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Tauranga Arts Festival director stepping down

Jo Bond, Tauranga Arts Festival director. Image: Sandra Simpson
Jo Bond to step down after helming four festivals


Tauranga Arts Festival, which opens on October 24, has today announced that it is seeking a director for events from 2020 with the news that Jo Bond is stepping down after this year’s festival.

“It’s with great sadness that we’re saying goodbye to Jo as our director,” says Kathryn Lellman, chair of the festival’s board of trustees. “She has been an outstanding director for four festivals but has decided it’s time to move on.

“All the team – staff, volunteers and trustees – wish her well in her future endeavours and we are so appreciative of her passion for the festival. In her typical understated style she didn’t want to announce her news at the recent festival launch at Baycourt, preferring to ensure the focus remained firmly on the programme.

“Her ability to remain calm under pressure and produce a superb 10-day festival for all ages and interests always impresses us. We know how much goes on behind the scenes but nothing is too much trouble for Jo and she had been a large part of the reason why our festival has a sterling reputation for its programme and for treating its artists well, so much so that we often have requests to come and perform.”

Ms Bond joined the festival team in 2003 as a part-time administrator. She became general manager in 2011 before taking on the top job in 2013 – the Tauranga festival’s first female director. She has also established the three-day Escape! festival, which next takes place in June 2020.

Her role has included attending the world’s largest arts festival in Edinburgh, as well as festivals in The Netherlands, Shanghai and all over Australia as she searched out new acts. Ms Bond has also worked on a number of other festivals locally, nationally and internationally, including the Jazz Festival, Tauranga Garden and Arts Festival, WOMAD in New Plymouth, and she has volunteered at the Wilderness Festival in Britain.

Ms Bond says one of the most rewarding aspects of her job has been helping nurture new talent, citing the play Daffodils, which performed at the 2015 Tauranga festival and which has recently been made into a successful movie.

“That, and exposing our theatre-makers and creatives of tomorrow to the best of today.”

Mrs Lellman says the position of director is crucial to the 10-day festival’s ongoing success. “Tauranga has been so lucky to have had four dynamic directors from the first festival in 1999. The fifth director will have big shoes to fill.”

Nationwide advertising for the role begins on September 10. Ms Bond, after winding up the paperwork for this year’s festival, which ends on November 3, will stay on into the new year to assist the new director into the role.

See this year’s Tauranga Arts Festival programme at Earlybird ticket offers end on September 13.

Written by

Sandra Simpson

9 Sep 2019