Creative Patapatai

Welcome to an ongoing project that celebrates Bay of Plenty artists, performers, producers, story-tellers, cultural leaders—and profiles the undeniably creative people around us…

Creative Bay of Plenty have established this interview series to help you get to know some fascinating local painters, film-makers, dancers, photographers, poets, writers, musicians, and the creative humans listed in our Creative Directory. Learn how they express our world, document and define who we are, celebrate sense of place, and build a diverse creative community in the Bay of Plenty.

Photos: Kendra Eden Photography

Are you a creative living in Tauranga or the Western Bay of Plenty? Want your own free listing in our Creative Directory? Click below to begin your profile!

Billie Scott

We decided we wanted a videographer for this project – and along came Billie! Possibly the coolest human around (especially useful for making your content look cool, which is what everyone wants, don’t deny it) and with a polished skillset to boot, working with Billie is nothing short of perfect, and we thought our readers might like getting to know her, too. Get in touch with Studio Muse if you’re needing beautiful video content!

Matty Buxton

Boom bap hip hop. Fish tacos. A huge pōhutukawa on Pītau Road. These are a few of local musician Matty Buxton’s favourite things. Catch him live at Matty and the Buxtons at Totara St on 12 August 2022!

Tanya Horo

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.

Amanda Sloan

Amanda Sloan‘s creative resume is lengthy. She’s a touring artist, musical director, dance teacher, producer, composer, choreographer, and event planner. She believes strongly in the law of attraction – find out why below.

Rolph Hediger

Artist Rolph Hediger is currently developing his project ‘For Theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven’, a collection of interviews and portraits of various people from all walks of life which showed at Tauranga Art Gallery. We chat with Rolph about Fyodor Dostoevsky, van Gogh, and small town New Zealand. There’s a significant thread running through Rolph’s answers: he values people – meeting them, learning about them, and depicting them with ink and coffee.

Nicol Sanders O’Shea

Nicol Sanders O’Shea’s first job was tutoring printmaking at Elam, and her art journey has been life-long ever since. Working as an art educator at Toi Ohomai, Nicol wants to see more public art around our city, funded art residencies, and big annual arts events. We think she’s spot on.

Matt Watkins

Special Studio‘s goal is simple: use waste plastic to make new things and clean up the planet. Studio owner Matt Watkins brings his most fundamental values to the work he does, locally manufacturing homeware objects using at least 98 per cent recycled plastic waste.

Ross Murray

Ross Murray is influenced by a combination of comic books and vintage advertising. He’s created artwork for clients such as Lonely Planet, NASA, Disney, Apple, Rolling Stone Magazine, The Washington Post, Garage Project, and The Spinoff. Part of his work involves re-watching Disney princess movies. Yes, we’re jealous.

Faye Suzannah

Faye Suzannah proves everyone can get around by bike if you plan ahead a little more thoughtfully. Her fight for the environment shines through her bright and beautiful mural work, which one can stare at for hours and still not discover all the hidden shapes.

Connor Johnston

Actor Connor Johnston is all about individualism when it comes to auditions; keep reading to learn why. He’s also an interviewer for Creative Patapatai Podcasts! Watch out for Connor in the upcoming NZ On Air production Here If You Need.

Arpége Taratoa

Arpége Taratoa’s exposure to the art world has been rich, her critical and creative thinking cultivated in her father’s studio. Working as the Māori Arts Intern for Creative BOP and Te Tuhi Mareikura Trust, and Creative Director for Wakatu Incorporation, Arpége brings a wealth of experience and passion to what she does.

Grace Windey

Grace Windey has a background in sculpture and installation art, but puts concept before medium in all her work, giving her a uniquely interdisciplinary approach to making. She also could eat her weight in pierogis. We loved getting to know this energetic creative, and you will too.

Harry Oram

Harry Oram has a passion for storytelling, whether via screen, stage or song. As founder of Apex Academy of Performing Arts, he and the Apex team have created ten short films since January, and they’re not showing signs of slowing down. Read on to learn more about this actor, writer and director.

Hemvati Bhaumik

Hemvati Bhaumik is an Indian classical dance practitioner, performer, and teacher who specializes in Bharatanatyam and Kuchipudi dance styles. She has demonstrated an interest in the arts such as dancing, music, and singing since she was a toddler. We discuss the connection between art and the spiritual world, the importance of a culturally diverse community, and Hemvati’s ambition to set up a performing arts school in the Bay.

Micah Winiata

Director and Producer Micah Winiata says his upcoming release TAIAO is a nonverbal, documentary experience that explores how we as a multicultural people use Aotearoa’s natural environment. Learn more about Micah’s process below, and be sure to experience TAIAO after its September 2021 release.

Anna Hawkins

Known for her expressive tone and moving interpretations “with a voice that has the power to uplift – irrespective of the song being sung” (NZ Musician) Anna Hawkins’ music has been described as captivating and ethereal. In this interview, we learn about her latest album Dreamer and why Anna hopes audiences come away feeling inspired for their own creative journeys.

James Ashcroft

James Ashcroft’s first feature Coming Home in the Dark turned heads in Hollywood, after his thriller received praise at the 2021 Sundance Film Festival. We caught up with James to chat storytelling, Dad-life, and where to find the best tomato-relish scone.

