Wellington Scoop

Death of Sue Paterson, who headed the Arts Festival and the Ballet Company

Press Release – Wellington City Council
Festival director extraordinaire Sue Paterson has died after a long battle with cancer.

Sue was Marketing Director of the biennial New Zealand Festival from 1994-98 and took on the role of New Zealand Festival Executive Director from 2009-17.

In 2017 she was named Metlifecare Senior New Zealander of the Year to recognise her 40 years of service to arts and culture. She was made an officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit in 2004.

“Sue was a lovely person and did outstanding work in the arts sector over a long period,” says Mayor Justin Lester. “She led the New Zealand Festival with flair and energy.

“Even before that she was instrumental in turning around the fortunes of the Royal New Zealand Ballet Company when she was its General Manager in the 1990s.

“Wellington City, and the arts sector in particular, was fortunate to have someone of Sue’s ability in such pivotal roles for so long.

“I express my sympathy to Sue’s family and friends at this sad news.”

Over the years, Sue was heavily involved in other areas, such as dance company Limbs, the Queen Elizabeth II Arts Council and the New Zealand Jazz Festival. Her achievements included bringing the Edinburgh Military Tattoo to Wellington in 2016.

Her career also included stints with the London Contemporary Dance School and the Australian Elizabethan Theatre Trust.

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  1. Helene Ritchie, 12. July 2018, 21:14

    This is sad. Sue was a wonderful person who made a great contribution.

  2. David Mackenzie, 13. July 2018, 8:05

    No mention made of her time at the Department of Conservation.