Diana Marsh
Chief Executive | Tumu Whakarae

Diana commenced in the role of SOUNZ Chief Executive in July 2015. She has held a number of leadership roles having worked as a manager in music and arts administration for more than 20 years. Diana is a former General Manager of Orchestra Wellington and former Manager of the New Zealand String Quartet. She first worked with New Zealand composers as Manager of MusicWomen Aotearoa, the third Composing Women’s Festival in 1999, and has also worked for the World of Wearable Arts as Show Producer.

Diana is the President of the International Association of Music Centres (IAMIC), an organisation that has a membership of around 33 countries. She is the first person from outside Europe and the UK to serve in this role. Her governance roles have included being a trustee of the Lilburn Residence Trust and the Adam Chamber Music Festival.  Diana holds a Bachelor of Music from Victoria University of Wellington.

In our Meet the Team series we invite you to sit down and learn more about each SOUNZ staff member. Today we introduce Diana Marsh Chief Executive | Tumu Whakarae.

Ko Taranaki te maunga.
Ko Te Whanganui-ā-Tara te moana.
Ko Ngāti Rāhiri te hapu.
Ko Te Ātiawa te iwi.
Ko te Tumu Whakarae o Toi te Arapūoru.
Ko Diana Marsh tōku ingoa.

Can you tell us a bit about your family, kids, where you’re from etc

I live on the edge of Wellington’s Botanic Gardens with my husband, 21-year old daughter, 17-year old son and our two poodles Treena and Poppy. Plus we have a resident frog in our small pond that likes to croak at night. We have named him George.

Where did you grow up? Where else have you lived?

I am a born and bred Wellingtonian and like many New Zealanders of my generation, I lived abroad when undertaking my ‘OE’ many years ago.  I have also lived in Christchurch for some months and have had some extended time in Auckland over the years.

What do you enjoy doing when you are not working?

I really enjoy interacting with those who have a special place in my life. As a family, we go to Martinborough regularly and I love riding my bike around the town.  I have a keen interest in European history from the 16th century through to the 19th century so I am always on the lookout for non-fiction books on this topic. I love listening to music and enjoy a really good crime podcast.

What is your earliest musical memory?

Learning ballet to music when I was 4 years old. Also, I used to listen to my father’s record collection from a really young age and dance to the symphonies he would play.  Dad has always loved the music of Beethoven and that did influence me, especially when I was younger.

What are the values that drive you?

I receive satisfaction from working in a challenging environment that presents new and positive opportunities. I need to work in a sector that has a greater purpose than revenue generation. I consider myself very lucky to have been able to have a career in music, as few people have the opportunity to combine their career with something that they love or feel passionate about.

How do you maintain work/life balance?

I don’t see balance as being the key issue as I Iove my job and working in the arts sector. The greatest challenge is attending all the events that are on while juggling a busy personal life. However, as my children are getting older and becoming more independent I have more time to attend concerts and other events.

What is the best concert or music event you have ever attended?

Richard Strauss’ Opera ‘Elektra’ performed at Covent Garden in 1997. An incredible production that, for me, has never been surpassed.

Where’s your favourite place in the world?

In a work context, I love the anticipation of sitting in an auditorium while an orchestra tunes in preparation for a concert. For me, it’s strangely comforting and exciting. Personally, my favourite place is at home or relaxing during the summer holiday break at Lake Taupo with my family and close friends. Although, I do love Italy.

What’s the best meal you have ever had?

I’m not much of a foodie and I don’t like cooking, but fortunately, my husband excels in this area.  However, there is a restaurant in Florence that we went to on our honeymoon more than 20 years ago.  It is in a historic building with beautifully painted frescos and a wonderful atmosphere. From memory, the food was pretty good too. We can’t remember the restaurant’s name, but we could locate it when we returned with our children in 2014. It did live up to our expectations!

Treena and Poppy

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