New role looks to wow New York

Boswijk's big interest in Big Apple

TRACY NEAL
Last updated 13:00 14/08/2012
Ali Boswijk
PATRICK HAMILTON/Fairfax NZ
WEARING TWO HATS: Nelson Deputy Mayor Ali Boswijk is the new manager of international projects at WOW.

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Nelson Deputy Mayor Ali Boswijk has taken up a new job with World of WearableArt (WOW), aimed at taking it further on the international stage, and is unlikely to stand for re-election next year.

Mrs Boswijk has been appointed to the newly created position as WOW manager for international projects, which will require her to plan and implement WOW's international expansion.

She would not be standing down from council duties, and while she would "never say never" to standing for re-election next year, it was now unlikely.

Mrs Boswijk, who has had a long association with the arts in Nelson and who, until recently, was director of business development in Australasia for international broadcasting firm World Television, already has her sights set on New York as the ultimate stage for WOW. She said there was a certain appeal in "taking the idea of WearableArt that started in Wakefield to New York".

"I've always thought it would do brilliantly in New York because it's edgy and avant-garde.

"I've spent a bit of time there and I know it would be well received," Mrs Boswijk said.

She aimed to use her experience and networks as former chief executive of the Nelson Arts Marketing Network, which worked with WearableArt during its Nelson heyday, to develop the role.

Mrs Boswijk said the new position was the result of a "series of conversations" when it became apparent the direction WOW wanted to take, and she was singled out as someone who could help with that goal.

It is also part of newly appointed WOW chief executive Meg Matthews' five-year plan for the brand. "There's always such huge interest in WOW, but one of the difficulties it has is explaining itself before people actually see the show," Mrs Boswijk said.

She envisaged being able to grow an international audience through exhibiting aspects of WOW, such as that being showcased around New Zealand with the Off The Wall touring exhibition, which was proving "very successful".

Mrs Boswijk said she would also be looking at how to take WOW performances offshore, similar to the show excerpts which have already been on the international stage, including in Dubai and Hong Kong.

She said among the things she needed to do was to find out who would be interested in taking the WOW product and who might be willing to partner with the company to help in its offshore quest.

"One of the first things I have to do is create a forward-looking timeline, which will include costs and who else might be involved, but the world's our oyster right now," she said.

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The part-time role would allow her to continue as a city councillor and as Nelson's deputy mayor.

Mrs Boswijk has instead relinquished her role with World Television.

"That was intentional. I was doing a lot of hands-on production, which was very time-consuming.

"This new job is more controllable in terms of the time it will take me."

Mrs Boswijk, who was elected to the city council in 2007 as part of the Hands Up ticket, said during the next few months she would gauge the potential for WOW internationally before deciding on her plans with the council.

"I'm very lucky I can do a job like this in Nelson."

- © Fairfax NZ News

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