Tania Short, the new national creative lead for Te Wānanga o Aotearoa, likes the fun stuff – like seeing clever creative ideas come to fruition.
Tania, who has a Ngāti Porou (Te Whānau a Hinerupe) whakapapa on her mum’s side and Rarotongan heritage on her dad’s, is tasked with directing the creative arms of Rākaikahuroa, overseeing the teams of Te Ipurau, graphic design and resource development.
She initially trained in business, then moved to visual communications, but it wasn’t until she embraced her business skills - combining creative thinking, strategy and design with business, that things began to move in an interesting direction.
“I have that grounding in business thinking but I prefer to spend my time amoung creative people. I’m not a bean counter exactly – though I have been in arts management roles for about the last 12 years.”
“I worked on a business turnaround for the Rotorua Arts Village... and within that role I was charged with developing a large range of creative projects, organising exhibitions, facilitating classes, working with artists to create public art, doing the marketing, programme and resource development, funding and relationships - the whole system really.”
She’s not the first in her family to associate with Te Wānanga o Aotearoa. Her brother studied teaching at Mangakōtukutuku and raved about it to her so when the opportunity to work with TWoA arose she took her chance.
“It’s gorgeous here...what’s really different is the whakawhānaungatanga as a foundation for the organisation. If you’re working in the mainstream, generally money comes first and people come second. I like that the balance here is not with the mainstream.”
Tania is taking a systematic view in her first period of work, looking at how things can be improved and made more efficient. She’s wanting to achieve better flow for the teams so that they have an improved environment to create in. But she really enjoys how artistry and imagination can be employed towards creative problem solving.
“You have to do the ground work first, so I’m looking forward to unravelling that part, but I also love ideas and seeing the creative unfolding of an idea that meets a need – that’s the fun stuff,” she says.
“I do get a real buzz out of seeing things connect properly.”
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