Katrina Smit

From our girl Bridget: Katrina was the only Māori working at The Dowse when I started an internship there. Unfortunately this is not uncommon in the cultural sector, but fortunately whanaungatanga is a powerful beast, constantly reminding us to look after one and other. Katrina epitomised Dowse hospitality and backed me, as all tuakana do, by being a boss. She dresses like a boss and demands respect like a boss and is an all round boss of a human.

Matariki here, jumping in on the waka of praise for Katrina. I have had the pleasure of meeting Katrina a handful of times but each of those times I have walked away with a feeling of empowerment and a renewed will to agitate for change because of the mind-bending and challenging whakaaro she comes up with. That is the mark of a true tuakana.

In five words, describe your role in the sector. 

Arts communicator and relationship manager. 

What have been some challenges in your career? 

Over committing and feeling burnt out. Everyone who works in the sector invests heart and soul, it's an overtly emotive industry. Sometimes you have to step out, take a breather before you step back in. The responsibility to make it great is both a motivator and a burden. 

What is it about the sector you love?

The ideas! The possibilities! When the audience connects with the work and fireworks happen, it's transformative and utterly addictive. (There's a connection there between the fireworks and burnt out). 

What challenges can you see moving forward? 

I'm all about the opportunities. The more we can move arts and culture to the centre of our world the better, it's part of living a healthy life, filling up, rather than emptying out. That's the challenge for the sector (and for those working in it) make what you do relevant and make it count. 

What do you think people in the early stages of their careers can offer the sector?

Fresh eyes, new energy, optimism! Endless possibilities...  

What is your spirit animal?

Tiger mother.