Board of Trustees

The NYDS Board is governed by a passionate team of arts pros who are dedicated to their craft and creating a community through creativity.

Faafouina Patisolo


Faafouina, aka Ina, is an Auckland freelancer who boasts a BMus in Oboe Performance and 20+ years in the arts. Transitioning from orchestral musician to Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra management, she now merges arts and environmental activism. Key projects include EcoWest Festival’s “Arts on Climate Change,” Bike Avondale cycling events, and creating greater opportunities for Pasifika peoples as part of Whau Pasifika. Ina is also a proud mum of two.

Email Ina:

Rachael Blampied

Board Member

Rachael, ex-NYDS student and current Screen Acting tutor, holds a Performing & Screen Arts degree from Unitec. Known for her leading roles in ‘Shortland Street’ and ‘Nancy Wake: The White Mouse’, she has extensive screen credits. A skilled musician, she’s performed at Coca-Cola Christmas in the Park. Based in Auckland, Rachael juggles acting, voice work, and producing TV/film projects – including music videos and commercials.

Laurel Devenie

Board Member

Laurel is a graduate of Toi Whakaari: New Zealand Drama School. She has served as Sigourney Weaver’s stand-in on ‘Avatar’, directing theatrical productions in Whāngārei, and starring in the highly acclaimed play ‘On the Upside Down of the World’, which she performed at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. Following appearances on TV shows such as ‘The Blue Rose’ and ‘Bombshell’, Laurel joined the cast of ‘Shortland Street’ in 2016, playing the role of nurse Kate Nathan.

Brin Rudkin

Board Member

Brin is a former NYDS student and was part of the NYDS Media Team for more than 10 years, prior to joining the Board. He is an experienced broadcaster, including 10 years at MediaWorks as a newsreader and radio presenter. Brin has reported from countries including the USA, UAE, Indonesia and Australia, creating content for iconic global brands including ‘Emirates’.

Trace Tidd

Board Member

Trace has been tutoring the Musical Theatre class at NYDS since 2014, advocating for the transformative power of performing arts. Passionate about mentoring youth, she uses the arts to foster purpose, belonging, and lasting connections. Based in sunny Whakatane, Trace balances being a mum with leading Stage Door Performing Arts Academy and thriving as a performer, tutor, vocal coach, director, and singing teacher.

Nafanua Kersel

Board Member

Nafanua is a writer, poet and performer who was born in Samoa and raised in Wellington. A graduate of Te Pūtahi Tuhi Auaha o Te Ao, the International Institute of Modern Letters, she was the recipient of the 2022 Biggs Family Prize in Poetry for her collection ‘Black Sugarcane’. Nafanua has a degree in social anthropology and lives in Hawke’s Bay with her husband and three children.

Peter Tihema

Board Member

Bio coming soon.