The Judges 2015

Jeff Carr

I have been working as a professional musician for 27yrs. I manage Music Planet on Broadway and I also teach guitar and play locally in numerous band/duo projects. Last year I was on the board of trustees for Access Radio Manawatu representing the Youth Council.

In another lifetime my band Scarf reached no#9 on the Nz Charts back in `91.

Through out the 90’s I was the Nz Clinician-demonstrator for Ibanez, Washburn and Peavey guitars as well as Marshall, Peavey and Soldano amplifiers.

David Stevens

David Stevens is a born and raised Palmerstonian musician. He has played in numerous original live bands including the Rockquest winning ‘Us As Robots’. David worked at the PNCC supported ‘Creative Sounds’ recording studio and performance space for two years and has since managed the student radio station ‘Radio Control’ on Massey University campus. He is also the convener of the Creative Sounds management committee, co-director of local DIY music performance space ‘Great Job!’, a contributor to Massey University’s ‘Massive Magazine’ and a regular volunteer and enthusiast in Palmerston North’s local music scene.

Israel Birch

Israel Birch (Ngapuhi, Ngai Tawake, Ngati Kahungunu, Ngati Rakaipaaka) is considered one of New Zealand’s most talented young Maori artists. His work is identified by his unique practice of painting with light. He achieves the highly polished surfaces by applying multiple layers of pigment and lacquer over ground and etched stainless steel.

Israel earned a Bachelor of Visual Arts from the Eastern Institute of Technology, Napier and a Masters in Maori Visual Arts at Massey University’s School of Maori Studies, Te Putahi-a-Toi. He is a lecturer at Te Putahi-a-Toi, in the Bachelor of Maori Visual Arts programme, and is a full-time practicing artist.

Jaqueline Benndorf

Jaqueline Benndorf, originally from Uruguay, has lived in New Zealand for many years. She is a practising visual artist and has long been actively involved in the arts. She has recently finished her eight year role as Marketing, PR and Strategic Development for ‘The Learning Connexion’, which is New Zealands largest tertiary arts provider, choosing to take up the ‘People and Partnerships Leader’ role here at Te Manawa Museum of Art, Science and History.

Jaqueline feels a complete alignment with, and is excited by, Te Manawa’s vision of being ‘a museum without boundaries’. She looks forward to building deep relationships between it, herself and the community and to amplify community ownership of its spaces to maximise the potential for collaboration.

Jaqueline has also been instrumental in the formation of Passionart New Zealand Inc here in Palmerston North during the past four years and is highly supportive of its vision of ‘Creativity Empowering Community’.

Leonel Alvarado

Leonel made Aotearoa his home in 2002 after living in the United States, when he came to lecture in Spanish language and Latin American literature and culture at Massey University. He has published several award-winning books of poetry, fiction and criticism in Latin America and the USA. In 2013, his book Retratos mal hablados, was judged runner-up in Latin America’s most prestigious poetry award, Casa de las Américas, and in 2014 was published in Cuba and New Zealand. His latest book, Xibalbá, Texas, was awarded the 2014 Central American Literary Award Rogelio Sinán in Panama. For more info on his books

Stephen Fisher

Stephen was head of Performing Arts at Awatapu College for thirty three years before his recent retirement. He has also been involved in music and drama here in Palmerston North for sometime, working as Musical Director for many major theatre productions, as well as a Children’s Theatre Director for Manawatu Theatre. He is also music reviewer for the Manawatu Evening Standard. He is Chairperson of the Globe Theatre Trust Board, a member of the Community Arts Board and also a member of the CCNZ committee for the Palmerston North City Council.

Joy Green

Joy Green is a writer, writing & creative processes teacher and an award winning theatre director and producer.  She has been involved in Palmerston North’s theatre scene for the last 10 years, including producing 5 Manawatu Summer Shakespeare plays, working with Massey University Drama Society, and directing performance poetry for Festivals of New Art, and winter Shakespeare productions in Te Manawa, through her own production company, ProperJob Productions.  She has published poetry and short fiction since the early 1990s, in Europe and North America as well as Oceania, and has had plays performed just as widely. Joy is particularly interested in work that blurs the boundaries between creative disciplines, particularly in terms of bringing poetry to a wider audience than might otherwise experience, through performance, film and installation work. In 2012 she completed a Masters on off-page poetry forms, which included a major poetry installation, ‘Anatomy’ exhibited in Square Edge. Her poetry collection ‘Surface Tension’ was published in August 2014.

Joy also edited an online literary journal ‘Extraverse’ for three years and has edited a poetry column in The Manawatu Standard and written reviews for Bravado.

Aaron Armstrong

Aaron is the lead creative at local design agency, Blacksheepdesign. With over 10 years’ experience, his direction has helped the company grow with a blend of strategic and creative thinking. He thrives on innovative branding projects and coming up with solutions that go beyond his clients’ expectations.

Before starting his career in design, Aaron graduated from the School of Photography, Arts and Design at UCOL. His early influences include David Carson, Paul Rand and Stefan Sagmeister. He currently sits on the board for Three Keys, a networking group that brings inspirational and innovative New Zealanders to share their stories with the Manawatu.

Karen Newton

Karen is currently Arts Officer at Massey University  where she produces Arts on Wednesday. She has been involved in many community events, most recently Producer/Production Manager of Summer Shakespeare King Lear 2015 production & Stage Manager/Costumes for Together All Alone. Her background is in  Musical Theatre both performing and doing choreography and Theatre Production in general. She is also a qualified dance teacher and directed the first ever dance installation in Te Manawa – Te Ao Huri Huri. More recently  involved in 48hr Film Festival with The Outcasts who have made it into Wellington Regional Finals with their film Organic Matter.