Leadership team and Board

The OCT Executive Team

We have a team of four in the office, supported by a group of hardworking volunteers including player reps, drivers, librarians and supper providers.

The Administration team is based at Gallagher Academy of Performing Arts, Gate 1, University of Waikato, Knighton Road, Hamilton

More about Catherine Gibson – Chief Executive, email ceo@orchestras.org.nz

More about Catherine Polglase – Orchestra Planning Manager, Principal Conductor – Rusty Players, Associate Conductor – Youth Orchestra Waikato

More about Rupert D’Cruze – Principal Conductor – TWSO

More about Josh Kirk – Principal Conductor – YOW

The team also includes Yvonne Morrison – Finance Manager, Pauline Logger – Communications and Marketing and Robert Lummus – Librarian

We also have a team of volunteers that support our work.

Contact us

Board of Trustees

Katie Mayes (Chair) plays the violin with the Trust Waikato Symphony Orchestra.  She played with Opus Orchestra for five years and has a good understanding of orchestras after playing in a large number over the past 35 years.  Katie was part of the OCT establishment group and has been involved in the governance of orchestras for a number of years.  Through her work experience in the public and private sectors, Katie brings strategic planning skills and sound management acumen to the trust.


Jeremy Bell is the manager of the Lido cinema and brings with him a strong background in drama and performing arts. For many years he was the manager of the Gallagher Academy of Performing Arts in Hamilton and on staff at the University of Waikato, where he helped develop the drama programme.  His tenure at the university followed time as a professional theatre director in London, including the Young Vic and the Royal Shakespeare Company.


Kim Budd has been the principal of Kaipaki school since 2017. She plays violin, flute, and piano and was a  member of the Waikato Secondary Schools Orchestra. Kim plays with the Rusty Player Orchestra.


Theresa Le Bas is the senior partner of Tompkins Wake’s Environmental Law Team, with more than 25 years’ legal experience in national law firms in both New Zealand and Australia. Tompkins Wake is a national law firm with particularly strong ties to the Waikato community nurtured through the provision of legal services in Hamilton for nearly a century and in Rotorua for more than a century. Theresa is a current board member of the Tompkins Wake Board, a Trustee of the Rotorua Public Arts Trust and a co-chair of the Resource Management Law Association’s Organising Committee for the 2021 RMLA Conference. To balance out the analytical focus of daily working life, Theresa is an enthusiastic amateur cellist, an occasional pianist and a keen masters rower.  Theresa plays with the Rusty Player Orchestra


Tracey Lowndes is a long-time non-playing orchestra enthusiast. Her professional background is in communications and engagement and she has also held senior roles in project management and business support. She has a keen understanding of words and numbers and is practical, strategic and discerning. Tracey is passionate about the mighty Waikato and committed to contributing to the development and appreciation of our regional arts community.


Sean McCormack is Chief Financial Officer of NDA Group Ltd, a Hamilton headquartered, multinational stainless steel engineering and manufacturing business and as such brings a financial and commercial focussed approach to the Trust.  Originally from Ireland, but settled in the Waikato since 2004, Sean has had a career spanning finance roles across global professional services, IT, investment management and manufacturing/engineering organisations.  Sean is a qualified Chartered Accountant with the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Ireland.


Samantha Walker is a low carbon specialist, marketer, fundraiser and award-winning producer with international experience in the performing arts, media and local government sectors. Samantha combines specialist creative sector sustainability expertise with deep knowledge of theatre, venue, festival, orchestra and broadcasting management.  Roles within the performing arts have included Business Development Manager for Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra NZ; Marketing Director for renowned UK chamber ensemble Britten Sinfonia; and Head of Marketing and Fundraising for London’s early and contemporary music festival producer, Spitalfields Music. She now dedicates her time as a sustainability specialist, project manager and trustee to the creative, culture and event sectors.


Liam Wooding is one of New Zealand’s leading emerging pianists and has performed as a soloist and collaborator around the world in recent years. Liam is also undertaking a doctorate at the University of Waikato where he researches New Zealand Piano Music. Originally from Whanganui, Liam believes that access to and engagement with music for people from all communities is important. He brings to the role international experience in making music with regional communities in Australia and the United States.

Read our Strategic Plan 2020-2023

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