Dorinda Hafner


Hosts/MC's, Media, Motivational

Dorinda Hafner is larger than life. She is a TV presenter, writer, foodie, actor/comedienne, public speaker and happening “thang”. She is full of “sass and sauce” and quite impossible to categorise. Dorinda is intelligent, multi-faceted, talented and colourful. She’s a kaleidoscope of vibrancy and the queen of stage and skillet. Her many performances have varying effects on different people and journalistic praise is just as diverse.

Dorinda’s work has generated enormous enthusiasm and critical acclaim in both Australia and overseas including the USA, Canada, the United Kingdom and Africa. Born in Ghana, West Africa, Dorinda started dancing from 4 years old until she was 16. She learned traditional forms of performance music and dance. This love of dance often conflicted with her more westernised academic education at Ghana’s Methodist Ladies College (Wesley Girls). Aged 18, Dorinda emigrated to the United Kingdom to train first as an Ophthalmic Nurse then as a Registered Nursing Sister and then as a Dispensing Optician.

In between training, she enjoyed herself in London in the sixties periodically “moonlighting” in billboard and TV commercials e.g. “Right Guard Deodorant”, “Heineken Beer”, “Cadbury’s”, airlines, soaps etc, before she eventually married an English psychiatrist and had two children, a boy and a girl.

Moving to Australia in the late 1970’s with her psychiatrist husband (whom she affectionately refers to as her “shrink”) and two children, Dorinda abandoned her healthcare aspiration to pursue a performance-oriented path. Dorinda’s talents and experience as a story teller, performing artist, actor, dancer, author, public speaker/motivator, choreographer, TV Chef, culinary anthropologist, humanitarian and a proud marriage celebrant have since enriched many Australian organizations and lives as well as Australian and international productions over the last 34 years.

Dorinda has written several books and her culinary anthropology television programs and their companion books have been hugely successful on Channel 4 in the UK, PBS USA, Canada, Australia, South Africa and many other parts of the world. The TV shows screen in over 40 Countries. Now divorced, Dorinda, the human dynamo divides her time between Australia, the UK and the USA working passionately on many projects.

For her culinary anthropology series, Dorinda won The Bronze Prize for Best TV program at the “World Food Media Awards” in October 1997 and again in 1999, and was nominated for a further award in October 2001.

A giant, 6’ x 5’ painting of Dorinda was entered in the “Archibald Art Prize” competition in 1998 by artist Alison Lewis, and subsequently on many other occasions including artists such as Sue Flannagan.

“Dorinda Rose”, a hardy, colourful, buxom and very fragrant rose has been named after her and is on sale at Otway Roses, outside Geelong in country Victoria.

EDUCATION AND CULTURE

In Australia, Dorinda started the highly successful “Africa-in-Schools” program aimed at bridging cultural gaps through positive exposure to various aspects of African music and culture.

Dorinda has periodically written feature articles for such diverse national magazines as “Vogue” and “The Royal Academy of Dance” in Australia, as well as featuring in several educational publications for children and adults.

Dorinda was appointed State Ambassador for “Australian Citizenship Week” in 1997.  She represented Australia at the “Women and Earth Eco-Conference” in Ghana in 1999, and at the Seattle (1989 & 1990) and Vancouver (1988 & 1989) “Children’s Festival” and again at the “International Women’s Film Festival” in Burkina Faso (1991).

THEATRE

Dorinda was a Co-author and performer on the world premiere of “Akwanso Fly South” for the Adelaide Festival of Arts which toured nationally to critical acclaim.

She played Balthazar in Mem Fox’s “Child Divine” for the Adelaide Festival Centre Trust.

She played the role of Callis in Aphra Behn’s “The Rover” for the State Theatre Company of South Australia and the Sydney Festival, directed by Gale Edwards.

She played multiple roles in Boccacio’s “Tales of the Decameron” for the State Theatre Company of South Australia, directed by Simon Phillips.

She played the lead role of Amopé in Wole Soyinka’s “The Trials of Brother Jero” in Sydney opposite acclaimed Australian actors Barry Otto & Paul Blackwell.
 
She played the lead role in “Tales from a Drum”, a play written for her by Spare Parts Puppet Theatre, Fremantle, West Australia, and a myriad of other theatre roles.

TESTIMONIALS

“The Living Life to the Fullest Expo was fantastic. Dorinda and Michael were a real draw card and I've had nothing but positive feedback about the Q&A session. Very funny too!”
Jodie Blake - City of Playford

“On behalf of the Council of English Australia I’d like to thank you for your contribution to the success of the English Australia Conference. Your closing plenary session was everything we wanted it to be, and more. Thank you for engaging and uplifting the delegates and ensuring they left on a ‘high’, ready to go back to their classrooms and offices with renewed energy and purpose. Delegate comments have been exceptionally positive and I’m sure that for many your address was a high point of their conference experience.”
David Matthews - Chair, English Australia

“Dorinda was just the right person to deliver the very important message of cultural diversity to our health professional audience at the 2006 Australian Asthma Conference. Prior to commencing her session on the day, Dorinda said that she was feeling particularly naughty today and that she was going to give our delegates a message that they would not forget. Dorinda shared her personal background and experiences, as well as her many observations of human behavior, where she spoke candidly of some people’s reflection of love and acceptance, while others display cruelty and loathing. Dorinda's messages about cultural diversity are always potent and memorable gems to treasure.”
Pamela Lockyer-Scrutton - Chief Executive, Asthma Foundation of SA

“Dorinda Hafner was just the tonic our conference needed. She describes herself as a story-teller and that is exactly what she is, but her stories are relevant to the needs we all have. Her sense of humour and passion for life is absolutely contagious. The audience fell in love with her and fell off their chairs laughing with her. We will definitely be having Dorinda at future conferences.”
Des Penny - Proteus Enterprises