Home  /  Stories  / 

Another Key Creative NZ Appointment

18 Jun 2024

The leadership jigsaw is coming together at CNZ - with one of the top roles within the arts organisation revealed.

Some of the biggest shoes at Creative New Zealand (CNZ) have been filled.

Just days after Kent Gardner was announced as the new CNZ Chair, the organisation has revealed that Claire Murdoch has been appointed to the key role of Senior Manager, Arts Development, which oversees CNZ's mahi in arts practice and pathways, investment, development, and - crucially - funding. 

It's the role vacated by the highly respected Gretchen La Roche earlier this year to move on to the Court Theatre in Christchurch, and held on an interim basis by James Wilson since April.

Murdoch states “I know I’m stepping in to a transformation process. Luckily, we are building on the superb work and community engagement of the previous team and I’m familiar with uncertainty and working with teams through change.

“It’s a necessary part of responding to changes in your environment, in sector and audience needs, and in technologies.” 

Murdoch starts the new gig in August, coming from her current role as Head of Publishing at Penguin Random House New Zealand. Murdoch's CV includes further publishing experience at Te Papa Press and Allen & Unwin, advising on audience and digital strategy and led projects in the development of digital and multi-media storytelling at Te Papa Tongarewa Museum of New Zealand, Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki and Te Reo Irirangi o Aotearoa RNZ.

CNZ Chief Executive Stephen Wainwright explains the appointment.  

“Claire brings strong commercial and leadership experience to this role, along with her deep knowledge of literature and digital media, and decades of close work with writers, artists, iwi and communities to tell their stories and connect with audiences.

“Her record of achievements reflects her ability to bring teams together, create meaningful and longstanding partnerships, understand audiences and generate growth.

“We’ve already partnered with Claire in some of her other roles, and she’s been an assessor on our arts and literature panels. We welcome her commitment to upholding Te Tiriti o Waitangi in our mahi and her experience collaborating with indigenous organisations and artists.  

"Her values such as manaakitanga, mahitahi, tauutuutu, te taumata very much reflect our wider organizational values, including te ngākau hihiko, māhaki. She has a strong sense of how to engage via a Te Ao Māori lens. 

"We were fortunate to have a very strong shortlist for the role.  Claire impressed us with her very clear and persuasive communication style, warmth, wit and commitment to the arts and the people with whom she works." 

Murdoch adds “I’ve always been profoundly impressed by my first-hand experience of CNZ’s work, and especially with the calibre of its people, its commitment long-term to the value, impact, and importance of all arts on a societal level and its transparency. 

"I want those things to stay the same.” 

La Roche was instrumental in the change away from the previously unpopular Arts Grants model to the new For The Arts contestable arts funding that is currently underway. It's sure to form an important part of Murdoch's work when she starts on 5 August.

Last year, Wainwright signalled his intent to step down from the Chief Executive role - that position is one will be determined by new Chair Gardner.