Meet the Trustees

  • Michelle Whitmore Chair

    Michelle is the Managing Director of Metro Marketing and she has been actively involved in the business and not-for-profit sector since she first arrived in Tauranga in 1998. Outside of her Chair responsibilities at Creative Bay of Plenty, Michelle is also on the board for the rebuild of the Papamoa Surf Club. Her passion for the creative sector has seen her active at a strategic level with Creative Bay of Plenty since 2009, and more recently she has become a sponsor of the Tauranga Arts Festival and the Garden & Art Festival. Outside of work, Michelle enjoys running, reading and relaxing.

  • Steve Graveson Trustee

    Steve is passionate for the arts and enjoys seeing the effect art and culture has in our communities. He is the Project Manager for Katikati Open-Air Art since 1999 and became President in 2009. Since 2005 Steve has also been heavily involved with the organisation of the New Zealand Mural & Art Festival also held in Katikati.

    He has worked as the Property Manager at Katikati Primary School since 1999, and was involved on Waimata, Katikati Primary and Katikati College Board of Trustees for a number of years.

    Steve enjoys time spent with his whanau, his paint brush and time away relaxing at his bach.

  • Thoje Hood Trustee

    Thoje has had a multi-faceted career encompassing property management, property investment, adult education and governance. He has also been involved in the not-for-profit and profit-for-purpose sectors for a number of years, with a particular focus on social enterprises which he supports through his charity Toi Toi Manawa. Thoje’s family have been long-time supporters of the arts in New Zealand and he is delighted to serve on the Creative BOP board to further develop arts and culture in the region.

  • Kristen Joiner Trustee

    Kristen is a producer, writer and activist with a background in gender and human rights. She is co-founder of the award-winning New York City-based non-profit production company Scenarios USA. Scenarios’ pioneering scriptwriting program is used by over 4,000 teachers in the United States to shift young people’s attitudes toward gender. Kristen has produced 15 shorts written by youth from impoverished communities and directed by some of Hollywood's finest filmmakers. She has recently stepped down from her executive director role with Advancing Girls Education in Africa, a Malawi-based NGO, to move to Tauranga with her family.

  • Suzanne McNicol Trustee

    Suzanne is a marketing communications consultant with a 20 year career in consumer marketing, brand management and media relations. She has worked extensively in broadcast media and across several projects in New Zealand’s creative industries. Suzanne is experienced in governance, revenue development and partnership marketing for the arts and culture and Not-for-Profit sectors as a founding trustee of the NZ Music Commission and through director roles at YWCA Auckland, and Auckland’s indie radio station, 95bFM. A self-confessed ‘arts junkie’, Suzanne is thrilled to be working with the refreshed board to help the region’s creative sector to flourish.

  • Jo West Trustee

    Jo is a primary educator with 23 years national and international experience, including senior management roles from Special Needs Co-ordinator to Deputy Principal.She is currently the Specialist Arts Teacher at Bethlehem School. Jo is passionate about the arts and the significance they have to play in the future success of our city.A musician, dancer, choir trainer, musical director and admirer of artworks, she has always been an advocate for the arts and has fostered her love of the arts through travel, singing, reading and attending shows, exhibitions and events.

    Jo has been on the Bethlehem School Board of Trustees since 2013, is a selected member of the Technical Advisory Group for the Heart of the City project and is a member of Tauranga Sunrise Rotary Club. She has travelled extensively and has lived in both the UK and USA. however Tauranga, where she was born and has spent most of her life, has been home for the last 19 years. Jo is married with two wonderful children.

  • Paul Whitaker Trustee

    Paul’s purpose in life and his passion is to make a positive difference and be instrumental in helping individuals, groups and organisations reach their full potential and to live a full and productive life. This is his motivation in being involved with Creative Bay of Plenty.

    Paul originally hails from the north east of England where he became a qualified educationalist with a passion for making education more powerful and more relevant. As the Director of the Sir Peter Blake Marine Education Centre he continued this work in New Zealand. On arriving in Tauranga, Paul and his wife Lynne (born and bred in Katikati) ran a number of businesses before Paul took on the role of Executive Director of YMCA Tauranga. Over the last 9 years Paul has worked for the Wright Family in a leadership and training role. He is currently the Support Manager for the Wright Family Foundation, a member of the Establishment Board of Trustees for Pyes Pa West School and a member of the organising committee for TEDx Tauranga.

  • Tim Bell Trustee

    Tim is a Special Project Manager for Best Start Educare Limited, a social enterprise operating in early childhood education and a registered charity owned by Wright Family Foundation. His background is in accountancy and banking. He is a member of the Institute of Directors.

    Tim has come a long way since he first started learning the recorder at age five with stints on mouth organ and ukulele, winning the odd colouring competition and learning piano. His musical background included violin, trumpet and culminated with French Horn for the Waikato Secondary Schools orchestra. His early years gave him an affinity for the performing arts, music and artistic endeavour. Being a Trustee and Treasurer of Creative Bay of Plenty enables him to connect more with his love of the arts and give back to the community by supporting the Board with governance, accounting, banking and legal expertise.

    Outside of work Tim enjoys fishing, mountain biking, water skiing, snow skiing and spending time with family. Married with two children, he has lived in the Bay of Plenty for 18 years.