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Vision and Mission of He Waka Eke Noa

The He Waka Eke Noa Charitable Trust (A canoe on which anyone may embark) was set up in 2002 to facilitate and ensure the growth of all forms of the arts in Aotearoa with a particular focus on nurturing youth arts and arts for diverse communities. The trust has been active in the Tāmaki arts scene and in 2019 opened Kete Aronui, an accessible venue for arts practitioners in Onehunga. This was done with funding from Foundation North. 

At their meeting in January 2020 the trustees revised their focus and goals:

To facilitate arts access and to inspire arts practitioners and audiences, irrespective of social, economic or geographic isolation.

1. To prioritise the important place of Tangata Whenua of First Peoples of Aotearoa by honouring Te Titiri o
2. To support diversity and inclusiveness in the arts through agency, advocacy and opportunity.
3. To empower the well-being of the arts community through sustained support and guidance.
4. To lead the change, the growth and the development of the arts in Aotearoa by providing mentorship,
opportunities and facilities.

- To remain a fiscally viable, relevant, creative and high-contributing arts organisation in Tamaki-Makaurau
and Aotearoa New Zealand.
- To consolidate Kete Aronui as the affordable and culturally-responsive hub in Tāmaki-Makaurau for the arts community to connect, create and collaborate.
- To secure a space for performance and presentation for the arts community, creating a pathway to support
career development.
- To maintain and grow our outreach programmes with communities, youth and schools to enhance positive
arts experiences.



He Waka Eke Noa Charitable Trust has been running since 2002 after purchasing the Ugly Shakespeare Company. As well as continuing the successful tours nationwide, He Waka Eke Noa has maintained an active role in the arts community since then in the areas of production, innovation, mentorship and leadership. The Trust makes the arts accessible irrespective of social, economic or geographical isolation and the Trustees continue to support new initiatives that support this kaupapa. The Trust can deliver for the arts community based on the years the Trust has successfully been in operation through:

• Strong fiscally responsible governance

• Best practice in arts administration • Being aware of needs in the arts community

• Strong reputation as an arts practitioner in all areas

• Advocate for arts support in the Auckland community

• A reputation for delivering on time, on budget and on message

Examples of our work to date:

Kete Aronui - our venue in Onehunga. Accesible workshop and rehersal space for the arts community - connect - create - collaborate 


26 national tours - The Ugly Shakespeare Company - http://ugly.org.nz

KickArts radio - 7 years in operation delivering a weekly arts show on PlanetFM – we have since passed this to another arts group so we can focus on Kete Aronui

Production managed many of Auckland's signature events including Pasifika, Whau Day Out, Mana Day Out, Movies and Music in Parks, Waterview Tunnel Opening events, City Rail Link tunnel walk and InterAct Disability Arts Festival

Worked across the corporate divide providing consultation to organisations such as M and C Saatchi, the Well Connected Alliance, Mitre 10

We continue to support young and fledgling arts organisation through mentoring and support.



He Waka Eke Noa Charitable Trust is currently working with the Auckland Pride Festival, Papakura Business Association, Auckland Council and the Maunga Authority to deliver a range of events.

The Ugly Shakespeare Company has started its 26th National Tour in the South Island to rave reviews, and continues to work safely with schools in a level 2 environment.

Kete Aronui (http://ketearonui.org.nz) remains operational at Level's 1 and 2. We have 5 rooms available for hire, plus hot desks and meeting rooms. 


The Trust Board meets with the Executive Director at regular intervals for financial and business reports. Recommendations are made by the Executive Director as to project direction and day-to-day management. The Trust Board passes resolutions on any major financial decisions and discusses and implements overall strategy and directional objectives.

The Executive Director is charged with ensuring effective business management, including financial and employment transparency, as well as business direction and project management and development. All hiring and contracting is done in consultation with the Trust Board meetings, or where an urgent decision is required, email decisions are made.

He Waka Eke Noa Charitable Trust has a Governance Policy Framework that guides decisions, policy and strategic direction. Within this document is policy around financial reporting, relationships between the board and management plus health and safety and committee structure. Minutes are kept of all meetings.

The Trust undertakes a full audit each financial year in order to maintain transparency and apply for funding - one of its biggest revenue streams. 




Our Trustees

David Clendon - Chairperson

David is a resident of the Bay of Islands, following the excellent example set by many of his Pākehā and Māori antecedents. Unlike his fellow board members he claims no particular tendency to creativity, other than his academic career having involved regular performances in lecture halls, and an eight year stint as an MP observing and participating in Parliamentary theatrics. He does bring to the Trust a solid grounding in business, primarily as a small business owner, along with experience as a sustainability advisor to business and public sector entities large and small. He has been a board member since 2009 and took over as chair in 2017, reflecting his on-going commitment to and belief in the value of facilitating access to the arts and cultural experiences. He is currently serving a term as a Councillor in the Far North District, and is often to be found in his happy place, riding motorcycles just for fun.

Gael Haining Ede

Based in Palmerston North Gael has been actively involved in the arts for over 40 years as a director, actor and producer. She has worked and toured professionally as well as supported community arts through her extensive history with Palmerston North local theatre. She has a love of music, cuisine and the arts and has travelled extensively. She brings to the trust a considered and experienced lens in the arts and the wider workings of the world. She has worked in the health sector for many years and offers a unique perspective to the trust and its governance. Gael has also toured with the Ugly Shakespeare Company in its second year on the road so understands the challenges that brings to our team on the road. 

Emmett Skilton

Emmett is a New Zealand-born actor, director, and screenwriter. He has worked in over 50 productions in film, television and theatre, with most recognising him as the young God-in-the-making, Axl Johnson, from TV3’s The Almighty Johnsons, Sam Giancana in Netflix’s Making Of The Mob, Victor Lownes in American Playboy for Amazon Studios, and most recently, Ed Orgeron, in Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson’s comedy series, Young Rock. Through his work in front of the camera, Emmett has gained a passion for writing, directing, and producing, most recently directing more than 70 episodes of Shortland Street for Television New Zealand, the film Thirteen Suspectswritten by Rachel Lang, and award-winning web shows, Auckward Love and Millennial Jenny, which he also co-wrote and produced.Emmett is also a regular tutor, mentor and advisor to the board at the Auckland-based drama school, The Actors' Program, and is a collaborator for the new director training initiative, The Directors' Program, alongside Peter Burger and Simon Bennett. 

Lara Macgregor

Lara has worked as an actor, director and acting coach in New Zealand, Australia and the United States. After ten years performing in the U.S, she completed a Post Grad Diploma in Directing from N.I.D.A in Sydney, became Associate Artistic Director at The Court Theatre in Christchurch 2008-2010, and then Artistic Director at Fortune Theatre in Dunedin 2010-2015. Lara currently freelances within all disciplines in theatre, television, and film for multiple New Zealand organisations including: South Pacific Pictures, Auckland Theatre Company, Centrepoint Theatre, The Court Theatre, Fortune Theatre, The Actors' Program, NASDA, and Otago University Theatre Studies.