Harry Haythorne Fund

Harry Haythorne Fund

Harry Haythorne

Harry Haythorne MBE, 1926 – 2014

Harry was the Artistic Director of the Royal New Zealand Ballet from 1981 – 1992. Before his death, he made a generous donation to the Foundation. Upon his death in November 2014, in lieu of flowers, and in accordance with his wishes, his executors asked for donations in his memory to be made to The Ballet Foundation of New Zealand.

In 2015, The Ballet Foundation decided, in partnership with the Royal New Zealand Ballet, to support a choreographic season in his name and held the inaugural Harry Haythorne Choreographic Award. The Trustees hope that, subject to continued funding, this will become an annual event.

New choreography is pure oxygen for any dance company. Through Harry’s personal generosity and that of his many friends and colleagues, The Harry Haythorne Choreographic Award was created by the Ballet Foundation of New Zealand in memory of the RNZB’s longest serving Artistic Director. The Award gives choreographers within the company the opportunity to develop choreographic ideas and works.

Contributions to the Harry Haythorne Fund were made by:

  • John Avery
  • Elizabeth Bleby (in memory of Meg Abbie Denton)
  • Mariette Carey and Ron Fung
  • Rowena Davies and Caroline Crawford
  • Nan Durrans
  • Camilla Ella
  • Errol Gardiner
  • Harry Haythorne
  • Richard and Sally Jarman
  • Leigh Jones
  • Janet and Ron Marsh
  • Adrienne Matheson
  • Michael Metzger
  • Andrew Pfeiffer
  • Danilo Radojevic and Lucinda Dunn
  • Edith Radojevic
  • Bill Sheat
  • Jean Stewart

About Harry Hawthorne

A full-time professional entertainer from the age of 14, Harry’s career took him from Australia to London in 1949. He performed, or acted as Ballet Master, for some of Europe’s finest companies and directors, before being appointed as Assistant Artistic Director for Scottish Ballet. He was Artistic Director for Queensland Ballet 1976-79 before moving to New Zealand.

Under his artistic leadership the Royal New Zealand Ballet’s repertoire expanded to include many new commissions and existing works from New Zealand and international choreographers, including Duo Concertante, String Concerto, Orpheus, The Firebird, The Rake’s Progress, Wolfgang Amadeus, Hamlet and A Servant of Two Masters. As he himself said in The Royal New Zealand Ballet at 60, ‘… our aim was always to bring The World of Dance to New Zealand and take New Zealand Dance to the World.’

Harry made a wonderful contribution to the RNZB and to the performing arts in New Zealand. Under his leadership the company reached many milestones, including its first full-length production of Swan Lake, the staging of a Royal Gala in 1981 and 30th anniversary celebrations in 1983, the award of its Royal Charter in 1984, and its first tour to China.

He remained in frequent contact with the RNZB throughout his life. Despite his increasing frailty, he made the journey to Wellington to celebrate the company’s 60th birthday in July 2013, and to take a final curtain call with the dancers onstage. He was a loving and generous friend to the RNZB, often describing his years in New Zealand as ‘the happiest time of his life’. He will be deeply missed.

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Principal Sara Garbowski (centre) as the Lilac Fairy, with fellow RNZB dancers, in The Ryman Healthcare Season of The Sleeping Beauty, 2020. Photo: Stephen A’Court.