A passion for language drives Zak’s relationship with the arts. Born and raised in West Auckland, creative writing appears to him as a means through which reflection and wellbeing can be realised. As an aspiring Young Adult novelist awarded placement within the NZSA creative mentorship programme during 2017, he boasts published prose in at total of six anthologies.
Zak project manages Te Kahui, a creative writing programme for young inmates, which is currently running at Mt Eden Corrections Facility in Auckland.
A driven young entrepreneur, Matthew founded YANZ in 2017 and is involved with several organisations within the creative sector, including songwriting competition Play It Strange and Auckland City of Music. Matthew received the 2018 AIMES Emerging Talent award for his work with Youth Arts New Zealand, and composes soundtracks for yet-to-be-made films in his down time.
At YANZ, Matthew is responsible for steering the ship, creating positive partnerships and overseeing the strategy of the organisation.
A talented musician and photographer/videographer, Harrison follows a passion of storytelling through the arts. He aims to push forwards the creative community of New Zealand using innovation and constructive ideation to create meaningful interactions between artists and their craft. Harrison’s goal is to push the envelope for what is possible and to be at the forefront of the creative industry.
Harrison takes the lead on the creative side of our projects, and everything involving tech!
Stacey is an experienced funding & philanthropy manager, with a personal background in the arts and creative sector. Having held several fundraising positions in the UK, she is now based back in Aotearoa, holding a Development Manager at the University of Auckland's law school.
"Having gone through art school myself I identified with the real need for an organisation such as YANZ to guide young people and support them with their creative outputs, industry liaison and professional development - the arts is a tough industry to enter and the more support available the more young people will be able to creatively contribute to Aotearoa’s social and economic well-being."
Josie is a skilled arts lawyer and board member based in Tāmaki Makaurau. She has previously sat on the board of Tautai, Aotearoa's leading Pacific Arts Organisation, and has worked as a freelance journalist for more than 2 decades.
"We need a little less conversation and endless surveys about the arts and how nice it is to have them in our lives and a LOT MORE ACTION! I see initiatives like YANZ as being part of that action."
Tania is a strategic coach, governance guru and not-for-profit expert based in Upper Hutt. She joined the YANZ team as Chairperson in June 2020,. Currently the Chair of Volunteering NZ and the director of Clear Thinking Coaching, Tania has a broad range of experience - from education and management, to not-for-profit governance and youth development.
"Ensuring that our youth can and do live to their potential through community collaboration and education is an area I advocate for at all levels".
Sam is an internationally-regarded creative industries and film executive, having previously held CMO, business development and sales roles at companies such as Lionsgate in New York City and Viacom in London. She is now a director and CEO of multiple companies across the creative and film sectors, and has recently established The AMO Group and is developing in Gisborne Tairawhiti, TORO Production, Animation & Technology Studios to grow Aotearoa New Zealand’s screen production and creative technology training sectors.
Toss is a business adviser and director based in Tāmaki Makaurau. After becoming General Manager of a leading wholesale supply company by the age of twenty-five, he is now the founder and director of Wolf and Fox, mentoring over a hundred successful SMEs across different industries. Toss is also a registered member of New Zealand’s Institute of Directors, and has completed his MBA at Warwick Business School in the UK.
"For people to feel fulfilled they need purpose. The creative arts are a way to allow larger numbers of youth to find this and have goals, aspirations and a way to express themselves."
Creativity is the 3rd most important skill young people need to thrive in the fourth industrial revolution. Through recognising both the social and economic benefits of creativity, we are able to create initiatives that holistically support and develop our young creatives.