15 Nov 2017





15 Nov 2017

Is Dr Suzette Major, Campus Director at SAE Auckland, on a secret mission to form a successful SAE band? You might think so with all the recent new staff appointments she’s been making at SAE Auckland lately.

From the new Audio Head of Department, Sam Taylor, who plays guitar for artist Nadia Reid among others, to the bass player for Elemeno P, Lani Purkis (Student Support Officer), and the drummer from Yoko-Zuna, Swap Gomez (Student Enrolment Officer) to Claire Duncan (Campus Administrator) who moonlights with the alternative music scene and makes albums with musical projects i.e. crazy and Dear Time's Waste, SAE Auckland is a hotbed of musical talent. 

And that’s not counting the musos who already work here. From Dave Johnston (Industry Liaison & Marketing), the drummer for rock band Villainy, Marcel Bellve (Audio Lecturer)  the former singer for Battle Circus, David Chechelashvili (Audio Lecturer) who creates electronic music under the artist name Waker, some talented studio supervisors with musical projects on the go, all the way through to internationally renowned multi-instrumentalist /producer/arranger and SAE Academic Manager, Dr Stephen Small.

Dr Small has a Doctor of Musical Arts (and is at work on a second), four solo albums and a 20-year music career behind him. Suzette says, ‘I’ve got used to Stephen regularly popping into my office to say, “Sorry short notice, but I’ve got a gig in Argentina this weekend. And don’t forget the following week it’s Japan.”’ 

‘I can hardly keep up!’ says Suzette. ‘But what a fantastic place to work when my biggest problem is keeping track of where in the world my staff are playing next or who’s winning a musical award this week. At SAE Auckland, we’re committed to employing not just academics, but active industry professionals.’

While SAE offers qualifications in audio production, with a Diploma in Audio Engineering and a Bachelor of Recording Arts, Suzette says it’s inevitable that the staff is made up of musicians. 

‘With the advancement of technology most musicians are now also engineers and producers.’

And are the rumours of staring a band true? Suzette’s not ruling anything out. But for now, she says: ‘I’m thrilled to be attracting such a high calibre of staff, but it’s not surprising given how well both the Audio and Film programmes are doing. We’re a top-rated NZQA tertiary provider with an impressive staff and alumni base. The reputation of SAE Auckland just keeps on growing.’

For more information on SAE programmes see