New Zealand Opera Appoints New Board Member

By Francisco Salazar

New Zealand Opera has announced the appointment of Dr. Te Oti Rakena (Ngāpuhi, Ngati Ruanui and Kāi Tahu) following the recent appointment of Carol Hirschfeld (Ngāti Porou) and Joanna Heslop (Ngāti Ruanui).

Dr. Rakena joins NZ Opera’s board at a time when the artform is enjoying a renewed sense
of innovation in storytelling, both locally and globally. The organization is currently producing, commissioning and supporting new works at a faster rate with an exciting line-up for 2022 due to be announced.

In a statement, Board chair Annabel Holland said, “Dr. Rakena, along with Ms. Hirschfeld and Ms. Heslop will add significant mana to the organization. NZ Opera is in a strong position to continue its to expand opera’s reach to the whole of Aotearoa and global audiences while supporting artistic excellence.”

Dr. Rakena is an active performer, teacher and researcher, and an American-trained singer. He studied at New England Conservatory in Boston with Edward Zambara and received his doctorate in vocal studies from the University of Texas at Austin. He has performed in Eve de Castro-Robinson’s “Len Lye,” the opera, David Hamilton’s work “Erebus” and in 2018, he premiered the opera Live Drag – an Opera in the making by Claire Scholes with New Zealand Opera.