She was always going to make a “song and dance” about it!
In Katrina Bristow’s earliest memory she is four years old, all made up, wearing her pyjamas, holding a wooden microphone and standing on a home-made stage with sister Jackie, to entertain the family.
The Bristow family was musical – grandparents included a music teacher and a tap dancer and singer and Katrina’s mother sang and played guitar. Later when Katrina went to St Mary’s Primary school in Gore, her natural talent was nurtured by teacher Walter Hales and she was encouraged to develop these interests. At St Mary’s all the children played instruments, but when it came to performances the strings were removed from the ukuleles of those who weren’t very good!
Luckily there were also talented music and dance teachers in town and with the support of her parents Katrina was able to take extra classes, as well as devoting time to her other interests of swimming and looking after her horse.
When she went on to St Peter’s, Katrina expanded her talents, performing in Eisteddfods, competing in public speaking debates, developing a love of poetry and taking prizes for swimming and art. At the same time she wasn’t neglecting her studies and she went on to Otago University to do a Bachelor of Commerce, specializing in accountancy with a Diploma in Marketing. After graduation she left Dunedin for Christchurch where she qualified as a Chartered Accountant and then left New Zealand to work in Sydney.
Four years later, Katrina managed to combine her passion for music and dancing with her accountancy career, by spending the next eight years working in London as a Financial Controller in the TV and music industry. Admission to the Mountview Academy of Theatre Arts, one of the UK’s leading drama schools, enabled her to resume her studies, progress her work in musical theatre and eventually to write an album.
Newly married and as part of a contemporary dance group, she spent a year in Africa, living in Zimbabwe. This time in Africa influenced her personal development too, as she volunteered with groups helping to educate on issues associated with AIDS.
It was here also that she enjoyed some of her most challenging moments – whitewater rafting down the Zambezi river and “walking with lions” – experiences that tended to put everything else in perspective.
Nowadays, Katrina is back home in New Zealand. After her marriage broke down, she felt a need to change and recreate her life, and 2014 finally saw the launch of her album “Home”. She has been able to step away from expectations and forge her own path. In her chartered accountancy role she is based in Queenstown, but spends two days a week in Gore teaching Nia – holistic fusion fitness, yoga and singing. Of the future, she says she used to have a map, but that got thrown out and she embraces the “now”, which is her friends and family her “song and dance”.