News and events

New DMMF trustees appointed

From left Gretchen La Roche, Thomas Fleming, Susan Taylor

Three new trustees have been appointed to the Dame Malvina Major Foundation, joining a board committed to Dame Malvina’s vision to ‘Share the Dream’ with New Zealand’s next generation of talent.

Among them are Dame Malvina’s eldest grandson, Thomas Fleming, an advisor at the Ministry of Housing and Urban Development, who was asked by Dame Malvina to join the board to ensure her legacy continues and that the Foundation maintains a strong connection with her family.

“I feel very privileged to join the board and such a special and unique organisation. Seeing the connection my nana has with the people she has assisted over the years and continues to have is humbling to witness. How she imparts her knowledge and love to these people is a true testament to her loving and caring character,” says Thomas.

Chief Executive of the Christchurch Symphony Orchestra Gretchen La Roche has also been appointed to the board and says she feels very proud to join an organisation that is so committed to supporting the development of young New Zealand artists.

Formerly Principal Clarinet with the Christchurch Symphony Orchestra, Gretchen is an Associate of the Royal Academy of Music and founding member of 175 East, an Auckland-based contemporary music ensemble. She is a trustee for the Chamber Music New Zealand Foundation, an advisory member of the Christchurch City Council’s Arts Strategy Committee and an external assessor and member of the Arts Advocacy panel for Creative New Zealand.

Gretchen says the arts play an intrinsic part in the cultural fabric and wellbeing of our society and ensuring that the next generation of artists are fostered as part of this is vital.

“It is astonishing to see what a huge impact the work of the Foundation has had over the years and I hope that I can make a positive contribution towards ensuring that this will continue for years to come.”

Joining Thomas and Gretchen is Susan Taylor, a Wellington-based lawyer and the Chief Executive Officer of Financial Services Complaints Ltd, an approved dispute resolution scheme. Susan is also a public member of the Advertising Standards Complaints Appeal Board.

‘’I’m an opera lover and a long-time fan of Dame Malvina. I’m also passionate about supporting the careers of promising young singers,” she says. “So, in joining the board of trustees,  I’m thrilled to be able to combine my love of opera with my legal expertise to contribute to the great work the Foundation does.”

Chair David Jackson says the calibre of the new trustees reflects the esteem in which Dame Malvina and her Foundation are held, and they were joining a board that represented an excellent balance of commercial and artistic experience.

“These individuals will inject new energy, insight and expertise into a board whose focus is on nurturing a Foundation that will outlive all of us and continue long into the future the dreams and aspirations of Dame Malvina Major.”

Fond farewells

In welcoming our new trustees, we’ve also had to farewell two longstanding trustees – Anna Midgley and Lindsay Lloyd – who retired from the Board this year.

Anna’s relationship with the Foundation stems from a long friendship with Dame Malvina, which began in the 1960s when they performed The Magic Flute together at London Opera Centre. Anna formed the Christchurch Committee – which she continues to chair – and started the Arts Excellence Awards.

Lindsay has been a trustee since 2007 and has brought invaluable legal and commercial expertise to the Board as a partner and now consultant at Christchurch’s MDS Law.


Sophie Sparrow wins DMMF Wellington Aria


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