The New Zealand Dance Company decides on a new Chief Executive/Artistic Director

Thursday 30 March 2023

The Board of the New Zealand Dance Advancement Trust is very pleased to announce the appointment of NZ Arts Laureate Moss Te Ururangi Patterson (Ngāti Tūwharetoa) to the role of Chief Executive/Artistic Director of The New Zealand Dance Company (NZDC). Patterson joins NZDC as the Company enters its second decade, following a period of disruption caused by the COVID-19 epidemic.

Interim Board Chair Greg Innes congratulated Patterson, saying that his appointment concludes the reestablishment process the Company has been undertaking over the last fifteen months.

“Moss comes to us with a history of consummate excellence in the dance sector and we’re delighted to confirm his appointment. The enforced inactivity caused by the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic severely disrupted the Company’s long term planning (and that of the performing arts sector generally). The inability to produce and present new work, and to earn commercial performance revenues, created ongoing challenges.

The past fifteen months has witnessed significant change as the Trust adapted to the emerging sector landscape. We've recruited a completely new team of Trustees, we've successfully negotiated a new triennial funding agreement with Creative New Zealand, and we've refocused the organisation around an integrated Chief Executive/Artistic Director leadership, as had existed up until 2020.

With Moss' appointment we draw a line through this process of structural realignment, and we look forward with great anticipation to a bright future and to building on the legacies of previous leaderships.”, Innes says.

One of the most influential figures in New Zealand contemporary dance over the last twenty-five years, Moss Patterson was the first artistic director of Atamira Dance Company. In what is a remarkable alignment, under Patterson’s leadership Atamira received its first Creative New Zealand funding in the same funding round that NZDC received its first funding.

A highly-respected practitioner and leader in the arts, Patterson has vast experience as an artist, director, producer; in touring both locally and internationally, and brings a wealth of knowledge to lead the Company forward to its next stage as the world re-emerges from COVID-19 and global presentations once again become viable.

Of his appointment, Moss Patterson said, “Art making in Aotearoa requires an absolute passion for the craft and a dedication to the people you are creating with. I’m honored to be leading such an incredible team of New Zealand’s most amazing dancers and choreographers into our next phase of creativity, celebration and courageous leadership in the arts. Ka mau te wehi! ”

The Board of Trustees wish to extend their wholehearted gratitude to Interim Chief Executive Caroline Bindon, who has been superb in her leadership of the Company since June 2022. Bindon, who is an invaluable member of the Company’s leadership team will remain with Company as a core member of the team.

Patterson commences his tenure with the Company in early May.

Renowned Māori choreographer and Artistic Director, Moss Te Ururangi Patterson brings both integrity and humility to his choreographic practice in Aotearoa and overseas. Patterson is held in the highest regard by his peers and performing arts communities in which he has worked as a dedicated, and gifted artist, director and producer.

Born in Turangi, Moss’s proud ancestry comes from both the central north island and northern tribes of Aotearoa, New Zealand. Moss has been a professional dance artist in Aotearoa for the past 25 years. Patterson studied physical theatre and music in Dunedin before moving to Auckland to study dance and choreography at the Unitec Performing Arts School. Over the ensuing years, Moss worked with Footnote Dance, Black Grace, Touch Compass, Atamira Dance Company and the Royal New Zealand Ballet. Moss became a freelance choreographer and director in 2002 at the age of twenty- five and was appointed as the first Artistic Director of Atamira Dance Company in 2010 taking the company to major new heights as New Zealand’s leading Indigenous dance company touring both nationally and internationally. Moss has developed a significant body of distinctive choreographic work presented on New Zealand’s largest and most prestigious platforms for dance.

In 2007 Moss’s first major work Whakairo won best choreography and Design at TEMPO Dance Festival. In 2013 his works Moko and Haka were presented at the prestigious Jacobs Pillow USA opening the way for international touring of Moss’s distinctive work. In 2015 his major work Moko toured both China and Korea and from 2016 - 2018 two newly commissioned major works Pango and Marama toured Taiwan, China, Korea and New Zealand. From 2011 – 2017 Moss collaborated with the Auckland Philarmonia Orchestra choreographing and directing a series of six large-scale dance works drawing artists from diverse communities all over Auckland city and presented at the Auckland Arts Festival. Moss has had the opportunity also to choreograph major international ceremonies including the widely lauded New Zealand Rugby World Cup opening ceremony at Auckland’s Eden Park and the League of Legends World opening ceremony at the Beijing Olympic Stadium.

Moss has worked closely at grass roots level across multiple residencies with acclaimed indigenous artists which has stimulated the flow of indigenous knowledge exchange and contributed positively to Māori arts practises and research here in Aotearoa. Moss recently featured prominently in two international dance film documentaries Te Manu Ahi in 2015 and The Heart Dances in 2019 presented at the NZ and multiple international film festivals.

Moss is a 2020 NZ Arts Laureate, recipient of Creative New Zealand’s Tup Lang Dance scholarship and the Te Whakahaungia Choreographic Award from Toi Māori Aotearoa. In 2019 he established a new whānau company label called TOHU where he has initiated a series of exciting new art works. In 2020 Moss was scheduled to develop new work in Taiwan, South Korea and present his work Pango in New York. Moss is currently poised to start two new choreographic commissions with significant dance companies in Australasia to be announced this year.

Moss continues to be a passionate advocate for the empowerment of Maori culture, Te Reo Māori, and contemporary dance in Aotearoa, New Zealand.

Milestones and Awards:
2020 – NZ Arts Laureate Award for dance and choreography.
2019 – Patterson develops new work with Royal NZ Ballet and establishes TOHU Dance Theatre in Auckland City.
2018 – Choreographer for League of Legends world ceremony at Beijing Olympic Stadium.
2018 – Patterson’s work Marama tours Korea.
2016 – Patterson’s work Pango tours Taiwan, China, Korea and NZ 2015 – Patterson’s work Moko tours China and Korea.
2015 – Moko wins Architecture NZ award for best Design.
2013 – Patterson’s works Moko and Haka selected for presentation at the prestigious Jacobs Pillow USA.
2011 – 2017 – Patterson joins Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra to present a series of 6 large scale dance projects at Auckland International Arts Festival. 2011 – Choreographer for the New Zealand Rugby World Cup opening ceremony.
2010 – Appointed as Artistic Director for Atamira Dance Company 2007 - Award Best Choreography and Design by TEMPO Dance Festival 2007 – Best New Choreographer in the NZ Listener for Whakairo.
2007 - Patterson receives Whakahaungia award by Toi Māori Aotearoa.