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Who we are

DANZ is a not-for-profit organisation governed by a board and administered by a management team led by the Chief Executive. The Board is responsible for setting policy and strategic direction while the management team is responsible for developing dance in New Zealand by investing funds, developing initiatives and delivering tailored programmes to meet identified needs.

The Board

Doreen Bestmann (Chair) has a keen interest in dance-related governance having previously held leadership positions, including president, for the Middle Eastern Dance Association of New Zealand (MEDANZ). She brings to the Board extensive business and leadership skills, specifically in strategic planning and evaluations, project and change management and financial management. Doreen’s past experience in working with, understanding and managing the different types of dance communities and their varied needs will be valuable to ensuring they are represented and supported appropriately at a national level.

Jonathan Baker is a Lecturer in the Business Faculty at Auckland University of Technology where he teaches at both undergraduate and postgraduate levels. He is also a PhD candidate at the University of Auckland, researching the application of contemporary marketing theories to performing arts strategy, and acts as a consultant, mostly facilitating strategic planning for arts organisations. Jonathan previously served on the Board of the Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra and as a Professional Teaching Fellow at the University of Auckland, School of Music. He holds an MBA (with Distinction) and a Bachelor of Music (Hons).

Karen Fraser Payne is a Trustee and General Manager of Touch Compass Dance Trust and a Board member of Hohepa Auckland. From a back ground in corporate affairs for Auckland Airport and as a private secretary for several tourism Ministers, including John Key, Karen has diverse and extensive skills and experience in leadership, management, public relations and governance, specialising in disability issues, aviation, tourism and inclusive arts.

Merenia Gray is a graduate from the New Zealand School of Dance and has enjoyed a successful career as a dancer, teacher and choreographer both nationally and internationally. She brings to the Board an excellent comprehension of dance and their practitioners of all genres and she specialises in Māori contemporary dance. Having benefitted from a close association with DANZ through its mentoring programme and work on projects through roles with Kōwhiti, The New Zealand Dance Company and Tempo Dance Festival NZ, Merenia views this as an opportunity to support the strategic vision of DANZ, and looks forward to contributing to the DANZ Board who has helped her to shape and advance her career.

Sheryl Lowe has an enduring passion for the arts, dance and dance fitness, and brings to the Board wide-ranging professional experience in the international and domestic promotion of New Zealand arts, culture and trade, along with expertise in strategic communications, organisational monitoring and governance, arts management and cultural exchange. She believes strongly in the value of the performing and other arts to the cultural, social and economic well-being of New Zealand, and the benefits that dance brings to the health, diversity, creativity and harmony of our communities. Sheryl is looking forward to assisting DANZ to meet the evolving needs of the many communities it serves; supporting the growth of dance appreciation and literacy in New Zealand; and advocating for increased recognition of the role of dance in defining and projecting New Zealand’s national identity. 

Kristal Snow has more than 14 years of experience in financial advisory and management, having worked for PricewaterhouseCoopers and in her current role with NZME. She has a passion for dance and throughout her life has been involved in dance, as a dancer, dance teacher and choreographer, in styles ranging from tap and contemporary through to ballroom and Latin American.

Perry Walker has an extensive and wide-ranging interest in the arts, having been involved in fostering artistic endeavour both at amateur and professional levels. He is a Communications Consultant, a Director of Bats Theatre, an Advisory Trustee for the Asian Events Trust, and was Trustee/Chairman for Arts Wellington from 2002-2008. Perry brings to the DANZ Board a desire to promote creativity and cultural well-being to the communities he lives in, together with a wide range of experience and skills at executive and governance levels.  


Sheryl Lowe - Executive Director.

Linda Lim - Communications Manager. 

Tatiana Zveguintseva - Finance and Membership

Leah Maclean - Project Coordinator.

Kirstie Baxter - Communications Coordinator.

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