Wednesday, February 21, 2018

About is the website of Gail Penney (Te Whānau-a-Apanui, Ngāti Porou, Ngai tu te Auru, Ngai te Wake). She is, in her own words, a business creative: “ … it’s the best of both worlds, business and artistic skills combined. An interesting but not unusual set of skills these days …”

Born and raised in Waipukurau, Central Hawkes Bay, she is the mother of three fabulous children: Josh (31) Dan (27) and Amiria (26).

She lived and worked in Sydney, Australia where she held Senior Management roles in Recruitment and HR for both the Not-for-Profit and Private sectors. During this time, she account managed twenty-seven of Sydney’s Local Government Councils.

Her other clients ranged in diverse industries such as Construction, Engineering, Foundries, Plastics Manufacturing, Cold Storage Units, Fuji Xerox, Meriden Private Girls School to a National Community Care Organisation. She later became a private Consultant and an Assessor for Qantas Airways Ltd’s Long Haul Flight Attendants & Railcorp personnel. She returned to New Zealand in February 2008 wanting to hear the seasons change.


In Sydney, her extra curricular activities ranged in participation from commissioned art works to collective art exhibitions and as the Fine Arts Collaborator for Hannah Horsley-Cooper’s Masters thesis.

She was a contributing artist to the Christie’s Auction in aid of ‘Art for Birdsake’ with her work ‘Manaia’ in support of the Barren Grounds Bird Observatory and Nature Reserve, a heathland plateau in the Southern Highlands of NSW.

She was also a main commentator in AFTRS (Australian Film Television & Radio School) graduate Leisle Grant’s award-winning short documentary ‘Greening the Future’, the story of Petersham Bowling Club (one of the few remaining resident-run Bowling Clubs in NSW) where she was an Executive Director and Manager.

Gail helped in typing the digital transcripts of the Peter Corris non fiction work “Fred Hollows: An Autobiography (1992)” for the Fred Hollows Foundation as a labour of love for the work of this tenacious kiwi-born Ophthalmologist.

The Early Years

In the early 1980’s at Palmerston North Teachers College she was an Arts student under renowned N.Z. artists Paul Dibble, Cliff Whiting, Frank Davis, Stan Jenkins and David Aitken. This was followed by stints in fledging N.Z. FM radio for 2GNT, 89FM and 92FM as both an on-air presenter and Station Manager for Harbour City 92FM in Wellington.


She is a business mentor and business partner in both New Zealand and Australia working out of Central Hawkes Bay. She is a co-founder and Director on the Board of Dark Horse Digital, a Brisbane-based IT company.

Grey Day Bay Play

When she needs to think, she cooks. Her Facebook album ‘Grey Day Bay Play’ has a good following with over 250 photographs of things she’s cooked or baked.

She’ll tell you the number of photographs also represents a lot of digital problem-solving. A highlight of 2011 was radio personality and baking bloke Steve Joll making her Orange Madeira Cakes recipe on the TVNZ Good Morning Show.


In August 2012, she launched her self-published eBook ‘And Morning Came’. It is a compilation of Māori proverbs or whakataukī and whakatauākī. By them, in them and through them Māori keep the ancestral fires of remembrance burning. She combines them with photographs from the natural world.

She is involved with several community projects and since her return from overseas she is a strong promoter of Central Hawkes Bay and the wider Hawke’s Bay region, “the lifestyle is so good I’m not sure the locals fully comprehend just how good that really is … ”

Gail has held a life long interest in music, the arts, people and cultures. She loves history. She thinks of herself as a bona fide bitsa, happy that her resume reads like someone who has persistently wandered ‘off the beaten path’.

“I’m interesting to myself, I’d like to think that’s a good enough indication of how I have chosen to live my life.”


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