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Meet Anton Carter - DANZ CEO

By Leah Maclean

Anton Carter is the latest addition to the DANZ team; as a matter of fact he’s our new Chief Executive. Excited is one word Anton uses to describe his feelings about starting in this new position and admits that it is going to be a huge learning curve, but that’s all part of the excitement he says. “It’s a real privilege and honour to have the opportunity. There aren’t many organisations out there like this.”
Anton has a strong background in the arts sector and thinks that his introduction came from DJing in Christchurch in the 80’s. His career then spanned from managing a small art collective in Christchurch (Pacific Underground), to working in television and film in New Zealand and the United Kingdom, to being Creative New Zealand’s Pacific Advisor and then dabbling in areas of government such as the Ministry of Education.   
I sat down with Anton to see what we can expect from him. “My role is to support people to do their best and reflect our positive energy to the sector.”

Why do you think the arts are important?
I think the arts have a power and strength that nothing else has – like a tangible magic. I see the creation of art as something unique, it’s a skill for certain people. I come across some people and think your role in this world is to be the artist and create something that we can respond to.

Where would you like to see the arts go in the future?
Creativity of New Zealand is amazing and we’re a lot better than what we used to be. It’s important to realise that evolvement has been slow and steady over the years and we should take inspiration from what’s already happened.
But I would like to see it on par with rugby and I think if we achieve that we’ve done something. I want it to be as integrated as rugby is into the fabric of New Zealand; it’s about raising the value so people can see that.
As an arts person you can be seen as ‘special’ where everyone else outside that is ‘normal’. It’s totally changing all of that and a lot of it is to do with attitudes.
For me it’s just trying to normalise things.

What do you think you can bring to the industry?
One of my aims is to ask the questions nobody is asking.
But I think there are two main things that I can bring to the table. One thing I like doing is connecting different entities and people together across the board, from professionals to community.
The other is what I like to call blind optimism. What I mean by that is I looked at the sector and looked for a goal, and then I looked at other sectors to see what they have that we necessarily don’t. What I noticed about the dance sector is there doesn’t seem to be enough professional development opportunities. Some ideas to improve this are to explore more residency opportunities whether it’s locally or internationally. You look at other sectors, for example writers, and they’ve got a lot of residency type things to strive for in places like Berlin and Hawaii. There doesn’t seem to be as many opportunities this sector can point to and say “that’s us, that’s our thing.” The dance sector can be very fragmented.
There are also a lot of other small things that I would like to investigate, for example, exchanges, awards/recognition and just connecting with other people outside of the usual suspects to come on board. All with the aim of growing awareness and an audience for all forms of dance and expression.
I think part of what I can bring to the table is ask the annoying questions and be challenging in a positive way.

You can contact Anton at or phone 04 802 0534


Introducing DANZ's New CEO

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