Mauricio Bustamante


Mauricio Bustamante began his acting career in his native Mexico City at the age of twelve, working on live television with the greats of the Spanish speaking world. He has acted professionally in the United States since 1967.

Mauricio studied with Lee Strasberg starting in 1973, and has been part of the Lee Strasberg Theatre and Film Institute Faculty since 1994. Has toured nationally in a variety of starring roles that have given him coast to coast critical acclaim. In NYC, he has appeared in New York Shakespeare Festival, Brooklyn Academy of Music, Puerto Rican Traveling Theater, Repertorio Espanol, Teatro LATEA and Multi Stages. Currently, Mauricio is acting in a number of film projects with established directors from Japan, Israel, US, Spain and Mexico. He is a member of MENSA International, an international high IQ Society.

Harry Oram

Harry has over 15 years working professionally as an actor in the theatre, film and television industry.Harry studied at the prestigious Lee Strasberg Institute in New York where he studied under Mauricio and some of the best teachers in the world. He has performed in Film and TV in the US, UK and Asia. 

Harry became a teacher at IAFT in Hong Kong and founded an acting studio and theatre company, Third Culture Theatricals. He also founded and directed the Third Culture Film Festivals and was a patron of Shakespeare in the Park, HK.
He left London in 2020 where his performance was cut short because of COVID, to return to New Zealand. Now based in Tauranga he has been teaching here for the past year.

Committed to the Bay of Plenty, he is very excited to share his experiences and knowledge with the growing cultural and entertainment sector here.

Elizabeth Montesena

I was born in Hong Kong and am married to a Kiwi/English husband. My parents were both Filipinos but lived most of their lives in Shanghai before the Second World War then moved to Hong Kong in 1952. We belong to a very multi-cultural family – our siblings and children all married to foreigners.My husband, Matthew, and I frequently visited The Mount since 1988 and now is my home.

I have experienced running an independent film festival and theatre company in Hong Kong, but recognise that Tauranga has just as much opportunity for success, if not more. Especially now that the world is looking to adapt to a “post-COVID” world, Tauranga has the chance to make a big contribution to New Zealand becoming a creative hub, developing entertainment for the rest of the world.

Dhaivat Mehta
Film Director and Writer

Dhaivat Mehta is a film-maker, poet and musician, who studied at Idyllwild Arts Academy, Columbia College Chicago and NY Film Academy.

He has been involved in various capacities in film production and screenwriting, including commercials, short films and features.

Most recently he was involved with the production of “3 girls” through Film BOP. Along with film-making he has also been involved in organising poetry events throughout Tauranga, as well as the alternative bands “Legion Of Dissent” & “Tryptofunk”

Luka Tomić
Film Director and Writer

At only 19, Luka is the youngest member of the academy. His passion for the arts started young, as Luka spend most of his time as a child dedicated to creating comic books. This passion evolved into a love for filmmaking after Luka wrote and directed his first film at 13.

Since then, he has been involved in the production of countless films, both in his home country of Serbia and New Zealand. At 14, a film he wrote, directed and edited won the Nis Regional Filmmaking Contest and granted him his first theatrical premier. At 17, another one of his film was show at Camera Zizanio,  the International Film Festival for Children and Young people taking place in Pyrgos, Greece. More recently, his film “Oh, Brother!” qualified for the Vista Foundation 48HOURS finals and was officially screened in a Rotorua Cinema.

As part of the Apex team, Luka is excited to use his voice to contribute to the ever growing cultural sector here in the Bay of Plenty

Stella Cooke

I am a performer and an artist posting under the pseudonym psychedelic pomegranate. I was raised in Tauranga and began acting and performing at age 7. I have training via Trinity College London specialising in speech and drama skills. I have attended workshops at Stella Adler Academy, Groundlings Improv Studio, and Disneyland all based in LA. 


Over the last two years I have taken a break from performing to study Fine Arts at Massey University but eventually I decided to come back to Tauranga and solidify my creative roots here.

Reece Bramley
Head Editor

Reece Bramley is a multi talented artist goin by his stage name as YDoubleR. By the age of 20 Reece had mixed, mastered and released 7 full length Albums with a wide range of sounds from Hip-hop, RnB to alternative rock/metal songs and at the youthful age of 22 he has countless self produced music videos, merch designs and short films. His main job working with us is being the head editor for all films produced by the team and we are so exited to have him apart of our family of Apex.

Joanne Melbourne
Marketing & Projects

Joanne Melbourne is an awarded business coach, international speaker, musician and former member of Gitbox Rebellion featuring on their 2021 Curveball Album. Joanne joined Apex Academy as a student and fell ‘head over heels’ for Method Acting and Film.  As the Marketing & Projects Manager it’s her role to bring more performance opportunities to Apex Academy so that students can fulfil their dream to appearing in both stage and film productions. 

Jay Fitton

Jay Fitton is a performance poet who writes under the pseudonym ‘Captain Houndstooth’. Although he has no formal experience in the performing arts, he has a wide variety of skills and experience. 


Jay has worked in commercial radio, lived in land-based sustainable community, run away with a sailing circus in the Pacific Ocean, busked his way around New Zealand, been in a number of bands, and been involved in the grassroots theatre production “Jump Turkey Toast.” 


He is passionate about assisting people to find the strength in their voice and confidence in their character.

 He is determined to enrich the artistic and performance community here in the Bay of Plenty in its many facets. 

Jay was Wellington Regional Poetry Slam Winner 2014 and Tauranga Poetry Slam Winner 2017.