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Our board
are our
guiding light

Our Board of Trustees are a group of amazing individuals passionate about creativity and seeing the Waikato region thrive.

The role of the board

Our board is responsible for the future wellbeing of the organisation with a vision to elevate a Waikato Region that prospers on diverse and transformative creative activity. They hold the strategic vision for the organisation working to ensure we utilise and value creative thinking in everything we do. They care deeply about the people we work with and the sector we work for.

We look for multidisciplinary and intergenerational leadership throughout the organisation and the board are committed to being open-minded and inclusive in any decision making. The board strives to be mindful of all communities; Māori, Pasifika, LGBTQI, ethnic and disability communities, regional representation, and all various arts, culture and creative sectors from flax-roots community activation to the professional sector.

The board also ensures it has combined expertise in governance experience, thorough knowledge of the arts sector, strong networks and financial skills. Our volunteer board operates to proficient governance standards and is well supported by the very capable Creative Waikato management team.

Our board

Sam Cunnane


With a background in visual arts, Sam has worked in arts education of various forms for more than 20 years. He has held roles in teaching and leadership in the secondary and tertiary sectors, including national assessment development and managing an online community for teachers. His current role is as Group Director across the Business, Information Technology and Media Arts schools at Wintec includes leading a team of educators to develop our future creative professionals.

Alex Wilkinson

Deputy Chair

Alex is the maker behind Mystery Creek Ceramics and Kapu Uku. Alex is from Cambridge and took her time to find her passion. She began her ceramics journey in 2015 at the Waikato Society of Potters. Pottery helped Alex out of a period of depression and she is now passionate about teaching and making. Alex teaches two classes a week at the Waikato Society of Potters. Currently studying towards a Bachelor of Media Arts at Wintec in Hamilton, Alex can often be found in her studio sculpting or printmaking. Alex specialises in throwing on the wheel and nerikomi – the Japanese art of folding coloured clay.

Rachel Balme


Rachel is a chartered accountant and has worked in various accounting positions over the last 25 years. She is currently Director of AccountantsNZ which is a growing public practice accountancy firm based in Hamilton, with a branch in Taumarunui. Rachel has worked on various committees including the Local Leadership Team for Chartered Accountants Australia and New Zealand (CAANZ), as well as Treasurer and Chair for Hamilton Operatic Society. She is also a current trustee for Clarence Street Theatre.

Lauren Hughes


A North Waikato resident, Lauren is currently the National Development Manager for CDANZ – Career Development Association of New Zealand, mother of three, and a keen advocate for arts education, the development of local artists, and access to authentic arts experiences for all. Lauren also remains closely connected to Auckland where she worked as Creative Programmes Manager at THE EDGE (now Auckland Live), managed Auckland Council’s Arts Alive Fund and co-founded Red Leap Theatre. She also produced the PANNZ New Zealand Performing Arts Market for three years and stays connected to the national arts scene via contract work for organisations such as Creative New Zealand.

Caleb Osborne


Caleb was nurtured and raised in the fertile valleys of Te Rohe Potae (King Country). Connections to Waikato were cultivated throughout his upbringing but strengthened while living in Hamilton as a young adult and more recently being nestled in beautiful Whaingaroa (Raglan). Caleb’s background is one grounded in the social services sector and his own personal exploration of creativity. Working alongside individuals and groups in a therapeutic capacity, the power of creativity has been a pathway of facilitating connection, self-expression and a release and exchange of energy. Caleb is currently based in a studio/gallery space in Whaingaroa and also working in the community in a supportive role largely based around creative facilitation and community engagement. His belief in the power of creative expression for individual/collective wellbeing and importance of the arts sector in the Waikato has drawn him to joining the Creative Waikato Board.

Brad Jackson


Brad has a lifelong passion for the arts, in all their resplendent forms. He is a Professor of Leadership and Governance at Te Raupapa Waikato Management School. Brad previously served as Vice-Chair for Toi Whakaari: New Zealand Drama School, the Akina Foundation and the International Leadership Association. For many years he has been actively engaged in leadership development in the creative sector. Brad is committed to growing a stronger Waikato from social, environmental, cultural and economic perspectives. He serves as programme director for the Community Enterprise Leadership (CELF) Elevate Programme.

Keen to join the board?

New trustees are appointed annually in accordance with the trust deed, usually for a three-year term. From time-to-time new trustees can be co-opted, if necessary.