Dancers, Teachers & Judges

Meet our incredibly talented teachers, our very generous and committed dancers and fabulous judges.


Todd Gibbs & Trish Morris

Todd works at MTF Finance, Whakatane and Constable Trish is a School Education Officer in the NZ Police. She also enjoys running, cycling, and belongs to the Creative Stitchers.

Dallas Hands & Kathryn Coyle

Dallas is the  Owner of Glassman and Locksmiths, fireman, and a pilot. Kathryn is Owner and a Pilates Instructor at Kathryn’s Pilates Studio.

Troy Baker & Kelly Dench

Kelly is a Practice Manager and Registered Legal Executive for Gowing & Co Lawyers Limited. And Troy is a Professional photographer at Troy Baker Photography.

Matt Bullen & Stacey Murray

Matt is a mechanic at Excel Autos and Stacey is an owner and fashionista! Jean & Pete.

Simon Kolo'afa'i & Monica Julian

Simon is the Performing Arts teacher at Whakatane Intermediate School. Monica is the owner of Julians Berry Farm and Cafe.

Tracey Stapp & Karen Dennis

Tracey is an Early Childhood teacher. Loves bushwalking, hunting, fishing, kayaking, mountain biking. Karen is the Admin Manager, at Nicholson Autos.

Richard Hamer & Virginia Jeeves

Richard is the Blue Light Coordinator and  Whakatane Cycle Coach. Virginia is Editor of La Vita and Viva La Vita Magazines, teaches Italian Cooking Classes and takes Foodie tours to Melbourne and Italy.

Ritchie Tidd & Vicky Mexted

Ritchie is a Parts Manager at Nicholson Autos and President of Theatre Whakatane and Vicky is a Mum and wife, keen to conquer her fear of performing in front of a large audience

Max Goodman & Holly Waghorn

Max is  a announcer and production engineer, at Radio BOP Ltd. Holly is a Personal trainer and gym instructor at Sunny Gymz.

Marc Camburn & Bridget Palmer

Marc is a Physical Education Teacher at Trident High School. Bridget works for Department of Conservation, HALO Whakatāne and is a volunteer for the Whakatāne Kiwi Trust.


Susan Nel

Susan Nel started Ballet at age 10 in South Africa and taught Royal Academy of Dance Ballet there for 30 years. She qualified as a Modern Dance Teacher in 1984. She and her husband moved to New Zealand in 2008 and opened Danceffun Studio in 2013. She completed a Dance Movement Therapy Course and has worked with Special Needs Units since then. Susan started teaching Lyrical Dance (JDNZ) in 2017.

Kirsty Sugden

Kirsty owns and operates Steps Dance School in Whakatane that teaches Hip hop, Jazz, Contemporary, Tap and comp crews. Originally from Scotland, Kirsty now calls Whakatane home along with her husband and 3 boys. She says “I’m totally in my element with Dancing with the Stars and it excites me to be helping and teaching people who dont dance… to dance.”

Samantha Barr

Samantha was born and raised in Whakatane and moved to Auckland to complete a Bachelor in Dance Studies at the University of Auckland after finishing High School. Since then she has worked with dance companies and have taught contemporary dance in Tauranga and Whakatane. She is currently teaching contemporary dance with Steps Dance School as well as teaching Barre classes at Mind Body Movement. Samantha is really excited to be part of this amazing community event and look forward to seeing all the dancers bring the house down in October!

Sam McLeod

Sam started performing in Whakatane in 2001, starring in the musical “A Slice of Saturday Night”. After 7 years of performing, he moved to Wellington and gained a Diploma in Commercial Dance and a Bachelor of Applied Arts in Musical Theatre at Wellington Performing Arts Centre. Sam returned to Whakatane, 2017, choreographing Seussical the Musical and is very happy to be back and glad to back in the place where his dream began.

Tanya Bamford King

With over thirty years of Belly Dance teaching and performance experience Tanya brings a wealth of experience and knowledge to New Zealand Belly Dance. With an early background in classical ballet, jazz and contemporary dance Tanya started studying Belly Dance in 1988 and was quickly hooked on the fascinating dance form and moved overseas in 1995 to take the opportunity to perform and study Belly Dance in Luxembourg, Germany, France, England and Tunisia. On returning to New Zealand 1997 Tanya established her own dance school, Art of Movement in Tauranga.

Jane Steane

Jane has been teaching belly dance for the last 7 years at the Ancient Arts studio, where she also teaches yoga. Like many little girls, she fell in love with ballet but it wasn’t until she was in her thirties that dance became a big part of her life, which just goes to show that it’s never too late. I absolutely love dance in all its forms and organise the Dance Carnival each year, (along with others), which is part of the celebrated Whakatane Summer Arts progamme.

Arthur Flintoff

I love dance for the exercise, connection and its creativity. My career started in modern jive and then learnt other forms of partner dancing. Zouk has been my favourite. It’s smooth, strong, flowing movements and synthesised partner connection offers a unique interpretation and artistic opportunities. I have done choreography for special occasions and competitions and teach a range of dance styles.

Karen Saul

Karen Saul was born & bred in Whakatane.She had her first dance lesson when only a toddler – her parents taught old time dancing and the whole family were involved.She was introduced to the Whakatane Rock n Roll Club after leaving high school and her highlight was winning Gold in a senior team event at the NZ Rock n Roll Nationals in 2013. The Club has just won the rights to host the NZ Rock n Roll dance Championships in 2020 in Whakatane! So if you want to learn how to dance, club nights are every Tuesday evening at the Caledonian hall, Kopeopeo.


