About the origin of the festival
The Island Bay Festival was started in the late 1980s by a small group of Island Bay residents who believed in bringing forth the hidden gems of talented, creative people living in Island Bay. They wanted to celebrate the great musicians, artists, poets, writers in Island Bay; and at the same time get the community together for some fun. What started as a small grass-roots weekend festival has grown over the years to a multi-day festival that’s also for wider Wellington. It’s a festival that we, as Island Bay-ers can be proud of!
The original vision and purpose of the Festival was to showcase the best of Island Bay. There would be something for everyone in the festival programme. Any Island Bay person or group, who had an idea for an event could put it on, assisted by the festival team. Island Bay has a diverse array of talented people - writers, musicians, poets, historians, ballroom dancers, yogis, entrepreneurs, foodies, chefs, gardeners, etc. The Festival is an opportunity for us as a community to showcase our talents and connect with each other! And share this with the wider world!
Come join us for some fun!
The Island Bay Enhancement Trust
The Island Bay Enhancement Trust was set up in 1994 to "enhance the beauty of Island Bay and the wellbeing of the land and people ... to enhance the cultural, artistic and social life of Island Bay". The Trust is the legal entity for organising the annual Island Bay Festival, and also has the opportunity to do more community development events throughout the year.
Joe Bleakley, Peter Frater, and Mike Jones have been trustees for some twenty years. In early 2022, they were joined by Michelle Wanwimolruk, Simon Laube and Crissie Jamieson. The trustees are keen to reinvigorate the Festival’s community roots. The Trust, in its heyday, was a great group of Island Bay locals who'd meet up over a drink and have fun together organising the Festival each year!
Current Trustees & Advisors
Michelle joined the Enhancement Trust because she believes in its inspiring purpose. Michelle wants to focus on the community-building aspects of the Trust’s work and sees the Festival as a wonderful way to bring the community together to celebrate its treasures!
Michelle has a background in philanthropy, social change, management consulting and international diplomacy. She moved to Island Bay in 2010, and loves the sea, gardening, and the ‘small village’ feel of the suburb. She lives with her husband, their two kids, cat and dog.
Mike grew up in South Canterbury. After studying Computer Science and Commerce in Christchurch, he moved to Island Bay in 1983, remaining ever since. He likes that the bay is quiet and green, close to the city (but not too close), and small enough to get around on foot. He enjoys the bay’s abundant birdlife - when they aren’t too noisy! His house gets afternoon sun and not too much wind so he’s planning on sticking around.
Despite never working as an accountant, Mike later completed an accountancy qualification at Victoria University. He was roped into joining the Trust as Treasurer in 2007.
You might see Crissie walking barefoot down the hill with goggles in hand for an ocean swim, or trying to keep fit biking and running around the bays. She loves tramping and people think she’s a bit nuts trying to recreate a native forest around her house. Lover of all things Argentinian, she convinced her husband to install an outdoor grill/parilla in the garden and now makes him cook on it. She’s a lawyer. She has three girls. When she’s not taking them to dance classes she’s tucked away writing a thesis on microplastic pollution. She should never be allowed anywhere near a puzzle.
Joe grew up in Johnsonville, moving to the Bay in 1984.
He has had a successful career as an Art Director. His work on the Opening Ceremony of the 1990 Commonwealth Games earned him a QSM. He’s also received various awards and nominations for his work on the Lord of the Rings films, as well as King Kong.
Joe has been a trustee since 2003. He loves the festival’s potential to bring the community together in a positive way, connecting, sharing stories and reminding ourselves of what a beautiful part of the world we live in - the centre of our Universe!
Simon has held various roles within the public sector, with a strong focus within education. He has a reputation for being a leader dedicated to serving others. He is currently the Chief Executive of the Early Childhood Council. Simon agreed to serve as a trustee in an interim capacity.
Simon grew up surrounded by thespians and artists, and comes from a wider family of talented artists, actresses, directors, writers. He was the ‘black sheep’ of the family and studied law and politics before working as a public servant. Simon loves living in Island Bay with his family.
Mark is the (non-trustee) kaumatua for the Island Bay Enhancement Trust.
He has lived on Derwent Street for the last ten years and has three boys at Island Bay Primary School.
Mark is from the local mana whenua iwi - Te Ātiawa and has been a part of the festival opening for the last seven years.
When not singing music you may find Mark diving for kaimoana on the South Coast at Rimurapa or Pariwhero.