Hereaka’s Artistic Balancing Act!

Rhiannon McConnell from The Wellingtonian interviewed Amanda Hereaka and found out about her amazing life balancing family and work! Read more below

“Capital E relationship development co-ordinator Amanda Hereaka talks about community, choosing arts over business and raising twins.

How long have you been in Wellington?

Next year marks my 20th anniversary here. I am from Taupo and of Tuwharetoa and Te Arawa decent, so when we head back to see whanau I still feel very deeply connected and have a sense of belonging.

You’ve worked for most of Wellington’s arts organisations – including Jazz Festival, Fringe, Bats, Downstage, Radio Active, Circa and City Gallery. Was the arts always the plan? 

It was definitely not a plan. I came down to study a business degree at Victoria – completely different! I’d spent time travelling around with the theatre and before that I was training at a performing arts academy. When I turned 21 most of my friends were graduating from university and I thought, “What am I doing? I should do something sensible”. I came to Wellington and ended up staying in Cuba St and in an arts flat. Lisa Moore, an amazing theatre lighting designer and Tony De Goldi, a set designer, lived there. I tried really hard to do my business degree and arts as well and by the end of my first year wondered what I was doing. I stopped the business degree but stayed on at Vic doing theatre, film and art history.

What’s been your favourite place to work? 

I’d have to say Capital E because of how it works in with my life. The kids love coming to work. 

How has Wellington’s art scene changed over 20 years? 

It’s crazy we’ve been able to achieve so much on a world stage. I would never have imagined it when I moved here. Who’d have thought we’d have an international move industry in Miramar? I bump into people in New World Miramar and think, “I’ve seen lots of movies you’ve done.”  I’ve been lucky to work for many of the organisations that create the buzz – that special quality Wellington has. 

Why is it special?

Someone told me before I moved to Wellington that it’s a special kind of person who lives in Wellington and if you love it, you will be that kind of person. They said the weather is terrible, but what that means is people rally together and talk and create – it’s better to be in a theatre where it’s nice and warm. 

With three young children – identical twin 6-year-old girls and a 9-year-old son – your job, the boards you’re on and your volunteer work, how do you balance it all? 

Well, every waking moment is crammed full of something, but I’ve always been like that. A lot of what I’m motivated by is creating amazing experiences for the kids and teaching them you can create anything if you dream it and work hard. But we don’t have a perfect household. Sometimes it looks like something exploded. It’s just prioritising and for me that’s about creating amazing experiences, a sense of pride and community rather than a perfect house.

It sounds like you’re big on community? 

I am. We live surrounded by other people and we need to connect with them – that’s what makes life. I was given lots of opportunities by those who were community minded and now I need to help people and make sure other people have opportunities.”

-Sourced from The Wellingtonian

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