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Hayley Dingwall talks talent and funding

Hayley Dingwall. Credit: Sophie Howard
NZ On Air New Music Singles panel. Photo: Jeff Newton
Indie Band Foley, image supplied by Hayley Dingwall
NZ Music Month 2019
Who got the gig? To mark NZ Music Month, Hayley Dingwall, Funding Advisor at NZ On Air, talks to Alice Geary about her new role and why she loves getting NZ talent heard.


Hayley Dingwall began her role with independent government funding agency NZ On Air last year and is one of three funding advisors at the organisation who each cover a different speciality.

Hayley is responsible for music and brings a vast background across music production and management to the role.

NZ On Air invests in New Zealand content and platforms that reflect and develop the country’s identity and culture and builds social connection and cohesion.

One of Hayley’s proudest achievements was managing Electric Wire Hustle from first public performance to towards a critically acclaimed international release and performing at major international festivals in just a couple of years.

“I’ve managed a small independent label, bands and artists, delivered hundreds of concerts and events, been a freelance music publicist, radio and club DJ among other things,” Hayley says.

Getting the Country’s Top Music Talent Heard

Now, Hayley’s role is to help ensure New Zealand based music gets listened to by those who matter, working with a small team within NZ On Air to allocate funds for investment in New Zealand artists.

Day to day, Hayley is liaising with record labels, managers, artists and producers about various projects, and at points in the funding cycle – they have ten rounds a year – she assesses new project applications.

“It’s a pretty big thrill to be able to help fund a project and enable someone’s vision to be materialised and then to see the audience response to that project.”

Indie band Foley, whose song "Settle" was part art of NZ On Air’s latest NewTracks compilation. Image supplied.

Dance to the beat of your own drum

Hayley explained a career in the music industry is not a linear one and when she was studying there was no obvious way in.

“When I was a student, studying the music business in New Zealand was not an option, so almost everything I have learnt has come from the real-world experience of just doing it… plus [attending] every music seminar, conference or expo I could get to.”

Hayley moreover read every Rolling Stone magazine she could get her hands on and attended countless concerts and festivals.

Hayley believes you need a determination to reach for what you want in your career, even if the path is unclear.

“Don’t rely on others to deliver your dreams.  That may sound a little sinister, but it just means if you want something to happen you need to own and drive it. Your dreams and goals are your priority and ultimately your responsibility and you should always be the first investor. “

She also said that there are lots of practical business and life skills, such as budgeting, contracting, business strategy and communication, that feed into her role.

“Any career in the arts is going to challenge you in a multitude of ways and you will definitely need to be savvy and resilient. But if you have a strong guiding principle or sense of purpose you will continue to be motivated to do the mahi and the right people and opportunities will find you…or you will find them.”

NZ On Air New Music Singles panel. Photo: Jeff Newton

Do what you love but love yourself too

Whilst it takes hard work to forge a career in the arts, Hayley said it’s important to take care of yourself too.

“For most of my life I have always had half a dozen projects on the go at once and I have been a terrible workaholic,” she said.

But not anymore.

“Outside of work I am more focussed on wellbeing which is so important when working in the creative industries. So, getting out on my bike, in nature or on my yoga mat, trying to be a better daughter, sister or friend and also travelling helps me.”

Any last NZ music recommendations?

“I think I have listened to Mel Parson’s album Glass Heart almost every day since it came out and I am enjoying what Yoko-Zuna are doing as well. I also listen to a lot of jazz and hip-hop and artists working in that intersection, so Avantdale Bowling Club is another Kiwi act on high rotate for me at the moment.”


We are celebrating NZ Music Month and in collaboration with NZ Music Commission, our stories this week will focus on the fabulous talents in Aotearoa’s music industry, on stage and behind the scenes. Thank you for following along! #nzmusicmonth2019 #nzmusic #nzmusicmonth #discoverlivenz #artsmatter



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Written by

Alice Geary

13 May 2019

Alice Geary is a journalist from the UK based in Timaru. She is well experienced in and loves the arts and culture sector. She particularly loves having the opportunity to write about cultural events and new initiatives shaking up the industry.