- Youth Arts News Zealand
- Exciting News: Darius Martin-Baker Takes the Helm as YANZ's New CEO!
Exciting News: Darius Martin-Baker Takes the Helm as YANZ's New CEO!
Youth Arts New Zealand (YANZ) is thrilled to announce the appointment of Darius Martin-Baker (Ngāpuhi) as its new Chief Executive Officer. A proud rangatahi Māori with a diverse background in Rongoa Māori, music, theatre, leadership, business and finance studies, Darius brings a wealth of experience and passion for the arts to YANZ.
Born and raised in Te Tai Tokerau, Darius has a strong connection to his Māori heritage, which he describes as a "giant part" of who he is; “I love every bit of being Māori—the culture, my people, my whānau; everything about being Māori, I love.”
His love for the arts began at a young age, with a special affinity for music and theatre, shaping his journey to becoming a well-rounded creative and advocate for the arts. Speaking to his creative upbringing, he says, ‘my journey with the arts began from the moment I was born. As a baby, my whānau would play Fantasia for me. The sounds, colours, and animations captivated my tiny soul, sparking the birth of my love for the arts.”
After being awarded the most outstanding performer at the SGCNZ 2021 Shakespeare Festival, Darius was selected to participate in the Young Shakespeare Company’s delegation to the Globe Theatre in London for a three-week intensive theatre training. His portrayal of King Henry V had a localised touch that portrayed Māori in pre-colonial Aotearoa. He has also represented Aotearoa at the University Scholars Leadership Symposium at the UN centre in Thailand.
Darius is very excited about stepping into the role of CEO, with a strong desire to create positive change in the creative sector. He is particularly passionate about the transformative power of the arts in understanding and addressing societal issues, emphasising the need for change in areas such as climate, homelessness, mental health and community wellbeing.
Commenting on Darius's appointment, YANZ’s Chair Tania Jones shared, "the appointment of the new YANZ CEO is part of the continuing development of YANZ and our creative rangatahi community. Darius brings skills and experiences which will guide the delivery and direction of YANZ in our continuing evolution of organisational development, taking us to new levels of capability and involvement. We are really excited to welcome Darius into the YANZ whānau - to build his knowledge and expertise into our team, and to journey with him as he takes this next step on his own leadership path.”
Matthew Goldsworthy, YANZ’s Founder and outgoing CEO, added, “it is an incredible honour to welcome Darius into the YANZ whānau. The time is right to welcome our next leader into the CEO role - and I couldn’t be happier that we have found such a fantastic, creative and grounded leader to take YANZ into the future.” Matthew will stay on the YANZ team until March 2023 in a Strategic Advisor role, to support Darius and the organisation throughout this transition period.
Darius’ hope is to help create an Aotearoa where youth and their creativity are nurtured, supported, and celebrated. Speaking to this, he says, “the arts and creativity provides rangatahi a chance to share their true selves and bring back a sense of wonder that sometimes gets lost in our fast-paced, digital world. It's not just about expressing themselves; it's also about building a stronger sense of community and understanding of each other.”
Youth Arts New Zealand looks forward to this exciting new chapter with Darius at the helm of a talented team of creative rangatahi.
Darius is welcomed into the YANZ whānau with a mihi whakatau on Monday 11th December
About Youth Arts New Zealand (YANZ)
Youth Arts New Zealand (YANZ) is Aotearoa’s leading youth-led organisation with a vision for every young person across the motu to know the worth of their creative identity. Since YANZ’s founding in 2018, our team of creative rangatahi have run 350+ impactful events and projects, provided creative experiences for over 700 rangatahi across Aotearoa, and distributed over $610,000 in employment opportunities and artist fees to young people through our initiatives.