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New Operations Officer at the Gaiety

Mikel O’Connell has been appointed as the new Operations Officer at the Gaiety and will hit the ground running with overseeing operations during this busy holiday season.

Mr O’Connell has strong links to the Wairoa district through the O’Connell and Grainger families, well established families within the district.  

“My family is originally from Wairoa, and I’m really looking forward to moving home.”

With a strong background in the performing arts, Mr O’Connell specialises in all aspects of physical theatre, as a performing artist, director, choreographer and theatre management.

I’ve been involved in quite a bit of physical theatre, event management and performing arts work including the Hawke’s Bay Art Deco Week, the Hawke’s Bay Arts Festival, the Hawke’s Bay A&P Show, Hawke’s Bay Edible Fashion Awards show, the Napier Christmas Parade etc.

I really love it, I love performing, managing, coordinating, directing and when I saw this role come up at the Gaiety, I knew that I would be perfect for it.  I have a strong background in sales too.  It can be a bit tough as a performing artist with a young family, so you have to supplement the income somehow, so I worked in sales for many years.  This role at the Gaiety allows me to not only work in the area of my first love, which is performing arts, but also sales, because at the end of the day, the Gaiety needs to be a business too.

I’m really excited to be coming home to look after the Gaiety.  I think the opportunities for the Gaiety are endless.  I think it can be much more than just a movie theatre. It is a great facility and community asset and I’m ready to roll up my sleeves and just get in there to create some really cool opportunities for our community.

I think the holiday season will be a bit of baptism by fire for me, there are some really cool blockbusters coming out like Aquaman and How to Train your Dragon: The Hidden World and I have no doubt the Gaiety will be busy over the holiday period.  

It will give me an opportunity to meet the community, talk to people, get to know the rhythm of the Gaiety and just get a sense of her potential and what cool things we can do there. I really like working with people and I think that if we give the community an awesome experience, that this will add to the value of the Gaiety.

I’m keen to understand what the community expects from the Gaiety too, after all, the Gaiety is a community facility and we need to make sure that we are responding to our community.

I’m keen to see more events at the Gaiety, from concerts to live performances, exhibitions and shows. Something for everyone really.

Wairoa District Council Chief Executive Steven May said that Mr O’Connell has shown that he has some really good ideas for growing the business and the potential of the Gaiety for the benefit of our community and this was key in his appointment.

He has strong roots to our community which is also really great.  It’s really good when we have expats returning home, we need more of this. For our whanau to return home and to bring back all the skills and knowledge they have and to bring them home to Wairoa, Mr May said.

Mr May also wanted to acknowledge Wairoa District Council Economic Development Officer Annalena Atzwanger for overseeing the transition of the Gaiety and also establishing the ‘Friends of the Gaiety’ which is a volunteer programme.  If you’re keen to become a ‘Friend of the Gaiety’, drop in and let us know.

Mr O’Connell will be in the Gaiety Box Office from Saturday, the 22ndof December, so make sure you drop in and say hi and welcome him home, says Mr May.

21 December 2018

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