Tanya Horo

Creative Patapatai

Tanya Horo thrives in chaos, which is lucky, as she manages two creative businesses while coaching and creating. She’s a big fan of astronomy, most music makes her uncomfortable, and she’d love to see more support for mental health in Aotearoa.

Your occupation, job title, artistic discipline (or very brief description of what you do): 

I’m the managing director of two businesses: BOP Actors Studio (training actors) and TMH Management (representing actors world-wide). I’m also an acting coach, musician and writer, plus a mum.

What cities/towns have you lived in (or spent more than a few months in) beginning with the place of your birth?

Australia, New York, and New Zealand.

What are the earliest stories you remember hearing? The ones that told you about the world? 

I remember my Grandad talking about the war. He was in the Māori battalion and had one blue eye and one brown eye; the colour difference was caused by bullet shrapnel. This made me interested in the whys. I was really intrigued by why men went overseas to fight in a war, why the war started, what made it end? Why were they using such lethal weapons? It shaped the world as a bit of a scary place for me. It seemed like a massive place full of uncertainties. I later found out this wasn’t the case at all while spending 15 years travelling. I loved my Grandad, but sadly didn’t really get to spend a lot of time with him as he passed away while I was still young. Grandparents and stories are so important. That relationship should always be nurtured.

What’s your favourite Bay of Plenty landscape, park, building, location, suburb, or side street? Why?    

I really love the train that runs through Tauranga. I love train tracks, I love that feeling of constant movement and journey. The sound of the trains down at The Strand; it feels very European  to me. I travelled a lot by train overseas, it’s one of my favourite ways to travel. I also love the water; I’ve always lived by the water and I find the Bay of Plenty coastline beautiful. Lately, my daughter and I have spent some time at the local library and I have to say that might be my new favourite building in Tauranga.

What’s an average day in your life at present?  

My average day is spent in hustle mode. Coffee and hustle. Getting my actors seen for shows and films, here and overseas. Organising Bay of Plenty Actors Studio, the acting school I run here. I have amazing tutors and a lot of time is spent discussing our curriculum and events we could run for the actors that train with us. I find I need to keep moving: I thrive in chaos, and feel weird when I’m static. I’m also home-schooling my daughter this year so I need to have amazing time management; this is a constant balance and I have no issues saying I haven’t mastered it yet! I love what I do and I am grateful that I can do it here in the Bay of Plenty.

What music was present and still memorable from your youth/adolescence?    

As a child, I hated music. I was terrified of it. I spent most of my time in NYC touring with my band which is ironic as most music still makes me feel uncomfortable. There were some bands I could stomach as I got older. One was BROS. I know… let’s move on. Later in life it was Bjork, Tortoise, and Iannis Xenakis (I love his work – his story is so fascinating). I tend to love music with no lyrics: Philip Glass, Tortoise – soundtrack music. I was a gothic teenager (my poor Mum), so at this stage I think I listened to The Cure on repeat.

For you as a creative person, who are three influential artists or thinkers?          

This is a great question!

Marie Curie. I love her story, her struggles, and her tenacity.

Carl Sagan. He was someone who worked in a very advanced field of science yet the way he thought was largely based on connection and imagination. Connecting the extraordinary of space and the universe within all of us. “The cosmos is within us. We are made of star stuff. We are a way for the universe to know itself.” – Carl Sagan.

Helen Keller. I learned about her at primary school and was fascinated by how she overcame adversity.

If you went away from the Bay of Plenty for a long time and then came back, what are the first three things you would do or visit?

I’d go to my favourite cafe Head Loco and order a coffee and a macaron. I’d go to the hot pools, and then to the Neighbourhood and get a margarita!

Looking back at your teen-age self: what one sentence describes that person?  

A person not scared to jump as long as she could see the bottom.

If you had to eat the same meal every day, what would it be?   


What are you planning for 2022/2023 that nobody knows about yet?   

I can’t tell you. Like, literally I can’t – I do have something fairly exciting coming up but I can’t release it yet.

Who are your favourite or most admired figures from history? 

Giordano Bruno. I love astronomy. He was an astronomer, and alive at a terrifying time when if you disagreed with the masses you were tortured to death. He was burned at the stake for having ‘radical’ thought about our place in the solar system. He had a fascinating life. I actually wrote a song about him as I became quite obsessed with his story for a while.

If the Prime Minister asked you to make up a new policy or law for New Zealand, what would it be?      

Something to do with mental health support. I would love it if everyone in Aotearoa had to partake in compulsory spa days, massages, soft music, healing food, music, therapy…  I would love for it be ‘normal’ to discuss mental health with no stigma attached.

In one sentence, can you define art?     

Art cannot be defined by words, but must be defined by the heart of the observer.

What is missing or lacking from your Bay of Plenty community or environment?

A museum. More theatres like Bats Theatre in Wellington, or Q Theatre in Auckland. I love that these theatres produce shows that are outside the norm. I feel that there is a fair amount missing or yet to be ‘conceived’ for Tauranga. It would be wonderful to have a television series made in Tauranga, and I understand we have some wonderful writers here. I feel Tauranga has YET to find it’s true identity in the film industry, but we do have Film Bay of Plenty who are fantastic. I do see a strong identity in art [in the Bay]. We have so many amazing artists living here, and I’m seeing lots of galleries and exhibition openings. We truly are a vibrant city, and one step at a time leads to giant leaps… so, we are getting there!             

Name a few films that you consider profound, moving or extraordinary?             

Easy. The Dark Crystal. I found this film moving, terrifying and inspiring all in the same breath.

What was your first real job, second, third?       

My first real job was at a fish and chip shop. I think I got fired the same day. My second job was selling ice cream, third was waitressing. They are real jobs?!

Where would you like to live, but have yet to? 

I’ve always wanted to live in Prague. At one point I was going to head to Prague to sing with the philharmonic orchestra. This was many moons ago and I still hold a romantic idealism about Prague. I’d love to go there for six months and write a book… that would be amazing!

What word of advice would you offer an aspiring creative person?

‘Never give up, never surrender,’ to steal a quote from Galaxy Quest. That’s the key. Creativity does not have to be a hobby, as most of us are told. It can be a very viable and fulfilling  career, but it takes hard work. Where there are walls, find doors, find windows. Find your pack that can pick you up when you fall down, and every time you fall down, get back up faster and stronger! Train, believe, and don’t give up.

What’s the biggest problem about life in New Zealand? How you would solve it?

Tall Poppy Syndrome. I came back to New Zealand with rosy coloured glasses and viewed this country as the epitome of growth. I was shocked to see that Tall Poppy Syndrome was still going strong. We must lift people without that fear that by lifting them we are sinking.

What is your dream of happiness?

This is a really personal question. My vision board is filled with complimentary colours all intertwining. Happiness is, as we know, subjective. Happiness for me on a basic level is living off the land, growing my own food, loving those in my life, being loved in return, and feeling fulfilled.

Anything else you’d like to tell us about yourself/your organisation?

I run TMH Management which is a global creative management agency. We have an office in Hong Kong, and collaborate with agents in Australia, the UK, and America. BOPAS is a performing arts school in Tauranga that trains all ages in screen acting and film making. Our kaupapa is to nurture and grow, and I honestly love what I do. I came back here in 2014 and was told I’d never be able to be successful in my industry in Tauranga. Well, here I am, eight years on, still doing what I love, successfully in Tauranga. So, always stay true to your kaupapa are my last words for this interview.

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