Wayne Peter Marriott

I have had the privilege of being part of the Eastern Bay of Plenty community since 2009 when I engaged to make the vision of Te Koputu a te Whanga a Toi, the Library & Museum a reality for the community, and we did it! Nearly ten years later we are still committed to the Eastern Bay of Plenty, and it has been my privilege to serve on BayTrust for the past four years – most recently as Deputy Chair; and most recently as Chair, Bay of Plenty Acacia Trust which had the privilege of helping those families in Edgecumbe who lost their photographic and family history collections by digitising over 44,000 images – at no cost. There are so many amazing charities in the EBOP to support, and Life Education is one of them. Life can be really challenging for so many young people in our community and Life Education Trust does such an amazing job in empowering the next generation to stand tall, firm and proud of themselves. Occasionally you will find me dancing around Art & Acre our gallery at on Appenzell Drive; or down at Pou Whakaaro House where I am developing the new Community House.

Rebecca Sutherland

Professional performer and choreographer Rebecca Sutherland has recently returned home to NZ after an illustrious 20-year career. She has worked on many of London’s West End shows, has toured Europe with contemporary dance companies and can be seen and heard in numerous films and album recordings. Rebecca has twice been nominated in London for best actress in a musical and currently accesses full time performing arts students as well as teaching theatre and dance workshops.

Tamati Coffey

Tamati Coffey is of Tūhourangi Ngāti Wāhiao, Ngāti Whakaue, Te Aitanga-a-Hauiti and Te Ātiawa descent and is currently a Member of Parliament representing the people of Waiariki. Tamati’s involvement in politics has been spurred on by a concern that our people are currently not being provided with the basics: decent housing, decent wages and jobs, and support for those who need it. Tamati believes Government has the ability to change lives for the better, and wants to make sure those decisions are made by people with their hearts in the right place. As well as being the Deputy Chair of the Rotorua Energy Charitable Trust, he is also a small Rotorua business owner employing several staff on the ‘Living Wage’ and a Trustee on his local marae Trust alongside other whanau land blocks. For many New Zealanders, Tamati Coffey is a familiar and friendly face: an award-winning presenter whose work in the broadcasting industry has spanned a decade. Since leaving full-time television in 2013, he has actively pursued a career in politics.

David Seymour

The ACT party leader knocked on 13,000 doors in the Epsom electorate before being elected to parliament in 2014. He regards being elected to parliament by his neighbours as an enormous honour and privilege.

David grew up in Whangarei with two younger brothers, where his parents were a pharmacist and a draughtsman. As a teenager, he moved to Auckland for high school before graduating from the University of Auckland in Electrical Engineering and philosophy (hedging his bets).

Taking part in Dancing with the Stars and dancing most days for the past few months has been an eye-opener for Seymour. He really enjoyed his time on the show, especially the physicality of it. “I’ve never been a guy to have muscles, but I am discovering these things coming out that I have never seen before. I have found I have muscles I don’t think I have ever used before.”

Today David lives in central Auckland and, when he is not reestablishing the ACT Party, tinkers with the sports car he built, plays guitar (when nobody else is in earshot), enjoys a craft beer and keeps up with friends and family.

MC and Band

Melanie Kerr

Melanie Kerr has been the effervescent host of the Good Morning Show advertorials for the last seven years. Beaming into thousands of New Zealand homes every weekday morning, Melanie is a trusted and well-known face throughout the country. Her warm personality and sincerity combined with a cheeky sense of humour make Melanie approachable and well-liked by folk from all walks of life. She gives freely of herself, in turn, brings out the very best in those around her. Melanie is a professional broadcaster, experienced in all aspects of the craft. From radio to television presenting, modelling and voice work, to live emceeing Melanie brings warmth and a touch of glamour to whatever she turns her hand to. Outside of broadcasting, Melanie is Auckland’s top Marriage Celebrant, chosen by New Zealand Weddings Magazine to be the celebrant of choice for their Win Your Dream Wedding Competition since 2011. Melanie conducts over 50 weddings each year and she is also a well-respected funeral celebrant. Her love of people and her commitment to the community is evident in the many hours she donates to charity organisations. Riding for the Disabled, Hospice, The Himalayan Trust, Breast Cancer Support, Kiera’s Angel Walk, YWCA and Sweet Louise and are just some of the charities close to her heart. She grew up on the back of a horse in Taneatua and Ruatoki in the Eastern Bay of Plenty. From working in the outback of Western Australia, on a gold mine, driving trucks and running a 1.3 million acre cattle station, to working as Puppy Development Manager for the Royal NZ Foundation of the Blind, Guide Dog Services and later as an international flight attendant for Air New Zealand Melanie’s career has been varied to say the least.


The Gramophone Band was inspired by the magic of a wind-up picnic gramophone box and a suitcase of old 10inch Jazz records that they found at a garage sale in Timaru. The band enjoys performing the sweet dulcet tones and the toe-tapping tunes of the 1920’s through to the 1960’s – from Gypsy Jazz, Swing, Ragtime to Rock-a-Billy – but although they are a “Vintage Band”, they also compose their own music and arrange retro renditions of modern songs.