29 Apr 2021

Touch Compass announces new Kaiwhakahaere, Jon Tamihere-Kemeys

A light-skinned Māori man with short dark hair and bushy eyebrows against a brick wall, wearing a jacket and scarf, smiling at the camera.A light-skinned Māori man with short dark hair and bushy eyebrows against a brick wall, wearing a jacket and scarf, smiling at the camera.

Passion for people and performance -
Touch Compass continues to shape for the future
Touch Compass is excited to welcome new General Manager, Jon Tamihere-Kemeys, committed to honouring the ethos on which Touch Compass was founded - exceptional and creative arts, dance and performance, diversity, inclusion and social equity.

Disability in dance
25 years ago, Catherine Chappell MNZM founded Touch Compass, an integrated performance company that would make a tangible impact on the social fabric of Aotearoa. Her vision of a better, more enlightened society that accepts diverse artists gave rise to a performance company for exceptional creatives, dancers and performers in the integrated arts landscape.
Navigating the way
Flash-forward 25 years and the organisation that started from a series of integrated dance classes is now a core organisation in the Aotearoa arts space, entertaining and enlightening audiences nationally and internationally by giving voice to outstanding disabled and non-disabled artists, championing equity through education and advocacy across its many touchpoints.
Further developing its role as a champion for inclusive culture and diversity, the organisation’s future mission is to explore the intersection of disability, Māori and Pasifika culture as its unique contribution to the arts. To navigate this future, Touch Compass held to its true North of exceptional arts and performance to appoint Pelenakeke Brown as Interim Artistic Director in 2020, bringing a multidisciplinary approach to Touch Compass’ artistic expression, and now welcomes Jon Tamihere-Kemeys into the fold as its new GM.
Proud to bring his full self
Jon brings a wealth of experience in management, having fulfilled high-responsibility roles across multiple sectors including arts, corporate, commercial, government, not-for-profit and community. A Maori-European of Ngati Porou and Whakatohea descent who grew up in the arts, he says “There aren’t many roles where you get to bring your full self. I’m honoured to be here at Touch Compass where I get to embrace all aspects of me - cultural and commercial - and really make a difference.”
A shift towards the future
Guy Ryan, Chair of Touch Compass, says of Jon’s appointment, I’m delighted that Jon has joined Touch Compass. As we continue to forge a new path, Jon will play a critical role in driving the business side of our operations and in supporting our artistic vision and programme. Jon brings mana, passion, energy and a great mix of skills and experience to the role. It’s great have Jon working with us. I’m confident he will have a real impact on what we can achieve, moving ahead.”

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