A JamBassador is someone who speaks up for StarJam, an advocate for what we do, an ambassador for our Jammers (our young people) and someone they can look up to. Our JamBassadors have all done their bit and gone way beyond the call to support our Jammers in special ways. We are so proud to call these people our friends!
Renee is an incredibly talented young woman who has overcome major medical problems to use her own special talents to help and inspire young people. Recently crowned the winner of New Zealand’s Got Talent in 2013, Renee is truly a superstar! She originally joined StarJam as a Jammer and has now gone on to become one of our tutors, coaching and mentoring other young people with disabilities who are involved in performance programmes. Renee has written over 200 original songs, many of which poignantly address tough issues like child abuse. Renee was also the main singer in our sensational flash mob where the song ‘Born This Way’ was performed by a troupe of Jammers in front of a busy crowd at a major shopping mall. The video of this event has gone global with more than 74,802 views on YouTube.
Dominic Bowden was our very first International JamBassador. Dom became a household name when he hosted the New Zealand version of ‘American Idol’. He’s well known in and around the Kiwi entertainment industry for interviewing international stars and hosting a range of nationally broadcast events. Now based in LA, he is a great supporter of the StarJam cause. He’s also one of our most approachable celebrities. He enjoys a great rapport with the StarJam kids who are not afraid to poke fun at him. In Auckland to MC our performance at the 2009 Grocery Charity Ball, Dominic got confused with directions to the new Greenlane office for the rehearsal and got stuck in the basement car park! Honestly Dom, we were laughing with you not at you! We love having Dominic on board and while he always says how inspired he is by the StarJam team … we feel the same way about him!
John Hawkesby holds a special place as our very first JamBassador. John and his wife Joyce are almost always in the audience at everything from ‘StarJam Unplugged’ parties, to our end-of-year performances, to the special gigs we do at fundraisers throughout the year. John is arguably one of the best-known names in New Zealand television and his support has opened many doors for StarJam. So from everybody at StarJam, thank you so much John … you rock!
Dean Morath (1979 – 2009) was an extremely enthusiastic Jammer and is sorely missed by all. One of his many talents was promotional nous. When StarJam released our song ‘Queen of Hearts’, DJ visited shops to ensure they had plenty in stock. He also had a real knack of making moving spontaneous speeches that would always get the crowd behind the StarJam cause. His best friend Daniel (a fellow JamBassador and StarJam Staffer) has this to say…
“I remember him as a great friend to me and I miss him every day. All the years and the shows I have been in with him. It was lovely to meet him and his family who are lovely. I never had a best friend forever before DJ, but he was there for me always. I think of him everyday and I will not forget him… love from your best mate.” – Daniel
Show business icon Ray Woolf has almost 50 years of performing to his name. He kindly accepted our invitation to perform at the StarJam launch in November 2002 and we have been lucky enough to have him around ever since. In 2007 we were proud to offer him a JamBassadorship. Because Ray has been around since the beginning he has seen many of our original Jammers grow up and blossom. Ray says he gets quite a kick out of performing with the Jammers and guess what Ray? They get a kick out of performing with you too!!
Jonathon ‘Jono’ Heaps
‘Jono’ is one of the original 15 Jammers who joined StarJam in 2002. He has made a significant contribution to StarJam through his huge talents as a singer, composer, orator and tutor of the Velvet Vocals workshop. Jono stepped back from this tutor position to concentrate on his music. However he still does the odd guest spot at StarJam concerts and assists in presentations to prospective partners and sponsors. Jono is a real sweetheart and we wish him great things along life’s path.
Ben shot to fame as the winner of the first ever NZ Idol. Ever approachable and keen to encourage others into performing, he became a JamBassador in 2008. Ben is a keen supporter of StarJam and a great mentor for our singing Jammers.
Maree has been a JamBassador since June 2009 and a staunch supporter of StarJam over the years. She accompanied her son Dean to every event and workshop until he sadly passed away in early 2009. Since then, Maree has continued to be everyone’s “Mum” offering support to his friends and being a fantastic ‘Woman Friday’ whenever and wherever she is needed. Maree is a regular and dedicated volunteer for StarJam’s Magic Movers workshop.
In early 2009, Tony Howe became the eighth person to be made a JamBassador. Ray Woolf made the presentation and invited Tony to join the JamBassadors at “StarJam’s Unplugged Party”. However Tony has been a long-term supporter, serving on the StarJam board since our very early days in 2003 through to 2009. He has consistently provided unique insights into StarJam’s work, always thinking from the children’s perspective. Thank you Tony for your generous contribution to StarJam.
We wanted to write that Murph is “so cute that you just want to pop him in your handbag and take him home”. But he wasn’t very keen on that. So let’s just say that Greg Murphy is a firm favourite with everyone at StarJam. This record-holder is something of a legend and not just in his chosen sport of V8 Supercars. His easy-going personality and approachable nature mean this all-round nice guy is popular even with people who don’t know their Bathurst from their bathtub. And yes we know we’re biased but we thought he well and truly showed up Jezza and the Hamster in the 2009 Top Gear Live show! Our Jammers (and their Mums!) adore Murph and we feel very privileged that he agreed to come on board as one of our JamBassadors
We reckon Simon Dallow is the best newsreader in the world! Simon has graciously helped us out with all manner of events. Even when he is not able to MC a StarJam gig, he’ll often call in after reading the TV1 news just to say “hi!”. Simon is involved with a number of charitable organisations and has plenty of other organisations and people asking him to donate his time. So we’re extra stoked that he agreed to become a StarJam JamBassador. We all look forward to having him involved for many years to come.
Hey, my name is Olivia. I have been in StarJam since 2005 coming in as a shy 11 year old and now have the privilege of becoming a JamBassador. StarJam has grown me in so many ways, but particularly my confidence and maturity. I have also had the opportunity of meeting some incredible people and performing with one of StarJam’s many groups the Velvet Vocals workshop at events like the Halberg Awards and the New Zealander of the Year Awards. I am currently studying towards a Bachelor of Communication Studies. I love hanging out with my friends, shopping, listening to music, baking, reading and learning new things.
Hi my name is Anthony Jellyman and I’m 17 years old. I have been involved in StarJam for 9 years and it’s AWESOME. Through Starjam, I’ve met some amazing people and formed some incredible friendships. I am currently doing a Certificate in Radio Broadcasting through WINTEC. I am really enjoying realising my dreams and passions and the direction I want my life to take. In 2011, my StarJam family surprised me with the honour of a JamBassador Award plus a personal message from Sir Peter Jackson! They kept it a secret from my Mum and I but I am so honoured! StarJam has brought me so many opportunities and I am so grateful for everything that has happened since I have became part of StarJam.
Loren is our most recent JamBassador and everyone saw it coming at some point – except her! She joined StarJam in 2005 and was in the Whangarei Dazzling Dance workshop. When Loren moved to Hamilton for university to study a Bachelor of Communications in Public Relations and a Bachelor of Arts in Politic Science, Loren took on the role of tutor for the East Dazzling Dance workshop. As well as being a tutor, Loren has hosted numerous StarJam shows, represented StarJam at special events and always makes time for her StarJam family, even in her busy lifestyle. Now a university graduate, Loren has worked for the University of Waikato’s Students’ Union and campaign managed 20percent. She currently keeps herself occupied by travelling and being involved with various organisations, boards and campaigns. Although Loren is no longer a tutor, she’ll always be a Jammer at heart.