Our Executive Director and Artistic Director work year round in preparation for NYDS!

Kelie and Claire are supported by a dedicated and committed Board throughout the year and are joined during the week of NYDS by an amazing team of tutors, support staff and volunteers.

If you’re interested in joining the NYDS team in any capacity, send us an e-mail at


Kelie Jensen

Executive Director

Kelie loves her role at NYDS and is thrilled to help bring this amazing opportunity to hundreds of New Zealand teenagers each year.  She is an arts administrator, producer, writer and actress, has a Bachelor of Business Studies from Massey University, a Bachelor of Fine Arts from the University of Calgary (Canada) and is a qualified Chartered Accountant.  Before returning to New Zealand in 2011, Kelie was General Manager and Artistic Associate at Sage Theatre – an award-winning professional theatre company in Calgary, and Associate Publisher at Alberta Views Magazine – Canada’s Magazine of the Year in 2009.  She has also worked professionally in Canadian theatre and film.  Kelie now lives in Napier with her husband and two wonderful kids where she is also a key member of the Harcourts Hawke’s Bay Arts Festival Team and Event Director of the Edible Fashion Awards.  She is proud to call Hawke’s Bay home.


Claire Keys

Artistic Director

Claire was a student of NYDS in it’s inaugural year and has since returned as Assistant Tutor, Assistant Artistic Director and now Artistic Director. She has a passion for the learning and development of students at the school and is very honoured to be in the position to enable this tradition to continue. She is a graduate of the New Zealand College of Performing Arts, Victoria University, and Wellington College of Education. Claire has directed for HaBYT and has travelled to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival with the play Desperate Antics. She returned to New Zealand in 2017 after several years in Ireland and the USA and currently resides in Wellington with her two beautiful children and wonderful husband.