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.

Endorsements of our Service
to the Community

"As a passionate advocate for provincial New Zealand, I applaud the good work of Arts On Tour NZ. This initiative to bring musicians and performers to the heartland of New Zealand is a commendable contribution to the life and colour of our smaller towns. The regions of New Zealand are as important today as ever."

~ Jim Anderton

"AOTNZ not to be faulted ..top line...superb evening."

~ Regent Theatre Greymouth

"The Penguin Club and Arts On Tour NZ did us a great favour last Friday night when they brought Carolyn Mills and Bridget Douglas to Oamaru for an evening performance."

~ Oamaru Mail

"Very good. Like all AOTNZ performers we've hosted they were a delight to deal with, very personable."

~ Taieri Dramatic Society, Mosgiel

Many thanks for yet another brilliant act!

~ Inangahua Community Arts Council, Reefton

"One of the best we've had. AOTNZ excellent as usual."

~ Out in the Styx Café Pukeatua

"Absolutely fantastic show... rave reviews from patrons (still getting them)"

~ Penguin Club, Oamaru

"Excellent posters and flyers. It makes such a difference to have such professional material."

~ Waimate Community Arts Council

"Another bloody fantastic show!"

~ The Mussel Inn Golden Bay

"AOTNZ provides a service second to none… we hope our relationship with AOTNZ will go from strength to strength. The artistic quality of the programme is very consistently professional. A wide variety from classical to folk and comedy. Keep up the good work."

~ West Coast Theatre Trust

"Arts On Tour NZ service is great... Kiwiana well received."

~ Positively Clutha Women

"Arts On Tour NZ very organised."

~ Ashburton County Lions Club

"Excellent. We really value the quality of the service provided by AOTNZ. The groups who tour are always professional and of an excellent standard."

~ Toi Rakiura, Stewart Island

Truly professional and superb artistes. Whistling stamping and cheering audience, not usual, must say in Waimate. Hope they come again.

~ Waimate Community Arts Council

"AOTNZ service was excellent... great, polished, solid artist."

~ Lyttelton Community Arts

"The service is unique bringing a wide range of musical genre at a reasonable cost to the smaller communities-please continue!"

~ Whangamata Singers