Our people

The Battalion at Te Papa, June 2014 (Photo: Mike O'Neill)
The Battalion at Te Papa, June 2014 (Photo: Mike O’Neill)

Jim Moriarty, MNZM – Ngāti Toa, Ngāti Koata, Ngāti Pākehā                                                                     A veteran television, film and radio actor of more than 40 years experience, Jim is a registered psychiatric nurse, painter and decorator by trade. In 1991 he won a Critics Award and was short listed for an Independent Award for his performance in the solo show Michael James Manaia at the Edinburgh Festival. In 1996 and 1997, Jim led Te Rākau through the process of devising plays with inmates of Arohata Prison and Christchurch Women’s Prison. Under Jim’s leadership Te Rākau has completed 17 Residential programmes in Prisons, Youth Justice Residential Centres and with rural, urban, and Māori communities. In 2001 Jim was made a member of the New Zealand Order of Merit for services to the arts. In 2011 he was recognised by the Wellington City Council for his contribution to Wellington Theatre and his work with Youth in the community. Jim is co-founder and Artistic Director of Te Rākau.

Helen Pearse-Otene – Ngā Puhi, Ngāti Rongomaiwahine-Kahungunu, Ngāti Ruanui, Ngāti Pākehā                                                                                                                                                                                 Helen is a graduate of VUW, Toi Whakaari, and Massey, and loves the liminality of theatre as an opportunity for community advocacy, healing, and for asserting tino rangatiratanga. As a facilitator she has contributed to Te Rākau’s residential work in prisons, youth residential homes, and on Marae since 1999. She wrote her first play at age 6 and played the dual roles of a tree and the narrator – the show closed after one performance. Her more recent attempts include The Battalion (2005), The Ragged (2010),  Arohanui – The Greatest Love (2011), and  The UnderTOW, a series of plays looking at New Zealand history from 1840 to the present and “the day after tomorrow”. Helen is Te Rākau’s senior facilitator and house writer.


Alan Scott  – Ngāti Pākehā, Ngāti Kaimahi                                                                                                     Alan trained as a Performing Arts teacher in London, and from 2003 – 2006 he was the Head of the National Academy of Singing and Dramatic Art (NASDA), in Christchurch. Later he held the post of Deputy Head of the School of Educational Studies and Human Development at the College of Education of the University of Canterbury. Alan’s academic fields are the Sociology and Politics of Education, and Theatre in Education and Drama Education.  He has worked as a voice teacher in theatre, education and business for over 30 years, and has been a theatre reviewer for the Christchurch Press for the last 20 years. Since 1997, Alan has worked on every Te Rākau production in a variety of roles as dialogue coach, dramaturge and co-director. Alan also chairs Te Rākau’s governance board.


Aneta Pond   – Ngāti Rangi, Atihaunui a Pāpārangi, Ngāti Rongomaiwahine                                        Aneta holds a Bachelor of Performing Arts from the National Academy of Singing and Dramatic Art, and a post graduate diploma in Secondary Teaching from Wellington College of Education. She is currently studying towards He Papa Tikanga / Certificate in Tikanga Māori (Level 3), from Te Wānanga o Aotearoa. Aneta has worked as a secondary school teacher, a kura kaupapa research coder for the NZ Council of Educational Research, Schools’ co-ordinator at Capital E National Theatre for Children, Licensing Agent for NZ’s playwriting agency Playmarket, and as publicist for a number of Māori Theatre companies including Nancy Brunning’s Hāpai Productions and Tanemahuta Gray’s Aotearoa Aerial Theatre Company. Aneta is the first port of call for all inquiries.