The festival was started by a group of passionate Irishmen in 1995 in order to celebrate St Patrick’s Day and New Zealand’s rich Irish connections.
The festival has evolved over the past couple two decades and now encompasses a broad range of cultural, sport and entertainment events.
Russell O’Brien is a native of Dublin and has lived in Auckland since 1989. He is founder and CEO of Cognitis Innovation, a New Zealand Based innovation consultancy specialising in city scale innovation ecosystems. As Head of Innovation and Entrepreneurship for the City of Auckland he leads the design and delivery of Auckland’s Innovation Plan. He also worked for the New Zealand Government’s innovation agency where he was responsible for the design and roll out of government-funded Technology Incubators. Russell has founded and exited a number of start-up technology companies, he is an experienced private and public sector leader and is a committee member of the Irish Business Network New Zealand. He is a frequent visitor to Skerries his spiritual home in Ireland.
Brian is a chartered accountant and a director for Jolly Duncan & Wells, with primary responsibility for the firm’s audit portfolio. He also advises small and medium sized businesses in financial and taxation matters. He has experience in valuing businesses and company shares. Brian was born and educated in Ireland and settled in New Zealand in 1985. Brian and his wife Jane have a daughter Grace and son Conor. His interests include Gaelic football, sport and being involved in the Irish Society. As well as being a trustee of the St Patrick’s Festival Trust, he is a committee member of the Irish Business Network of New Zealand. Brian speaks Gaelic as his second language.
Cathy is a native of Cork and has lived in New Zealand since 2006. She is a digital strategist and editor and has worked in digital, print and broadcast media for 16 years in newsrooms in New Zealand and Europe. As well as being a trustee for the St Patrick’s Festival Trust, Cathy is chair of the Irish Business Network of New Zealand.
Deirdre is from Falcarragh in the Co. Donegal Gaeltacht and has lived in Auckland since 2003. She works as a Medical Physicist in radiation therapy at Auckland Radiation Oncology at The Mercy Hospital in Epsom. Before coming to New Zealand she worked in Hong Kong, London and Maastricht in the Netherlands. Deirdre has three children and when not working or looking after them, enjoys swim squad, cycling, tennis and any social sport that she can fit in. She also loves languages, still trying to keep up some Italian, French, German and Irish while learning some Samoan with the kids from their grandparents.
Dermot hails from Cill Dara (Kildare) and is a relative newcomer to the shores of New Zealand, arriving in 2015. He has held a number of leadership roles in the technology industry and was involved in a number of Telecommunications start-ups in London where he spent 12 years prior to his NZ arrival. Today, he works in a Cyber Security role for one of New Zealand’s major technology providers. He is passionate about Irish history, culture and sport, although supporting the Irish rugby team during World Cup competitions isn’t for the faint hearted.
Kathleen is a New Zealander with a long history of Irish heritage, starting with an Irish mother from Dublin and Irish grandparents from Cork on both sides. She has travelled many times to Ireland and is passionate about celebrating Irish culture in New Zealand. Kathleen is a consultant specialising in transport technology, digital strategy, project management, marketing, software development, and branding. In her spare time, she loves travelling, movies, learning to cook and fine wine. She is the Director of the Irish Film Fleadh (festival) which is an event as part of the St Patrick’s Festival.
Sheila is originally from near Dungannon in County Tyrone. Having studied law at Aberdeen University she first came to New Zealand when she was awarded a Rotary Foundation Scholarship by the Rotary Clubs of Ireland. She completed a Master of Jurisprudence at Auckland University and moved permanently to New Zealand shortly thereafter. Sheila now practises as a barrister based in Ponsonby. She has been a trustee of the St Patrick’s Festival Trust for many years and was also a trustee of the Ronald MacDonald House Auckland for over 15 years. She is the current chairperson of the Waiheke SPCA.
The St Patrick’s Festival in Auckland has been managed and run by Crackerjack Promotions for 22 years. Pam Glaser, her team and the St Patrick’s Festival Trust have a great working relationship and each year collaborate to bring this much loved festival to Auckland.
Some words from Pam Glaser – Founder and Managing Director of Crackerjack Promotions and the St Patrick’s festival Manager:
“We are a small quirky team of enthusiastic and experienced individuals. Due to our group dynamic we bounce off and work with each other perfectly. We all bring unique qualities and diversity to the company and are actually very good value to have around. We genuinely love what we do and love getting in and amongst all the action as we prepare and execute your dream event. No event is too small or too large – we always come together for larger events, so rest assured we will have you covered from bases.”
“A client once described me as having ‘the precision of a general and the delicacy of a diplomat’. Organising an event is my ultimate ‘high’. My marketing background and years of event experience makes me good at it”.