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Our presenters

Aranya Putthapipat

 

 

Sawasdee Ka, My name is Aranya and I am from Thailand.

I moved to New Zealand nearly 20 years ago and opened a Thai café called Aranya’s House at Wakefield Market in Wellington which we owned for 12 years.

We then opened Nakhon Thai in Haitaitai which we owned for 17 years. Now that we have sold the restaurant I have time to share my passion for teaching Thai cooking. I hope you will come and share the experience with me.

Austin Harrison

Austin, proudly from Ōtautahi/Christchurch, is a professional theatre-maker based in Wellington. He holds a Master of Fine Arts in theatre from Victoria University of Wellington and regularly performs with Playshop, The Improvisers, FIDKarts and produces independent work. He co-founded VUW’s dedicated improv club mmmpop Improv and created the interactive crime-thriller phenomenon Magnus Steele (nominated Most Promising Emerging Artist, NZ Fringe 2020). Austin performs and produces work all over Aotearoa. He recently established On the Spot Studios, hosting improvisation, dance and drama classes for young people.

Babu Ranchhod

Babu Ranchhod is a qualified Bespoke Tailor holding a Trade Certificate in Clothing.

He has previously tutored at Wellington Polytechnic at all levels of production, from pattern making to final garment.

The aim of his "Clothing Alterations" course is to expand your skills in clothing to teach you how to alter different types of apparel correctly and confidently using a sewing machine or by hand, giving you a better understanding how garments are made.

 

Brenda Crooks

Tēnā koutou katoa

Ko Paparoa ngā pae maunga

Ko Māwheranui te awa

Nō Māwhera ahau

 

I grew up on the West Coast and have called Wellington my home for most of my adult life. I have always had a drive to learn te reo, but for a Pākehā there was nowhere to learn it in the 80s in Greymouth.

After many short courses as an adult I eventually committed to a degree course in Māori Studies at university. Since gaining my BA I have been involved in the modernising the format and putting macrons in te Paipera Tapu (Bible in Māori).

As a second language learner I have been able to help others with their te reo learning as I understand the learning process and some of the traps that English speakers fall in to.

I’m aware of my privilege in being able to kōrero Māori when so many tangata whenua have missed the opportunity to speak their mother tongue, and the pain that surrounds that.

It’s so encouraging to see the massive interest that non-Māori are having in learning te reo. It can only help in our ability to see the world through another culture’s lens, and to help in the journey of reconcilliation.

He waka eke noa.

We’re in this together.

Brenton Hodgson

Brenton is a senior trainer and performer with the Wellington Improvisation Troupe (WIT), and is currently WIT's coordinator. 

He has ten years of improv experience, and has performed in improv festivals in New Zealand and Australia, as well as in Fringe and Comedy Festivals in New Zealand. 

Brenton has trained with some of the best, including Loose Moose in Canada and the Maydays in the UK 

Cat Connor

Cat Connor is a crime thriller author, New Zealander, and instigator of trouble. By day she’s a warm body in Writers Plot Bookshop in Upper Hutt, NZ where she spends time answering questions from authors (budding, new, and established) and sharing the joy of kiwi authors with kiwi readers, she also teaches writing classes via the book shop. By night she writes crime novels; wrangles teenagers; enjoys the company of Bucky Barnes & Timmy the guinea pigs and wrestles Patrick the kitten. She flourishes on coffee, tequila, travel, knitting, reading, binge watching Netflix series, and a lot of music - not necessarily in that order and usually not all at once.

For the last fifteen years Cat has been writing The Byte Series: Which follows FBI Special Agent Ellie Conway on her journey as a member of an elite FBI team that functions on dark humor, close relationships, and strong coffee. Each book is a standalone story with the same core characters. 

Cat was published by Rebel ePublishers in the USA for 10 years and her short stories appeared in many ezines, journals, and magazines in the UK and USA. In late 2018 her publisher closed and she (with two other Rebels) formed 9mm Press.
Cat hosted a large writing workshop every fortnight at Upper Hutt City Library from 2012-2015 - that group produced three collections of short stories that were published via Writers Plot Bookshop.

 www.catconnor.com

 and

 www.writersplot.org.nz

 

Cathie Anderton

Catherine Anderton has been sewing for the past 40 years and has worked in costume departments for film, opera, TV and theatre.

Catherine spent two years working for Sally Eagle Bridal and has two years experience tutoring sewing for Whitecliff Fashion Tech.  She is qualified to certificate level in Adult and Tertiary Teaching.

Catherine loves to create a warm and friendly class environment, embracing what learners bring to the classroom and helping them to achieve their best results!

Charlotte Hird

 
Charlotte is an experienced watercolour artist based in Wellington. She regularly exhibits at the NZ Academy of Fine Arts, with Watercolour New Zealand and all over New Zealand.
 
Charlotte loves the way the water and paint move on the paper to create magic. She enjoys teaching techniques with watercolours.
 
In 2017 Charlotte worked as an architectural drawing teacher at a University in China. She now teaches drawing and perspective workshops to artists all over New Zealand to help create spatial depth in their paintings.
 
Check out her paintings at http://www.charlotteswebdesign.co.nz
follow @charlottehird on Instagram
or follow Charlotte Hird Artist on FaceBook

Daniel McCarthy

Daniel knows pretty much all there is to know about boning and using meat products. He is passionate about teaching others to have the skills he has spent a lifetime learning and using. He believes if people learn to bone out their own meat then they'll learn how to save money, make healthy food and use these skills for themselves.

Daniel has trained apprentices, owned his own business and has been working as a butcher for his whole life.

Dave Henderson

Dave has worked in non-profit and charity management and governance in New Zealand for over 30 years, including leading a national disability organisation. He was Secretary General of a global organisation based in New York from 1998 to 2001.

Back in New Zealand Dave coordinated the Association of Non-Government Organisations of Aotearoa, work which included leading multiple series of training seminars and consultative workshops on issues relevant to charities and community groups.

Since his retirement from full-time employment Dave has continued running seminar series and has been involved in facilitating the Peace Education Programme since 2021.

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