Trent Hiles

For the past two years I have spent much of my time project managing and working on the rebuild of our ‘quake-damaged home in Ōhinehou Lyttelton. From November 2011 until mid-2015 I worked as a Project Coordinator for Gap Filler, leading or supporting the initiation, development, construction, and activation of a wide range of community-focussed creative projects.

My background in film, theatre, construction, and education helped me play an integral role in the activation of significant ‘transitional city’ projects, including Cycle-powered Cinema; The Nightclub - a temporary architecture projection space; the construction of Gap Filler's own 10m2 Headquarters; the internationally popular Dance-O-Mat; the community-built Pallet Pavilion; and Gap Filler’s mobile grandstand-cum-stadium – The Grandstandium, to name just a few.

I played a significant role in the majority of Gap Filler projects since I became involved with the organisation in June 2011, up until my ‘retirement’ in mid-2015. I cannot keep away however, as evidenced by my 2016 return as a copywriter for Gap Filler as they constructed the comprehensive East Frame Programme, commissioned by Fletcher Living with a view to long-term community involvement and engagement with the tract of land being developed on the east side of the city.

Recently (end 2017) I enabled the activation of Superlot 9, Gap Filler's first creative community project in the East Frame. And I have just finished a contract with Te Pūtahi, Christchurch Centre for Architecture and City-making, coordinating the realisation of a creative community project in New Brighton.


Currently I am

  • Producing Crux*Te Punga, a creative response to the year-long demolition of Christchurch's quake-damaged Central Police building. This includes pursuing funding, supporting collaborators, managing media and promotion, and working on my own contribution to the project;
  • Working with Juliet Arnott/Rekindle in the development and creation of weaving and greenwood workshop spaces, to offer people the opportunity to engage with and learn object art skills and knowledge through a focus on Resilience through Resourcefulness. Currently the workshops include string-making and rope weaving using fallen leaves from tī kōuka/cabbage trees, and crafting clothes pegs and spoon-carving;
  • Working with Pathway on their prisoner reintegration project, the Navigate Initiative


Work history

I have embraced a wide range of work experiences since leaving school. Prior to the earthquakes of 2010/2011 my focus was on education. Initially training overseas I taught English and Drama at a language school in Brazil before returning to Aotearoa to train as a primary school teacher. I have taught at primary, secondary and tertiary levels, and from 2008-2011 was instrumental in setting up Seven Oaks, an independent child-centered school, in Christchurch.

My experience as an educator and my enthusiasm for enabling people to take responsibility for, and have a say in, what and how they learn brought the education arm of Gap Filler to fruition. This experience with people and how to support them to be active participants in their own lives and communities now flows into Rekindle, with my help in the development of an invaluable skill and knowledge resource through the creation of various hands-on craft/object-making workshops, and into Pathway.

In 2011 I was the co-founder of the Harbour Arts Collective (now Harbour Arts Trust), representing the interests of artists, performers, and arts supporters in the Lyttelton Harbour Basin and beyond.

In whatever spare time remains (after also managing domestic affairs and running around after my two sons and the dogs) I continue my own practice as a maker and multi-media artist.

January-April 2018

Te Pūtahi project coordinator

January 2011-ongoing

Rekindle labourer, craftsman, supporter

2011-2015 (and ongoing)

Gap Filler     


Lyttelton Art in Public Places working party (voluntary position)


Event creator and manager - Art in the Park; artist-run workshops at Orton Bradley Park, Charteris Bay, Banks Peninsula


Artist - various individual and group projects

Co-founder of the Harbour Arts Collective/Chairperson of the Harbour Arts Trust (voluntary position)


Seven Oaks School - help set up the school; founding educator     


Learning Advisor - Unlimited Paenga Tawhiti   Teaching art, drama, technology, and NCEA English, PE, and Outdoor Education


Learning Advisor - Discovery 1


Teacher - Mairehau Primary School


Study at University of Canterbury/Christchurch Teachers College

Bachelor of Teaching and Learning


Science technician and English language/Drama teacher - Brazil


Trinity TESOL certificate - English language teacher training

Cycle mechanic; courier; cook and bottle-washer - Edinburgh


Overseas adventures - Thailand, Laos, Nepal, India, UK, France, Spain


Film industry: Unit manager, Location manager, Location scout, First AD, Script editor - Wellington


University student; Cycle industry; Ski industry; Farming; Retail sales; Wholesale sales; Actor; Athlete…