ADA is a consulting and mentoring business.

What we do:

  1. Provision of career and business development advice for artists and cultural enterprises.
  2. Provision of business planning for self-employment and small businesses.
  3. Provision of planning for whanau to develop their capacity.
  4. Provision of training for creative sector and arts students in secondary schools.

How do we do it:
We are based in Dunedin and provide mentoring and advice for self-employment to clients referred by Work and Income in the Dunedin Metro area.
We operate across Otago and Southland through the STAR programme to provide Secondary Schools careering planning programmes for their creative sector and arts students.
We collaborate with Maori NGO to meet the needs of Maori for their development.
We work with fee-paying clients face to face or via email, phone and skype to provide mentoring for their career and business development.

Our Purpose
The work and creative vision of our clients adds vibrancy, cultural and aesthetic diversity, economic activity and critical analysis to our communities and improves the world that we live in.
The pathway to success for artists begins in secondary school continues through tertiary training and into professional development and business start-up or employment in the creative sector.
ADA ensures their clients have a clear sense of direction and the understanding to achieve success in their work. We do that by continuing to identify and define the pathways that artists use to achieve success. ADA provides commentary, advocacy, resources, training, mentoring and advice to artists and to the institutions that they engage with.


ADA started trading in 2006 entering a contract with Ministry of Social Development (MSD) Southern Region to provide mentoring and advice for their clients in the PACE programme. Since then ADA has won further multi-year tenders and negotiated annual contracts with MSD.

ADA picked up where The Higher Trust left off. The Higher Trust had been working with Ministry of Social Development (MSD) and their predecessors since 1998 to develop programmes and services for arts employment. Antony Deaker was involved in this work from the outset and was employed to manage the work of The Higher Trust from 1999. The research and advocacy work done by The Higher Trust informed the PACE policy that was launched nationally in late 2001.

ADA is managed by Antony Deaker. From 1998 to 2006 through The Higher Trust he provided research, advocacy, programme development and the delivery of services for arts employment and business development. ADA carried on from The Higher Trust to provide services to MSD and since 2009 these have been broadened to include any client of theirs intending to start self-employment or a small business.

Antony’s work in Dunedin with Arts Employment informed the development of the Pathways to Arts and Cultural Employment (PACE) policy launched nationally in 2001 by the Labour/Alliance government. PACE enabled artists and creative sector workers to be recognised and supported by WINZ to develop their careers.

Antony Deaker’s innovative approach to mentoring has been highly successful with an annual average of over 80% of clients leaving the benefit system permanently to start self-employment or into employment related to their career goals.

Research completed for ADA by Impact Consulting in 2012 reported that 90% of 120 clients from the previous four years were employed and over 75% of them had successfully started their own business. Their research also reported that 77% of those surveyed rated ADA’s mentoring services as excellent.

In the last five years ADA has broadened its reach to include work within the Maori community which has included consulting for Maori NGO and providing mentoring to whanau and individuals through different Maori development programmes. ADA is part of the Whanau Ora provider collective He Waka Kotuia o Araiteuru.

In 2012 ADA launched programmes, resources and relationships to deliver a specialist careers advice service to creative sector students at secondary schools across Otago and Southland. Schools purchase ADA’s service using the Secondary Tertiary Alignment Resource (STAR) through the Ministry of Education.

Michael Deaker has worked in education and media all of his working life and continues to contract to the Ministry of Education for various short-term projects and consultancy. He is the owner and director of ADA 2007 Ltd the company trading as Artist Development Agency. He oversees the work of Antony Deaker and the development of new contracts and proposals.

How to stage your home in the best possible way?


If you are planning to sell your house, you would definitely want to have the best deal on it. Whether you are selling just because you want to shift or you are in need of money, you would definitely want to get as much out of the transaction as possible. And that would be possible only if the house is well liked by the prospective buyers who would be ready to shell out a good amount for the house.

