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Our Trust is on a mission to keep developing the original music scene in Taranaki into the future.  

We formed in July 2023 and became a registered charity in January 2024.


The Trust grew out of the success of our founding event Singer Songwriters New Plymouth which began as an open-mic night in 2006 at a bar in New Plymouth.  This event is still going strong nearly two decades later.  It is a monthly highlight of the Taranaki entertainment calendar and a testament to the passion of local musicians, audiences, and organisers who have kept it going so long.   We think it’s the longest running songwriter event in the country.

The Trust is working behind the scenes to make more performance opportunities for local singer songwriters, provide education and development and build opportunities for original music in the local arts and entertainment scene. 


We are grateful to our foundation event partners New Plymouth Little Theatre,  Manella Productions and Swamp Shack Studios and the many wonderful sponsors who support the Trust’s work keep live, original Taranaki-made music flowing into world.


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Our Trustees


Karen Clarke


Karen is self-managing indie artist (Karen Clarke Blues Woman) writing, singing and recording the songs that make her happy and sharing them at gigs around the motu. By day Karen runs her executive leadership development practice The Talk Shop NZ Ltd. She brings considerable governance, leadership and community engagement experience to the board along with experience running small venues but mostly she just wants to sing!

Andre Nobbs


This Andre joined the Trust in November 2023 and takes care of the financial side of Trusts activities.  Andre brings a huge wealth of leadership and entertainment industry experience to the Board.  He’s a man with many fingers in many pies here in Aotearoa NZ, round the pacific including his Norfolk Island homeland and internationally as he builds a better world one exciting project at time! 

Andre is a family and music man.  He’s a songwriter, plays guitar and harmonica and has even been known to write the odd award-winning movie soundtrack aaaaaand he’s the only trustee who’s ever been a prime minister and have his own stamp!

Anne Dawson


Anne doesn’t have a musical bone in her body, much to her regret.  Instead, music has been the soundtrack that has accompanied her as she moved through a range of careers, from lab technician, to schoolteacher, from Speedway NZ to the coffee industry.  In her current role as station manager for Access Radio Taranaki, she can combine her love of (listening to) music with her mahi.  She is a proud supporter and champion of local talent.   

Along the way she has picked up some great admin skills that have come in handy in her past governance roles. Anne sees the Taranaki Singer Songwriters as a wonderful kohanga waiata for local up and coming musicians, and is proud to be the newest member of the Trust.


Peter Bennett



Andre Manella


Pete Bennett is a man of many traits. Born at home in Brook Street Nelson, delivered by his dad. Left school at 14 and spent the next 37 years running fish plants throughout Aust & NZ. He started up a company Thermal Image NZ Ltd in 2013 to see out his twilight years. He has been in many governance rolls, trust boards and consulting positions. Pete has done some low-key music promotion within Taranaki and has been actively involved with a local radio station hosting various music shows. Grandfather of 7 moko’s. 

André Manella is a Swiss/kiwi musician who has made Taranaki his home in 2007. He's a part of, and manages, 3 original bands (Sonic Delusion, Turkey the Bird & Banana Mundo).
Among playing countless shows all across New Zealand and even internationally he also organises the Taranaki Singer Songwriters events. He is using his experience he gained as a full time touring musician to help grow the local Taranaki music scene by creating countless opportunities for local bands and artists through his production and live music catering company 
Manella Productions.

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