Equity New Zealand Board
Te Poari

Jennifer Ward-Lealand Te Atamira

President

Jennifer Ward-Lealand Te Atamira

President

Since training at Auckland’s Theatre Corporate, Jennifer has worked extensively in theatre, film, television, musical and radio for nearly 40 years. She is also a trained Intimacy Coordinator for stage and screen.

Jennifer was a founding board member of the Watershed Theatre and a co-founder of the drama school,  The Actors’ Program. She is President of  Equity New Zealand (since 2008), Patron of Q Theatre and Theatre New Zealand and serves as a trust board member of the Actors Benevolent Fund.

In the 2007 New Year’s Honours List, she was named an Officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit (ONZM) for services to theatre and the community.

In 2018 she was named SPADA Industry Champion and in 2019 New Year’s Honours List, she was named a Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit (CNZM) for services to theatre, film and television and presented with a Woman of Influence Award (for arts and culture) Most recently, Jennifer was honoured as the Kiwibank New Zealander of the Year 2020.

Tandi Wright

Vice-President

Tandi Wright

Vice-President

Tandi is an actor of more than 25 years experience, working both in NZ and offshore.

She is passionate about improving the day-to-day lot of actors in NZ and has been Vice President of Equity NZ for over 10 years. Career highlights include Daffodils, Monster Problems, The Returned, Jack the Giant Slayer, Out of the Blue, Black Sheep, The Events, Twelfth Night, When The Rain Stops Falling, Nothing Trivial, and This Is Not My Life.

Fasitua Amosa

Vice-President

Fasitua Amosa

Vice-President

Fasitua is Samoan and has spent the last 18 years either on stage, on camera, behind a mic in the booth and recently directing and developing Pacific theater in Auckland.

Fasitua has worked for the Silo Theatre Company, Auckland Theatre Company and the Kila Kokonut Krew and has numerous film and television credits including The Millen Baird Show, The Tattooist, Siones Wedding and The Insiders Guide to Happiness. In 2009 he began doing Stand Up comedy as a new challenge. His show Ruufless!! was a great success at the 2010 International Comedy Festival earning him a nomination for Best Newcomer at the Festivals Comedy Awards.

In 2012, Fasitua performed his show “Info Crack Whore” at the Comedy Festival. Fasitua is a founder member of the Pacific Theatre Laboratory, which was formed in 2012 out of a desire to create contemporary Pacific works that are engaging, meaningful and challenging to the pacific theatre status quo. In 2013, Fasitua stars in “Le Tonu – the Decision” produced by the Pacific Theatre Laboratory. He is a keen motorcyclist and super proud to have stepped up as a Vice President for Equity New Zealand. He looks forward to serving and strengthening the union.

Fiona Armstrong

Secretary

Fiona Armstrong

Secretary

Fiona has worked as a Director, Writer and Actor in New Zealand and the UK over the last 12 years.

Fiona completed a BA hons in Theatre at Loughborough University in 2011, graduated from The Actors Program in 2017. Her credits include Emmerdale (ITV), Constance(TVNZ) and Theatre shows Earthquakes in London and Animal. Fiona holds a Gold medal in LAMDA and a Advanced Associate Diploma in teaching from Speech NZ. Fiona is passionate about performer’s rights and ensuring graduate New Zealand actors have access to a sustainable and rewarding career.

Marianne Infante

Marianne Infante

Born in Pampanga (Philippines) raised in Christchurch (Aotearoa), Marianne is an interdisciplinary Kapampangán creative artist and actor in theatre and film. In 2016 she graduated with a Bachelors in Performing Arts Majoring in Screen and Theatre Acting from Unitec. Marianne then joined forces with Proudly Asian Theatre as the company’s executive producer. Later, Marianne emerged as a fresh playwright producing and featuring in Aotearoa’s first and award-winning Filipino theatre production called ‘Pinay’, proving her to be a game-changer in NZ’s artistic landscape.  Infante aims to empower and authentically represent Pan-Asian voices and support the growth of Asian talents in film and theatre.

