About Us

Arts On Tour NZ is a community focussed agency with a high level of professional expertise. We are the pre-eminent touring agency to rural and remoter centres of New Zealand.

Arts On Tour NZ provides access for audiences in the communities of all three islands (including Stewart Island) through the delivery of an annual Menu of quality professional performing arts opportunities.

As a wholesale arts delivery system, we offer effective management, timely delivery, an achievable price and a guarantee of quality to our retailers, who are arts councils, repertory societies, regional galleries, music societies, festivals and individual patrons.

Their customers in turn benefit in many and various ways, from community and health benefits, to a sense of belonging and personal insight, as well as providing the development and further employment of artists through touring.


Steve Thomas: General Manager

Steve ThomasSteve established Arts On Tour NZ in 1995 after receiving an ANZAC Fellowship to research arts touring programmes in Australia. He held a previous post as Touring Manager for The Southern Regional Arts Council. Before that he was the first Director of the Nelson Festival in 1983. Graduated B.Tech.(Hons) in psychology, sociology and economics, from Brunel University, London.

A poet from an early age, Steve has staged numerous solo and collaborative productions such as The Tupperware Party (1982), Pink Bits (1983) and Prime Time TV Live (1987) He is the author of three books and several CD recordings, and he has appeared at many festivals and special events held here in New Zealand and overseas.

He is better known to many as Radio NZ National's, "Bard of Christchurch".

Board of Trustees

Steve Lowndes

Steve LowndesAn Englishman by birth, Steve has lived on Banks Peninsula since 1979. He holds a BA (hons) from Bath Academy of Art (majoring in Visual Communication) and a Post Graduate Diploma in Fine Art from the City Art Institute in Sydney. After a teaching stint in the UK, Steve travelled to Brazil where he taught at the design school in Rio de Janeiro.

Since emigrating to New Zealand, Steve has taken casual art classes at the Akaroa School and worked in commercial art studios. After a 15 year tenure as Director of the Akaroa Museum he became active in local government with his attention focused in the areas of art, heritage and culture.

Drawing and painting remain his greatest passion and he has exhibited frequently at Akaroa's Powerhouse Gallery and the Little River Gallery.

Anne Edmond

Anne is the proprietor of Annie’s Wine Bar and Restaurant at the Arts Centre of Christchurch.

She holds a BA in English literature and was a member of the NZ Ski team from 1955 to 1963. She still competes in Masters Ski races in NZ and North America.

Anne has always taken a great interest in, and participated in, drama, opera, poetry, literature, singing, music and other circus delights!

Stewart Ross

A registered architect, Stewart has run his own practice for the last 30 years. He has maintained an involvement with the Court Theatre (Christchurch's only professional theatre) as an actor, and also as their architect, – the original theatre having seen many refurbishments and expansions over the years.

He has worked as a consultant to Creative New Zealand, advising community groups planning theatre developments and he is currently working on various theatre projects in the South Island.

Stewart is a trustee on the Christchurch Arts Centre Trust Board.

Richard Arlidge

Richard Arlidge is an art gallery and museum consultant with an extensive knowledge of, and commitment to, the performing arts. He is currently based at Punakaiki on the West Coast of the South Island.

Richard has been involved in the design, development and operation of Aratoi - Wairarapa Museum of Art and History (1998-2002) and the design, development and operation of the Tauranga Art Gallery Toi Tauranga (2003-2009).

Vic Tutton

Vic Tutton has had over twenty years within the wine and arts sectors and brings an astute business knowledge and appreciation of the arts to the Board.

Employed as a community arts worker, she then became a member of the Christchurch Community Arts Council. In the days of the Southern Regional Arts Council, she worked as a consultant on community arts projects.

She has achieved a Master of Business Administration with Distinction, University of Canterbury. 1986 – 1988 and a Canterbury Chamber of Commerce prize for Small Business/Entrepreneurship, C.F.M. Scholarship. Other qualifications include Post Graduate Diploma Horticultural Science (Viticulture and Oenology), Lincoln University, Canterbury. 1990 – 1993 and a Bachelor of Arts (Art History), University of Canterbury. 1977 – 1981.

Lindon Puffin

Lindon PuffinCut from the cloth of the musical troubadour, Lindon Puffin spends half his life on the road performing.

Part folk singer, part comedian, he describes himself as fisherman trapped in a musicians body. Someone else described him as the love child of Bruce Springsteen and Chris Knox!

A gifted whistler, pretty decent harmonica player, anarchic story teller and a gutsy songwriter with a voice as big as his heart.

Endorsements of our Service to the Community in 2013/14

“We would hardly ever get performances like this in our area without Arts On Tour NZ. Thank you!!
~ South Hokianga Arts Council (on Swing Driven Thing

“What an amazing show your team put on. The forty students and 80 odd paying adults all came away moved by the powerful acting and script. Brilliant…everyone loved it.”
~ Akaroa Area School

I would just like to let you know how much our rural community appreciates your support that allows this excellent programme to continue. We think the service is excellent and without AOTNZ organisation and free publicity/posters/flyers we would not be able have concerts in this rural community.
~ Balcairn Public Hall Committee

“Excellent-many comments of how good it was to have such good theatre and not to have to travel 2 hours. A most enjoyable evening.”
~ Catlins Promotions

“Wonderful, professional and good communication and support…I will book Arts on Tour Productions again, great service and wonderful support for local art, something I am also extremely passionate about.”
~ Rogue Stage Rotorua

“I would just like to congratulate you on the fantastic job that you do for Arts on Tour. It is such a great service for small towns like Twizel.
~ Twizel Community Arts Council

“I very much hope that we will be able to form a sound working relationship with your arts organisation.  I think the concept is fabulous – congratulations.”
~ Creative Mercury Bay Trust

“It so good to get performances of this calibre in our small towns. Thanks so much to you and Arts on Tour for making it happen…Overall I am really pleased about the base of support we are building and we are getting a lot of expressions of appreciation for bringing the shows to town…
~ Hokitika