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Our Team

Aby Thomas

Aby is an art lover and an actor who was born in India and moved to New Zealand 15 years ago. He has acted in a couple of short films in India but was unable to concentrate on this after arriving in New Zealand due to his busy working schedule and as was trying to settle into the new environment.Currently living in Napier and working for the Hastings District Council as the Manager of the recycling facility, Aby hassupported all the initiatives of HBICC from the very beginning.

Anton Wuts

Anton is a composer, music teacher, jazz legend, local heavyweight champion of the saxophone, and mainstay of the Revolutionary Arts Ensemble, The Tropical Downbeat Orchestra, Fane Flaws’, No Engine, and many other musical collaborations. He has performed with Kiwi music and art icons Jonathon Crayford, Patrick Bleakley, Margot Wuts, Letterbox Lambs, and Blair Latham. He features regularly at the Wellington Jazz Festival, HB Jazz in the Park, HB Arts and Fringe Festival shows, and has side projects too numerous to mention. Anton is also a regular in the pit for most of the Bay’s best love musicals. Anton composed the music and played on stage for the 2017 production of The Hooligan and the Lady. He established the Musical band, Dr.Wuts and the Bindaas Bollywood Band in 2023. He also partly composed music for HBICC’s latest theatrical dance-drama “Takashak – The King of the Snakes”.

Deepthi Krishna (Artistic Director)

Hawke’s Bay Indian Cultural Centre (HBICC) was established by Deepthi and her husband, Sreejith Nair, in 2015 with the aim of promoting traditional Indian cultural activities and fundraising for charity. Deepthi is a trained Indian Classical Dancer taking classical dance lessons for HBICC. She instigated the annual charitable event: M.A.D.E (Music and Dance Event) for a Cause as a platform for showcasing her students’ talents. In 2018 Deepthi got the opportunity to be a contestant in the TVNZ3 reality dance show, ‘The Great NZ Dance Masala’, hosted by Colin Mathura-Jeffree. Deepthi has produced nearly 60 stage performances across the East Coast and has performed at the Parliament House in Wellington. Deepthi has also been a guest dance tutor at Karamu High School for Level 1 & 2 dance curriculum students for the last 3 years and at many other schools. Deepthi established her Krishni Production company to commission ‘Shakuntala!’ and establish her new venture into collaborative theatre. Since then, she has done two more production projects “Sita Unsung” and “Takshaka – The King of the Snakes”. Deepthi is a graduate in Biotechnology and is currently working as a QA and Improvement Technologist in the Food Industry and continues to teach dance.

Ken Keys (Chairperson)

Ken is ‘The Godfather’ of Performing Arts in Hawke’s Bay. In 1991, he set up the Hawke’s Bay Drama School which subsequently became the National Youth Drama School (NYDS). The school celebrated its 30th anniversary in 2021 and has been successful in attracting students and tutors from around the world, including Australia, the Pacific Islands, Britain, and Canada. In 2003, Ken began Hawke’s Bay Youth Theatre (HaBYT), which put on over 50 productions at schools and theatres around the region and in 2006, took 12 young actors to the Edinburgh Fringe festival. He was Head of Drama at Havelock North High School for 18 years where he directed a number of productions and took drama tours all over the North Island. Ken has also directed and performed regularly in local theatre, and opera productions and is a regular participant in fundraising comedy debates. Ken was also one of Kiwibank’s 2017 Local Hero Award recipients – New Zealand’s premier community award which gives thanks to those providing a positive contribution to their community. He was a guest tutor at the Teaching Shakespeare Through Theatre festival in Maryland, USA. Ken is also the NYDS Sponsorship Coordinator and current tutor of the Acting Shakespeare class. Ken directed HBICC’s epic dance dramas Shakuntala’, ‘Sita Unsung’ and ‘Takashaka King of the Snakes’.

Pauline Ellen Hayes

Pauline is an English/Drama teacher and playwright. Her play The Hooligan and the Lady was workshopped with internationally renowned author and Bartitsu Master, Tony Wolf, as part of a 2008 NYDS Artist-in-Residence. This led to critically acclaimed, sell-out performances at the 2011 Wellington Fringe Festival and the 2017 Hawke’s Bay Arts Festival. Her production company Cookplace Productions aims to tell original stories about forgotten female heroes. Pauline was commissioned by the Hawke’s Bay Indian Cultural Centre to write a work about the much-loved Hindu Heroine, Shakuntala. The subsequent work is a dance and drama collaboration with nationally acclaimed dancer Deepthi Krishna. Pauline also produced“Chlorination Street” performed at ‘Fringe in the Stings’.She’s currently working as a teacher at Havelock North High School.

Sarada Naidu

Sarada is a trained classical dancer who highly experienced in choreography and performing major formats of Indian classical dances. Sarada has been a part of Hawke’s Bay Indian Cultural Centre since its inceptionand is a retired Resource teacher. Sarada’s contributionto the dance choreography and costume designing for all the shows and events of HBICCis invaluable. She also performed the Kathak and Odissi dance forms for the ‘MADE for a Cause’ events in the past.

Sreejith Nair (Treasurer)

Sreejith is one of the founders of Hawke’s Bay Indian Cultural Centre andis the production manager for the organisation’s annual events. Passionate about the arts, he uses the arts to foster purpose, belonging, and lasting connections. Sreejith completed postgraduation in ‘Dialysis Therapy’ and is currently working as a Clinical Physiologist with Health New Zealand Hawke’s Bay.

Sreedevi Sunil (Secretary)

Sreedevi is a passionate artist,and her strength lies in drawing and designing. Her attention to detail in craftwork and sewing has always stood out in her work. Sreedevi completed her graduation in Commerce from India and moved to New Zealand thirteen years ago. Her artwork and costume design are also featured in most of HBICC’s previous events and productions.