The Numbers

The 2019 Festival was a financial success and we made a profit which will enable us to begin the next Festival season with confidence. More than three-quarters of our $1 million income comes from grants, sponsorship and patrons. That in turn enables us to subsidise ticket costs, provide free events and deliver a schools programme throughout the region, as well try new initiatives like $5 tickets for students and $30 tickets for under 30s.

Thanks to all of you that brought guests to shows, especially those who may have not experienced the Festival before. We made our ticket revenue budget and a good number of shows were sold out. The vast majority (98%) of our survey respondents said they would attend the Festival again, 92% strongly agreed the Festival increases their pride in Tauranga and 97% said it made Tauranga a more enjoyable place to live. Of ticket buyers, 12% came from out of town and 31% of those visitors came solely for the Festival.

Our annual report is now available with all this information and more. If you would like a printed version please email and we will arrange to post one to you.

Festival Director

We formally farewelled Jo Bond as Festival Director, but we also know that we are still in safe hands, as Jo will continue to consult with the Festival for the next 12 months, supporting our new Director Ria Hall to transition into her role. Jo even signed up on the night to become a patron! We thank Jo again for everything she has done and continues to do to support the Festival. She has been integral to our success.

And we welcomed our new Festival Director, Ria Hall. Most of you will know Ria as an award-winning musician, with a stellar career on her own account and in collaboration with some of the best musicians in Aotearoa, including Hollie Smith, Stan Walker, Tiki Taane, Trinity Roots, Kora and Fly My Pretties.

What you might not know is that firstly she is from Tauranga Moana, born and raised in Maungatapu, she went through Tauranga Girls' College where she was a member of the choir and kapa haka groups. She honed her performance craft with the very best of NZ kapa haka, Te Waka Huia, worked in the Office of Treaty settlements and was an Arts Advisor at Creative NZ before establishing her own music company in 2014. She was also a long-running presenter of Maori TV’s Marae DIY.

Ria co-composed our specially commissioned Festival waiata, Takiri ko te Ata (A Chorus Dawn) which she has performed with community choirs at the Festival since 2015. She also performed at the Festival in 2017, premiering her powerful Rules of Engagement debut album and show. Ria then interned for us in 2019.

The Board is extremely excited to see what Ria does as Festival Director. As she said at her interview, "everything I have done to date has been leading me to this role and back to our community".