EVANZ Board Election Candidates

6 Oct 2020 10:30 AM | Anonymous

Venue Representatives - Nominees

Joelene Elliott - Energy Events Centre Rotorua

Joelene Elliott

Born and raised in a small eastern bay town, Joelene moved to Rotorua after finishing high school to study Tourism at Waiariki Polytechnic, which led to employment with Tourism Rotorua Marketing as a Marketing Assistant. 

An opportunity arose to work at the Rotorua Convention Centre where she completed a Diploma in Tourism Industry Management, graduated from Public Venue Managers School and was promoted to Operations Manager for the Rotorua Convention Centre, Civic Theatre, Soundshell and Tea House.

With her background and experience (spanning over 15 years so far) she continues to work in the industry managing Rotorua’s premier facility, the Energy Events Centre. Also in 2013 she completed the Accredited Venue Manager (AVM) programme designed to recognise extensive venue management experience, contribution and qualifications for middle to senior managers.

Joelene hs served on the EVANZ Board since 2016 and is the current Vice-Chair. 


Mark Mekalick - Trafalgar Centre/Trafalgar Park, Nelson

Mark Mekalick

Tēnā koutoa katoa.

Since attending my first EVANZ conference in 2014 I have been a big advocate for EVANZ and the work that is done to support our wonderful industry. I am proud and honoured to stand for the EVANZ Executive and would love the opportunity to represent our great venues of Aotearoa New Zealand. I have been working in the venue management industry for ten years. I started in 2010 as an Operations Assistant at TSB Hub in Hawera after graduating from Massey University. After a number of years working at that facility I was offered the opportunity to become the Facility Manager. I worked at the TSB Hub for seven years before accepting the role of Venue Manager of Trafalgar Centre and Trafalgar Park in Nelson. I have now been with Trafalgar Venues for three years. One of the proudest moments of my career so far was when the Trafalgar Centre won Medium Venue of the Year at the 2019 EVANZ Awards. Right from an early age I have been a true venue geek. When I was young I used to get very excited when driving past or visiting any stadium or arena (and to be honest, not much has changed, I still get excited when visiting all venues). On a trip to Europe I drove my wife mad when I insisted on doing every stadium tour in every city we visited. I would love to join the EVANZ Executive! I have a lot of energy and knowledge and want to be able to give back to an industry that I am very passionate about. I would specifically like to be a voice for the younger venue members and those from regional centres. I feel that we have a fantastic base of young members and I want to help to empower them in their journey to become future venue managers and executives. As we all know, the industry is facing some tough and challenging times and the road ahead can look a little unclear.

Jason Wade - Clarence Street Theatre

Jason Wade - Clarence Street Theatre


Jason Wade has been involved in the arts industry professionally for over 10 years. After returning from living in London where Jason worked in regional management, Jason studied theatre at the University of Waikato and took on arts management roles locally. Five years ago Jason was appointed General Manager of Clarence St Theatre. He has elevated Clarence St Theatre from being an under-utilised and undervalued performing arts space to a thriving key part of regional infrastructure. Jason believes performing arts venues of all sizes play an integral role in the wellbeing and health of our communities. It is no longer enough for performing arts centres to only play host to local performing arts organisations and present visiting artists and programs from across the country and around the world, venues, events and organisations need to take an active role in leading change in our communities. Jason is an outspoken and strong advocate for our industry and works collaboratively with several other venues across Aotearoa. 

James Parkinson - Auckland Stadiums

James Parkinson

I am the Director of Auckland Stadiums and, in that capacity, have the privilege of leading a dedicated team of venue professionals that run Mt Smart Stadium, Western Springs Stadium, and North Harbour Stadium. We host over 640,000 visitors a year (in normal times!) and have embedded a strong culture of placing the customer at the centre of everything we do in order to deliver as much value as possible back to our industry partners.

Throughout my 22-year involvement in the event venue industry, our industry’s viability and sustainability has never been more under threat than it is now due to COVID-19. It is more important than ever that we come together as a strong industry organisation that can effectively advocate for our needs and the economic and social betterment of our communities. In this context, I am very keen to join the EVANZ Board and contribute my strategic thinking and senior leadership experience. Our industry can, and should, have a vital role to play in re-building community and local economies as New Zealand navigates its way through this global pandemic.

While my industry involvement over the last eight years has been very much focused on the stadia sector, my previous consulting career saw me involved in a wide range of event venues throughout the country including theatres, convention centres, indoor arenas, and exhibition facilities. I do, therefore, have the benefit of a broad industry perspective.

My governance experience includes being a former director of Horwath HTL Ltd (consulting firm), a former trustee of the Silo Theatre and Oranga School and I am currently on the governing body at St Aidan’s Anglican Church.

I am hard-working and very focused on being a team player. I would welcome the opportunity to join the Board at this time and contribute back to an industry that has given me so much fun, enjoyment, and reward over the years.




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