The Board and team at Te Ahurei Toi o Tāmaki / Auckland Arts Festival (AAF) extend their heartfelt congratulations to Kaiwhakahaere Matua / Chief Executive David Inns as he announces his retirement from the Festival at the end of March.
David has been Chief Executive at AAF since March 2009 when it was still a biennial event. His work at the Festival has seen it become a respected and pivotal annual event on the Auckland and NZ arts calendar, as well as on the international Festival scene.
During his time at AAF, David has worked with three Board Chairs – Richard Waddell, Victoria Carter and John Judge – as well as four Artistic Directors – David Malacari, Carla van Zon, Jonathan Bielski and Shona McCullagh.
“David’s tenure at AAF has made an immeasurable impact not only to the growth of the Festival, but the landscape of the arts across Aotearoa,” says AAF Trust Board Chair, John Judge. “David is a passionate advocate for the arts who has always had a dual focus of providing a platform for local artists, as well as offering Aucklanders and visitors to the city the chance to experience the best in the world. He will be deeply missed and we thank him for his steady lead through the many Festival highs and a fair share of tumultuous terrain over the last several years navigating the pandemic’s effect on the arts sector.
In announcing his departure, David says, “It has been an absolute pleasure to welcome some of the country and the world’s best organisations and performers to Tāmaki Makaurau over the last 13 years. Some of my most cherished memories have come from AAF shows and events. It has been my pleasure to share these amazing events with Aucklanders, arts lovers, colleagues, international arts organisations, and visitors to Auckland. The team and artists have become like family over the years, and while it’s incredibly difficult to leave, I know that the organisation is in highly skilled and capable hands for its next phase. I look forward to enjoying and supporting future Festivals as an audience member.”
David, who hails from Taranaki, has been involved in the arts all his life, playing pivotal roles in technical and production before moving into executive management. Positions served include Technical Director and Executive Director at Taranaki Arts Festival (part of the team that brought the WOMAD Festival to Taranaki); a range of roles at the Edinburgh Festival Festivals; and 14 years at Aotearoa New Zealand Festival, including seven years as Chief Executive, before moving to AAF.
Some special highlights at AAF have been amplifying the voices of Māori and Pacific artists, presenting large scale works at Auckland Domain, extending events outside of the CBD and into the far corners of the Auckland region, and ensuring access for all through comprehensive Education and Access and Inclusion programmes and Pay What You Can system.
He adds, “I am so proud of what we’ve achieved at AAF – the platform it has provided for New Zealand artists and companies with many touring nationally and overseas as a result, and the many international productions we’ve been able to bring to our shores.”
David says he looks forward to more time with family, working on a few special projects within the New Zealand arts and creative sector, and continuing to champion New Zealand artists and performers.
Recruitment for the next AAF Chief Executive has begun through Sheffield. Information on how to apply can be found at: https://www.aaf.co.nz/about/join-our-team.