NZDA Adjudicators

In 2020 we continue to bring leading industry professionals to the New Zealand Dance Awards. Each adjudicator is a leader in their field and it will be great for dancers to experience this further through their workshops. The New Zealand Dance Awards prides itself on the level of adjudicators that we source both Nationally and Internationally to further enhance the opportunities for our dancers all over New Zealand. New Zealand Dance Awards aims to bridge the gap between Competitions and the Industry.

Turanga Merito

Born and raised in Rotorua, New Zealand, Turanga Merito played Simba in Disneys The Lion King before training at the prestigous American Music and Dramatic Academy in New York. As a vocalist, dancer, actor, choreographer, and vocal coach.

Turanga is currently in his 9th year as the Head Choreographer for Coca-Cola Christmas in the Park, Music Director for TV3’s award winning PUKANA and Head Composer for Maori Televisions’ TAKARO TRIBE. Musical Theatre Credits include the Australian West Side Story National Tour (Chino) and Disneys High School Musical Live on Stage Australia (Chad Danforth). His vocal highlights include Marcia Hines, Guy Sebastian and Stan Walker. His dance highlights include Jessica Mauboy and also choreographing the most viewed Reo Maori Music video ever – Maimoa Musics’ WAIRUA (9Million Views) He currently resides in and works between Rotorua and Auckland as the Director of The Merito Dance Academy and The Merito Talent Academy.

Ange McKellar (Westerby)

Dance Teacher /Choreographer. Jazz, Broadway, Tap

Ange has had an extensive career as a professional dancer and is now working as a choreographer and teacher who has returned home to NZ after being based in Melbourne and LA.

Her credits include performing on numerous television shows such as In Melbourne Tonight, The Footy Show, Hey Hey it’s Saturday, Sale of the Century, Battle of the Sexes, Neighbours, Totally Full Frontal, a featured role of Mandy on The Strip (NZ).  She has been involved in Corporate floorshows, working with artists such as Gloria Gaynor, Hot Chocolate and the cast of the Steel City Tap show.  Grand Prix events, Warner Bros shows, fashion shows, music videos, and touring dance shows. The Lord of the Rings premieres (NZ) and The International Rugby Sevens opening and closing ceremonies (NZ). She has a great passion for performing in Musical Theatre shows such as Anything Goes, Oliver, Razzle Dazzle, Jesus Christ Superstar, Ovation, Another Right Royal Gala and in 2004 played the role of Jan in Grease, which was a definite highlight.

She has choreographed events such as Catwalk Theatre for the L’Oréal Fashion Festival as well as performances for the Kids foundation charity ball, Wakkakerri, My Room Charity ball and The Royal Melbourne Show. Regularly choreographing for International rugby tests, the International Rugby Sevens, Musical Theatre Shows, Cuba Dupa, and was one of the resident choreographers for the Hurricanes Super 14 rugby team dancers in Wellington for 3 years.
 In 2009 Ange took on the role of Dance School Manager at Jason Coleman’s Ministry of Dance in Melbourne and loved working to inspire so many young dancers.

Ange has been in high demand as a teacher, choreographer and adjudicator throughout Australia and New Zealand, as a panel member for PACANZ National young performer award, and most recently at the NZ Dance awards.  She loves being able to teach at workshops and seminars so as to pass on her knowledge and passion to the future generation of dancers.

J.R. Ballantyne

He uri tēnei nō ngā īwi ō Waitaha, Ngāi Tahu, Ngāti Māmoe. E mihi kau ana.
James originally hails from Gore, Southland but lived most of his life in Christchurch working as an actor, dancer, pianist and musical director.
In 2015 James moved to London to train at the prestigious Arts Educational Schools London (ArtsEd) and has since graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Musical Theatre with First Class Honours.
Credits whilst in training include: Richard Greatham, HAYFEVER; George, SUNDAY IN THE PARK WITH GEORGE; Belling, CURTAINS; Dance Captain/Henry/Theodore Roosevelt, NEWSIES (U.K. Premiere).
Before graduating James made his West End debut as Asher/Cover Simeon in JOSEPH AND THE AMAZING TECHNICOLOR DREAMCOAT at the London Palladium in 2019. He then played Randy Dexter/Cover Cioffi/Cover Belling/Cover Aaron in the U.K. & Ireland National Tour of CURTAINS. 
Prior to unforeseen circumstances, James was due to feature in the U.K. Premiere of MEET ME IN ST. LOUIS at Grange Park Opera with the London Symphony Orchestra. He is grateful to be home and able to give back to the theatrical community. James is proud to be a sponsored scholar of Ngāi Tahu, the Lynne and Land Foundation (founded by New Zealand actor Peter Land) and the Dame Malvina Major Foundation.

Tracey White

Tracey has over 20 years experience in Entertainment industry having had the opportunity to
live and work in Australia, Canada, New Zealand and South East Asia.
Tracey began her career as professional performer but after five years in Sydney and one in
Toronto, she relocated to Singapore to take on the role of Company Manager in the
Entertainment team for Resort World Sentosa. This role saw Tracey managing over 250
performers from all parts of the world, including actors, singers, dancers and elite
acrobats/circus performers for both Universal Studios and their then resident Show, Voyage
De La Vie.
After two years with Universal, Tracey joined the MEI International family in the role of
Executive Producer successfully running their Singapore operation for 5 years. During this time
she produced over 70 character based non-ticketed live shows and numerous events
throughout South East Asia for leading family brands and licensors including: eOne
Entertainment, IMPS, BBC Worldwide, Sanrio, Cartoon Network, Atlantyca and Hit
In 2014, Tracey founded TCY Entertainment Consultancy Singapore, a boutique company,
which delivers specialist services in Event Logistics, Script Creation, Show Direction,
Choreography, and Casting Solutions worldwide. Complimenting her role as Executive
Producer, Tracey now writes and creates many of the Character Productions – she not only
writes the scripts but also the music and lyrics, casts and directs the voice actors and acts as
the Creative Director.
Tracey has written live musical ticketed show productions for Baby Shark Live, Peppa Pig Live,
CBeebies Live, Barney & Friends, The Little Big Club and Geronimo Stilton’s Kingdom of
Fantasy. One of Tracey’s favourites is ‘Peppa Pig’s Celebration’, a 65 minute musical which has
toured over 6 countries in South East Asia and is now on its second year touring in China. Later
this year see’s the premier of a new ‘Baby Shark Live’ production, ‘The Hidden Treasure’, which
is set to tour over 6 countries in South East Asia in the following 18 months.
TCY has also been the casting agent for the past five years for Universal Studios Singapore and
continues to support casting for MEI Theatricals UK , MEI International and Smile Live
Tracey currently works as a Director for TCY Limited based in her home country, New Zealand.
She lives by her favourite Walt Disney quote, “All our dreams can come true, if we have the
courage to pursue them”.

Rina Chae

Rina Chae is a Choreographer and Director of Street Candee Dance Company & En Beat Dance Academy. She has judged HHI & WOD, has choreographed for various K-Pop artists, and has danced in Los Angeles for 6 years, back up dancing for some of the globally renowned artists.
Rina is a full time choreographer & a mentor, and has a vast knowledge and experience she loves sharing with the young dancers of NZ.