Tauranga Arts Festival's director is stepping off the stage after six years in the limelight.
Tauranga born-and-bred Jo Bond announced today that she would be stepping down from the top job in search of a new adventure.
"I feel like it's time for me to move on and make space for some fresh energy and new ideas. I've had a blast."
Bond joined the festival team in 2003 as a part-time administrator before working her way up the ranks to take the top job in 2013. She was the first woman to be the festival director.
Bond said one of the most rewarding aspects of her job was nurturing new talent.
This included the play Daffodils, which performed at the 2015 Tauranga festival and which has recently been made into a successful movie.
"That, and exposing our theatre-makers and creatives of tomorrow to the best of today," she said.
The role was wide-ranging and changed depending on the stage the festival preparation was at.
It included programming, budgeting, ticketing, funding applications and liaising with performers.
Bond said keeping people engaged with the brand of the biennial festival and widening the scope of loyal followers were among the challenges of the role.
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While she had seen Tauranga's culture scene grow with the city - the Tauranga Art Gallery being a prime example - she said the city was "challenged" by its venues, particularly the lack of a dedicated music venue similar to Auckland's Town Hall.
She believed the festival was losing the "elitist label" it might have once had as it introduced more varied and accessible acts.
Tauranga Arts Festival chairwoman Kathryn Lellman said: "It's with great sadness that we're saying goodbye to Jo as our director."
"Her ability to remain calm under pressure and produce a superb 10-day festival for all ages and interests always impresses us.
"In her typical understated style, she didn't want to announce her news at the recent festival launch at Baycourt, preferring to ensure the focus remained firmly on the programme."
Bond will stay on as director until this year's festival winds up before helping the new director into the role in the new year before planning her next move.