Sarah Mileham

Sarah Mileham is the 2020 recipient of the Jann Medlicott Creative Arts Scholarship, an award administered by Creative Bay of Plenty that supports study in the creative arts. She is currently working towards a Bachelor of Music, majoring in Classical Voice, at Victoria University. We caught up with Sarah about her big dreams to live and sing in Germany, whereabouts you can find the cleanest air, and the deliciousness of Jjamppong.

Hannah Wynn

Tauranga Zinefest will celebrate their 5th birthday next weekend, and no one is more excited than festival Director Hannah Wynn. We had the chance to chat to Hannah about how the Zinefest came to be, what you can expect to discover on Saturday 24 July (Tauranga Art Gallery! 10am to 3pm! Don’t be late!), and letting go of creative doubt. Read on, and we’ll see you at the Zinefest next weekend!

Charli Cox

We chatted to Charli from Koha Apparel, a not-for-profit, pay-as-you-can retail experience, using repurposed garments to support those in need. Koha Apparel have a pop-up in Papamoa and they’re expanding into Tauranga, too. Find out more about this amazing initiative below, and get in touch with Charli if you can volunteer your time at one of their pop ups.

Carol Garden

First-time novelist Carol Garden urges other aspiring writers not to wait – just start writing. After winning a publishing contract with Scholastic, Carol’s book for young teens will be released next year. We had a chat to Carol about her inspiration, her writing process, and her characters, which include a billionaire baddie and a girl who can talk to fish.

Lynette Fisher

Artist Lynette Fisher is obsessed with nostalgia and memory. We chatted about the imaginary worlds of children, staying home during lockdown, and Lemmy the budgie. Keep reading to learn about Lynette’s upcoming exhibition at The Incubator, too!

Jasmine Kroeze

Jasmine Kroeze, designer, muralist and boss lady at creative design studio Pinch & Punch, has some exciting things in the pipeline for 2021. Find out about her first collection of original work in this interview and get in touch if you have a wall that needs to be brought to life!

Sandi Cutts

Sandi Cutts’ incredible transformations render her near-unrecognisable, yet her sense of self is undeniable. A self-confessed daydreamer, Sandi has surrounded herself with the arts, from special effects to dancing to music. Read on to get to know Sandi a little more…

Jacki Barklie

Jacki Barklie has been described as “too ambitious”. We think she’s just the right amount. With an exciting art fair on the way at her collaborative space Back Studio, Jacki is bringing the arts community together. We know you’ll love getting to know her a little better.

Grant Hislop

Bona fide music buff Grant Hislop wants to start a veggie garden and buy a hot air balloon. Count how many times Eggs Benedict is mentioned in this interview, and enjoy getting to know the CEO of Mood Media and Juice TV a little better.

Heidi Douglas

Working as a Toi Ohomai tutor, photographer and graphic designer doesn’t prevent Heidi Douglas from taking time for herself and her creative thoughts. Read about Heidi’s definition of happiness, how she stays grounded, and the summer meal she’d eat every day…

Coni Flores

Coni Flores loves Whakarewarewa Forest and believes happiness is a state of mind. Discover more about this dynamic local photographer.

Alex McLeod

Before Alex McLeod was an artist, his jobs included rubbish dump man (a childhood dream), and Shakespearian stage actor. Read on to find out more about Alex, and his wishes for an art supplies store here in Tauranga…

Jolene James

Get to know Jolene James, local media personality and a bit of a creative legend. We sat down with our favourite Tauranga radio host to learn about Peter and the Wolf, her ongoing obsession with Kiwi band The Mockers, a first job as a school receptionist, and why you might find her on the Daisy Hardwick walkway.

Lee Murray

Writer Lee Murray chats to CBOP about the view from the Minden Lookout, the invaluable impact of creativity during lockdown, and her advice for an aspiring creative person… (Hint: just start).

Julie Paama-Pengelly

What motivates Julie Paama-Pengelly to be an artist? The prosperity and development of a healthy future for Māori people. Read on to discover Julie’s favourite place in the Bay, her most admired figures from history, and why, as a creative, you should question everything.

Jess Lowcher

Jess Lowcher wears many creative hats, working not only as a photographer, but running two other businesses (you’ve got to try her ice cream sandwiches…) Get to know Jess below.

Ellie Smith

Emerging curator and art historian, and Tauranga Art Gallery regular, Ellie Smith dives into the details of a typical day working with the visual arts, and why (in the time of Covid) she’s no longer planning anything with certainty…

Kendra Stone

Meet Creative Bay of Plenty intern and local visual communicator, Kendra Stone. She’s shooting all the images for our Creative Patapatai project, and helping us tell dozens of creative stories. We spent time with Kendra and learned about Te Puna Quarry, her head-banging days, and why Brazil is on her mind.

Louis Bolton

Film-maker and visual story-teller Louis Bolton migrated to Tauranga a few years ago. We sat down with him to talk Nelson Mandela, Queen and Pearl Jam, and barbecue. You can learn more about Louis by visiting his profile on our Creative Directory.

Creative Patapatai Podcasts

Creative Patapatai Podcasts We’ve created this interview series so you can get to know our local creatives…