Alison’s love of the arts began with music. While growing up in Invercargill, Alison completed her ATCL on piano and also played the cello in the Southland Youth Orchestra and chamber music groups. Her love of music has since extended beyond classical to many other music genres, and has expanded to an appreciation of a wide spectrum of the arts, particularly the visual and performing arts.
Alison served several years as a trustee of the Southland Art Foundation, which she has recently re-joined. She has wide-ranging governance experience, with current roles including being a member of the Southland Conservation Board, a trustee of a national community-led development organisation and an executive member of a community education group. Previous governance roles included several years of involvement with community philanthropy, including four years chairing the Community Trust of Southland. Alison was co-founder and long-serving national chair of the Women’s Self Defence Network Wāhine Toa. Alison has also served a term as New Zealand’s National Commissioner for Education for UNESCO.
In her day job, Alison undertakes consultancy for community projects and capacity building across the fields of social services, housing, education, conservation, and disability issues.
Alison believes that the arts provide both reflection of and inspiration for the community. In the words of Pablo Picasso, “Art washes away from the soul the dust of everyday life.”