Gallaway of Christchurch is a lawyer and a partner in Chapman Tripp. He has extensive experience in civil litigation, insurance law, and health and safety defence work. He is also experienced in alternative dispute resolution, especially mediation. He is the Chair of the Arts Foundation of New Zealand Trustees and the Maia Health Foundation. He is a collector of New Zealand art, a trustee of the Christchurch Art Gallery Trust, Chairman of the W.A. Sutton Charitable Trust and Honorary President of New Zealand Football. He was a member of the Dunedin Public Art Gallery and a member of the Film and Literature Review Board.

Robyn Hunt ONZM of Wellington has a background in media, the disability community, human rights and policy. She was one of the instigators of New Zealand’s first disability TV series, and has won media and communications awards. She was a human rights commissioner with disability responsibility from 2002 – 2010. With many years arts involvement she has extensive arts access experience, winning the 2019 Arts Access Accolade. A writer, she co-founded Crip the Lit, a project based initiative to celebrate Deaf and disabled writers and ensure their unique voices and stories are included and valued in mainstream writing in New Zealand.

Riria Hotere-Barnes of Te Awamutu is of Ngāti Maniapoto, Te Aupōuri, Te Rarawa and Ngātiwai descent. She is a graduate of Te Panekiretanga o te Reo Māori (Rangapū 7). She is an educator, author, theatre actress, television actress and presenter. Riria began her career acting in Te Reo Māori children’s plays with Taki Rua Productions. She starred as Mere in the flagship Māori TV ‘edutainment’ series, Kōrero Mai. She has toured internationally, acting as Tilly in the play Woman Far Walking. This tour culminated in performing at FestPAC in 2004. Riria held the position of Senior Education Programme Developer Māori at Te Papa, where she also presented the series Tales from Te Papa. Her achievements include winning the NZ Post Children’s Book Award for Non-Fiction with co-author Simon Morton for 100 Amazing Tales from Aotearoa. This is a book of stories of taonga compiled from episodes of Tales from Te Papa.  Recently, Riria was a presenter on the iconic tv series Coast New Zealand. With a career in the Arts that spans two decades, Riria brings a depth of knowledge and wide range of skills to the Arts Council. 

Roger King is from the Hawke’s Bay and has more than two decades of experience in the arts. He has served as WOMAD Festival Programme Director and Artistic Director of the Taranaki Festival of the Arts and the Lake Taupo Festival. He is a former chair of Chamber Music New Zealand, The Big Idea and Creative Hawke’s Bay. He is currently chair of the Cape Coast Arts and Heritage Trust.


Janine Morell-Gunn of Christchurch, is of Ngāi Tahu and Ngati Kahungungu descent and founder and co-director of WhitebaitMedia. Since 1999 WhitebaitMedia has served as a springboard for young creative talent supporting NZs screen industry. Janine has been responsible for the creation and production of many of New Zealand ‘s leading children’s programmes including What Now, Bumble, The Erin Simpson Show, 2Kaha, Darwin & Newts and Fanimals. Janine is the former TVNZ Head of Children’s Programmes and has served on the Screen Production and Development Association, Women in Film and Television and St Margaret’s College Board. She currently chairs the Cholmondeley Children’s Centre Trust Board, is the Vice chair of The Uru Manuka Trust and on the Maia Health Foundation Board. She is a strong advocate for giving young people a voice, growing confidence in our youth and celebrating our cultural diversity.

John Ong of Wellington is a management consultant who specialises in implementing strategies, programmes and continuous improvement. He has extensive knowledge and experience in the arts sector, including previously leading Creative New Zealand’s investment programmes and serving on the Footnote New Zealand Dance board. John is also the co-founder of Bureau Workspaces, a coworking space in Wellington and ClinkID, a cloud-based research tool provider.

Kura Moeahu of Te Kāhui Maunga Te Āti Awa, Ngā Ruahine, Ngāti Ruanui, Ngāti Mutunga, Ngāti Tama, Taranaki-tuturu and Ngāti Toa descent, was raised in both Wainuiomata and Waiwhetu. He is the Tumu Whakarae/Principle Cultural Adviser of Parliament and often sought for his knowledge in Mātauranga Māori as well as Tikanga Maori, and is currently the Chair of Te Rūnanganui o Te Āti Awa ki te Upoko o te Ika a Maui. Kura is also Chair of the Harbour Island Kaitiaki Board, Āti Awa Toa FM Radio Station and Waiwhetu Marae. He is passionate about the revitalisation, promoting and the inclusiveness of traditional Maori arts and cultural in all aspects, and domains. 

Luamanuvao Dame Winnie Laban DNZM of Wellington was Chair of the former Pacific Arts Committee of Creative New Zealand. She is Assistant Vice Chancellor (Pasifika) at Victoria University. This follows a Parliamentary career as the Member of Parliament for Mana, Minister of Pacific Island Affairs, Minister for the Community and Voluntary Sector, and Associate Minister of Social Development, Economic Development, and Trade. Elected in 1999, Luamanuvao was the first Pacific Island woman in the New Zealand Parliament.

Michael Prentice of Christchurch is owner and Director of Thinking Out Loud, a strategic consultancy that works with organisations and brands to help clarify and communicate their story. Michael was formerly Managing Director of the Christchurch office of strategic design consultancy Designworks and Group Strategic Director for Strategy Design and Advertising. He has extensive managerial and commercial skills and has developed the brand and advertising strategies of some of New Zealand's most recognised brands. Michael was a member of the former Arts Board of Creative New Zealand. He founded and chaired the trust board of contemporary dance company, Black Grace and is a former director of Auckland’s performing arts facilities organisation, The Edge.

Dean Whiting (Chair, Kōmiti Māori) of Wellington is of Te Whānau a Apanui descent. He is the Director of Māori heritage at Heritage New Zealand Pouhere Taonga and leads the Māori built heritage conservation programme. He has also worked in private practice as a Māori taonga conservator directly for tribal groups and also in Māori design and arts field. Participation and local leadership are the key elements of the work he leads with Māori communities to preserve and protect their cultural heritage sites and buildings. Revitalisation of traditional arts and cultural practice are integral elements of that process. Dean was formally trained at the University of Canberra in the Conservation of Cultural Materials with further Study at the ACCU Training Course on Conservation of Wooden Structures, Nara, Japan.