Cherie Moore

Cherie Moore

Cherie is a singer, actor, vocal coach, director, producer, and a founder of Last Tapes Theatre Company.

She is a graduate of The Actors’ Program, has a double degree in Drama and English from the University of Auckland, and has studied singing for the last 20 years. She teaches singing to a private studio of students, for The Actors’ Program, and as an itinerant teacher. Cherie also regularly vocal coaches plays as well as shows with music, and can be found singing at venues around the city.

This year, Cherie is also working as the head of voice at The Actors’ Program, where she is responsible for the vocal development of the actors’ voice during their year at drama school.

Cherie recently co-created and performed the show Valerie for the Auckland International Cabaret Festival. Valerie was named cabaret of the year by The Herald, won most original production at the Auckland Theatre Awards, and has since been touring nationally and internationally.

Valerie won a Fringe First Award in Edinburgh in 2018. Other credits include; Karaoke Boiz (Q Theatre), The Space Between (Auckland Town Hall), Twelfth Night (Fortune Theatre), Into The Woods (Fortune Theatre), The Tempest (Pop Up Globe), Hungover the Musical (Basement Theatre), The Last Five Years (Herald Theatre), Verbatim (North Island Tour), and Shortland Street.

Cherie has been directing and helping develop work since she graduated University in 2011 and has been directing large scale musical theatre shows for high schools for the last four years. She is also the founder and creative director of Ihi Musical Theatre Company – an auditioned youth company that develops the performance skills of emerging performers aged 10 – 20.

Cherie is represented by Auckland Actors, and is a proud member of Actors’ Equity as well as being on the board.

Rashmi Pilapitiya

Rashmi Pilapitiya

As the first Sri Lankan woman to graduate from Toi Whakaari as an actor in 2003, Rashmi’s career highlights include performing at The Court Theatre,  Auckland Theatre Company, Silo and Pop Up Globe. You may have seen her on TV in Shortland Street, Harry, Jonah and Mean Mums. She also spent nine years working as broadcast crew for TVNZ and Al Jazeera.

Her most recent role at Panuku Development involved capacity and capability building for community groups.

Miriama McDowell

Miriama McDowell

Miriama is an actress, director, tutor and writer.

She graduated from Toi Whakaari in 2002. She started her career working in theatre with some of Aotearoa’s best-known Maori playwrights and quickly moved into film and television. Miriama has worked extensively in TV, most recently Brokenwood Mysteries, Hope and Wire and Find Me A Maori Bride.

Miriama’s film credits include Mahana, Waru, No.2 and Dark Horse. Miriama won the best actress Moa for her role as Bunny in Great Maiden’s Blush in 2017.

Miriama works as a director in theatre, and in 2017 her production of Much Ado About Nothing for Pop Up Globe was seen by 50,000 audience members in NZ before touring to Melbourne. She has just directed her first TV series, Ahikaaroa.

Miriama has been an integral member of Massive Company for over a decade and loves working with young people. Most recently Miriama has been working as an intimacy coordinator which is a great opportunity to advocate for actors on set. Miriama is a mother of two girls and is passionate about challenging our industry to look after working mothers.

Jeff Szusterman

Jeff Szusterman

Jeff Szusterman is an award-winning actor who has appeared in numerous theatre, film, and television productions.

Jeff has worked in theatre as both an actor and director all around Aotearoa and the United States, and regularly teaches and coaches the next generations of young professional actors at AYA Drama School, and tertiary training facilities around the country. Recent television credits include: War Story, Jonah, Ash v Evil Dead, and the feature film 6 Days. He provided lead character voices for Power Rangers across the two seasons of Samurai, and Super Samurai. He has directed series and reality television and over twenty professional theatre productions. He is currently working on his first play, slated for production in 2020.