Trustees

Rick Wells ONZM, CA, CFinstD

Rick is a chartered accountant, company director and business start-up mentor.

Like a number of trustees Rick was tapped on the shoulder by former Dowse Director Tim Walker in 2004. He had singled him out as a local business leader, who at that time was the Managing Director of the globally active design led Formway Furniture Group. On the retirement of long serving Foundation chairperson Peter Barker in early 2020 Rick took over that role. 

Rick comes from a creative rural family where painting and pottery were family hobbies. Much later in life when he left the accountancy world for business in 1981 he was exposed to, and developed a deep interest in, design, in the broadest sense. He enjoys being part of an effective team delivering well executed outcomes that benefit all stakeholders including the Lower Hutt community.

Rick Wells

Judy Bain

Judy has been a Trustee of The Dowse Foundation since 2003. She was actively involved in fund raising for the redevelopment of The Dowse Art Museum and Gallery (2003-2006) in partnership with Hutt City Council and NZ Government.

A retired private portfolio investment manager and sharebroker, Judy helped many clients achieve great investment outcomes. She is currently a Trustee of Te Omanga Hospice Foundation Trust.

Judy is a Rotarian. A charter member of Rotary Hutt Valley established 1993. She has held many Rotary roles, including a term as District Governor in 2002-2003, the first woman governor District 9940. Judy established, and for 5 years chaired, Rotary International’s New Zealand/Pacific Island Districts President Elect Training. Judy was a Training leader at Rotary’s International Assembly in San Diego and represented several Rotary International Presidents at conferences in Australia and Taiwan.

Judy Bain

Sarah Bell

Sarah is a Chartered Accountant, director and trustee with a particular interest in socially impactful organisations. She is passionate about the arts and is thrilled to be a part of the Dowse Foundation.

Sarah Bell

Karl Chitham

Karl Chitham (Ngā Puhi) is the Director of The Dowse Art Museum and Petone Settlers Museum Te Whare Whakaaro o Pito-one. He was previously Curator of Tauranga Art Gallery Toi Tauranga and has held curatorial roles at Rotorua Museum Te Whare Taonga o Te Arawa, University of Waikato, Whakatane Museum & Gallery and Objectspace.

He holds a Master’s Degree in Sculpture from Elam School of Fine Arts, University of Auckland and has been involved in the arts in New Zealand in a variety of roles as an educator, writer, curator and as an artist.

With significant experience as a leader in the arts sector, Chitham is a strong believer in the transformative power of the arts and is proud to be a part of The Dowse Foundation and lead the Dowse team who care for, share and collect the rich visual culture of Aotearoa.

Karl Chitham

Ana Coculescu

Ana Coculescu is an environmental lawyer.

Born and raised in Romania, where she completed her undergraduate law degrees in Bucharest, she moved to France to pursue postgraduate legal studies, and then to Australia where she worked as a solicitor in private practice. She has recently moved to New Zealand with her partner, to Lower Hutt.

In her travels she has always enjoyed visiting museums, participating in the various programs they offered, and is keen to contribute to the art life in her community by championing the arts, in particular the Dowse Museum.

Ana Coculescu

Charlotte Doyle

Charlotte is a public servant currently working as an advisor for a government department.

She has visited the Dowse Art Museum for many years, often with her mum who is an art historian and has strongly influenced her interest in the arts. After personally experiencing many memorable and rewarding exhibitions at the Dowse, Charlotte is committed to the opportunity to contribute back to the museum as a Trustee of the Dowse Foundation, and to promote similar experiences for others with a strong personal belief in the importance of the arts for fostering community wellbeing and identity.

Charlotte is also a keen writer and her passion for the arts has been channelled through art writing in recent years. She has had a number of articles and interviews with various members of arts communities published including with The Pantograph Punch, and wrote weekly columns reviewing local art exhibitions at university.

Charlotte has a legal background and holds a BA LLB (Hons) from Victoria University of Wellington. She has a particular interest in public and constitutional law.

Charlotte Doyle

Aaron Hape, MInstD

Aaron is a public servant and a strategic advisor to several non-government organisations.

He currently holds an appointment at the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment where he provides strategic oversight of a $3 billion regional investment fund.

Aaron is an advisor for The Queen's Commonwealth Trust. He has been an international election observer, founded and governed several global charities, and has managed programmes in the Pacific that develop vocational training and peacebuilding initiatives.

Aaron lives with his wife, Jennifer, in Lower Hutt only a 10-minute walk from the Dowse. He is a proud graduate of Victoria University of Wellington and the United States Department of State International Visitor Leadership Programme. He descends from the Ngāti Kahungunu ki Wairarapa Tāmaki Nui-ā-Rua iwi.

Aaron Hape

Olivia McLeavey

In 2011, Olivia took over management of the McLeavey Gallery, founded and run for 49 years by her father. The gallery has operated for over 50 years, having opened in 1966.

Olivia is dedicated to promoting and encouraging New Zealand artists, both established and emerging, to exhibit in both private and public art galleries nationally and internationally.

Olivia McLeavey

Sandra Preston

Sandra is a senior public sector leader with a career spanning 20 years in policy development, strategic leadership, and change implementation. She has led policy change on many of NZ’s most pressing issues such as housing and Treaty settlements.

As an art lover, Sandra has been collecting contemporary NZ art for over a decade. Building an art collection has become a way of life, and Sandra has developed relationships with private galleries and artists across the country. She loves the way art challenges identities, tells powerful stories, and helps us see things differently.

Sandra considers it a special privilege to be able to advocate for art and the Dowse as a Trustee of the Dowse Foundation. She sees her role as helping to promote art as a living expression of our communities, and supporting the vital role public galleries play in facilitating community access to the arts.

Sandra holds a masters in environmental management and policy from Lincoln University.

Sandra Preston

Joan Smith

Joan has a special interest in Dowse Art Museum’s collection of ceramics and jewellery. She was delighted to join the Foundation as a trustee not long before the redevelopment of The Dowse. As a trustee Joan supports the continued growth of the collections that are of local and national significance. She strongly supports the goal of the Foundation of making the collections and exhibitions more accessible, especially in online digital form.

Joan comes from a family of talented crafters. Her grandmother was a professional milliner. A passion for ceramics developed during Joan’s childhood growing up in Temuka, the home of Temuka Pottery. As a young adult she was introduced to Len Lye’s work before his work was recognised in New Zealand. This ignited an interest in sculpture and the interface between science and art.

Joan has considerable governance experience of NGOs and philanthropic organisations to contribute to The Dowse Foundation.

Joan Smith