Te Mahi Ako Apprentice of the Year competition: Supporting wellbeing through the performing arts

Published 27 October 2022
Concerts, shows and other forms of live entertainment might seem like a “nice to have” to some people, but Tim McAneney knows better.

Tim is one of three candidates for the 2022 Te Mahi Ako Apprentice of the Year. This award, now in its seventh year, goes to a highly skilled individual with commitment, passion and diligence, who is working to improve the wellbeing of New Zealanders, through the medium of active recreation, leisure or entertainment.

Tim has been working in entertainment and events for more than 30 years, doing everything from lighting design and rigging through to stage management, venue technology and more. He started his own company, Creative Lighting Design, back in 1990 to provide services to the Gisborne events sector.

“Performing arts and entertainment is critical to the health and wellbeing of humans,” says Tim. “Being involved in the various forms of performing arts that bring happiness to people is a key factor in why I am passionate about the industry.”

Despite his many years of experience, Tim decided to complete the New Zealand Apprenticeship in Entertainment and Event Technology (Level 4), specialising in lighting and rigging, in order to gain a formal qualification “and show my family that what I do is a real job”.

He says completing the qualification was a mix of verifying his knowledge and skills, and working in a few areas to fill in knowledge gaps.

His colleague Andy Searle can’t speak highly enough of Tim’s work, and notes that since completing the apprenticeship, he has taken on a mentoring role in the local entertainment and events sector – offering structured event technician education to high school students through the Gateway programme.

“Several of these students have gone on to further education and employment in the industry… With the onset on Covid-19, the events industry has suffered from a number of people leaving; however with Tim’s encouragement, we are seeing a return of enthusiastic trainees,” Andy says.

“His pride in the industry is immense, and the completion of this apprenticeship has given us all something to strive for and celebrate.”

About the Apprentice of the Year competition

The Te Mahi Ako Apprentice of the Year will be announced in November at the Recreation Aotearoa Awards. Check out our earlier articles on the other two finalists, Nita and Alex!


Media contact: Esther McLaren | esther@skillsactive.org.nz | 021 195 5127

Skills Active Aotearoa Group is a not-for-profit organisation, 50% owned by Māori shareholders, supporting capability development in te ahumahi ā-rēhia: the active recreation, leisure, entertainment and events sectors.

Te Mahi Ako is part of the Skills Active group, and supports individuals to develop themselves through real-life learning within businesses, iwi and communities.