But how to make buyers like your property so much that they would be willing to pay the price set by you? This is where real estate staging comes into the picture. By staging a house properly, you can easily entice property buyers and get a good deal on the house. But how exactly do you do it? Well, here is some useful information for you.

Work on the curb

The first step to successful real estate staging is to improve the driveway or curb that leads to the house. If you have hedges, keep them trimmed. If the area is landscaped, make sure that it is neat and well maintained so that the first impression is really good and the buyers start liking the house before they even enter it.

Get rid of clutter

A clumsy home is something that no one likes and if you do want to make the house sell for a good price, you have to ensure that the buyers like what they see. So, to make real estate staging successful, get rid of anything that isn’t required anymore. Also, put all necessary things in their right place. Free up floor space and keep things arranged. This will make the house look spacious and nice.

Organize things for a better appeal

If the house has a lot of furniture, appliances, etc. it would be better to arrange them in a way that they add to the appeal of the house. If you have a nice looking table that you usually use in your study, you may want to shift it to the living room where it will easily attract attention. You may also like to place vintage, antique or valuable items in places where people usually look while visiting the house.

Manage the lighting

To enhance the appeal of the house, it would be prudent that you manage the lighting of the house as well. Natural lighting is the most important factor here. Allow as much light to enter the rooms as possible. You may use skylights, mirrors, etc for the purpose. Additionally, make sure that the artificial lighting system is well placed and offers ambient yet good light in all the rooms, foyer, kitchen, bathrooms, staircases, etc.

Keep it neutral

You may have certain preferences as to the décor of your house and its various areas, but the prospective buyer may not share your enthusiasm. So, an important point to follow in real estate staging is that you keep the total décor neutral and sober so that no buyer may be appalled at what they see.

Engagement Rings: How are They Made?

Engagement rings mark a special moment in time between two people- a togetherness which is solidified even more with a token of love, respect, and mutual appreciation. It also marks a step forward in a relationship towards marriage and for that many couples yearly flock to online or offline stores to get their dream ring. But how about we tell you here, how engagement rings are actually made?

The Diamond

When the ‘buy’ option is clicked in online stores, then the diamond is either selected from the in-house inventory or it could also be shipped to a production facility from a trusted diamond supplier. Generally, the diamond is chosen from suppliers because the overhead costs of security and maintenance are too high for inventories, but a small inventory of rare diamonds and such are kept. The diamond then:

  • Receives a quality check from a gemologist. This is to ensure that quality standards are met.
  • The diamond is carefully polished. Then it is sent to the bench jeweler so that it can be paired with the selected ring setting.

The Setting

The ways engagement rings are created:

  • If the diamond is not chosen as part of the setting then it is cast later on.
  • The precious metal is pressed between two hardened steel plates that carry the cutouts of the desired shape. This is called die striking. However, intricate designs are difficult to create with this.
  • A milling machine has a tube of metal rotated on it. The excess metal is then trimmed away till the desired ring width is achieved.

Building The Ring

When the diamond and the ring setting is brought to the jeweler then an inspection is done to check for quality. Then the individual parts are given to begin the building process:

  • The ring band is resized to the correct size. It is easy to resize excessively big ones but resizing from small to big takes time.
  • The band is then coupled with a ring head which depends on the style of the ring setting ordered- it can be halo, solitaire or any other style.
  • The ring head is then soldered to the band.
  • The settlers who are specialist jewelers set the center stone. If it’s not done properly then it could come off and be lost. That’s why this is the part of the process which requires the most skill and experience.
  • Then the prongs are bent securely around the diamond so that it’s secure.


After mounting the diamond, the ring is inspected for quality assurance. The size of the ring and is also checked as well to make sure that its hasn’t become distorted during the setting phase.


After quality checks, each ring is polished using a rotating polishing brush so as to ensure that it sparkles when presented.

Then it is packed into a box and delivered to the customer. A trusted and reputed maker will take care to make each one so that it can be part of the perfect proposal.