New Zealand's national ballet company. Prior to its establishment there was little ballet activity. In 1953 Poul Gnatt founded the small Auckland based troupe New Zealand Ballet, which transferred to Wellington and under Gnatt's direction toured extensively for ten years. Gnatt produced many ballets from the Danish repertory but subsequent directors, including Russell Kerr (1962–1968) and Harry Haythorne (1982–1992), introduced a wider international repertory including works by New Zealand and Australian choreographers while guest stars such as Beriosova, Burr, and Comelin appeared with the company. The company presented Swan Lake at the 1971 Auckland Festival and also Coppélia in 1971 (both staged by Bryan Ashbridge). A National School of Ballet was established in Wellington in 1967 and in 1984 the company was awarded its royal charter. In 1992 financial crisis nearly closed it down but under the direction of Ashley Killar it became notable for its original repertoire, with many new ballets created by its own choreographers such as Killar, Kerr, and Eric Langvet. Matz Skoog was director 1996–2001 and was succeeded by Gary Harris, who has introduced a new, international generation of choreographers including Javier De Frutos, Christopher Hampson, and Jorma Elo, as well as work by associate director Ou Lu. In 1998 the company acquired a permanent theatre in Wellington's Westpac St James Theatre.
http://www.nzballet.org.nz Website for Royal New Zealand Ballet