Chairperson – Di Menefy
In 1996 Di was instrumental in forming the Northland Branch of NZSA. Until then Northland members either travelled to Auckland for meetings or had to make do with written communications. When the Northland branch was started it had about 25 members and now has over 80. Di has held a committee position since the branch was first conceived and at various times has been Chairperson, National Council Delegate, Website Officer and Treasurer.
Di’s first stories and articles were published in the New Zealand Farmer and School Journal in the late 1970s and early 1980s, but she got sidetracked into journalism. During the 1980s and 1990s most of her published work was non-fiction and she spent five years as a part-time feature writer for the local paper, then went freelance to work on commissioned histories. Her first junior novel (River Crossing) was published in 2001. In 2010 her second junior novel, Shadow of the Boyd, was published by HarperCollins. This book was a finalist in the NZ Post Awards and went on to win the LIANZA Esther Glen medal.
Di is now Programme Leader for the Northtec Applied Writind Diploma and is currently working on a third (and fourth) novel.
Vice Chairperson – Justine Payen
After completing a semester on NorthTec’s Diploma of Applied Writing in 2010 Justine sent her picture book assessment to HarperCollins, who published it and released Tea With Miss Tilly illustrated by Phillip Webb in March 2012. On 20th August 2011 she also had a profile piece on country singer Carleen Still published in The Northern Advocate.
Having completed Level 5, 6 and the advanced Applied Writing Diploma Level 7 at the end of 2012, Justine is continuing to write a Young Adult fantasy based in Whangarei about shape shifters, angels and creatures of nightmares. She continues to study part-time while waiting for NorthTec’s Applied Writing Degree programme to start.
Justine lives with her fiancé, four kids (thankfully two of which come and go), dog, cat, cockatiels and a budgie which keep her busy, while still renovating (on a shoestring) nine years after buying a house advertised as Nightmare on George Street.
Secretary – Karen Phillips
Treasurer, Newsletter Editor & Event Coordinator – Kathy Derrick
Kathy Derrick writes mainly for children and young adults. Most of her published works are with Learning Media. Her latest projects include tidying up a junior fantasy novel, and reviewing New Zealand children’s books and interviewing their authors at: NZ Children’s Book Reviews. Kathy is a trained tertiary teacher, and tutors on the NorthTec Applied Writing Diploma.
PUBLICITY – Piet Nieuwland
Piet Nieuwland is a poet who enjoys live poetry readings. He first appeared in the Globe Tapes (Auckland 1985) and has since read poetry in a wide variety of gatherings and forums throughout the country including Pechakucha evenings. His poems have been published in many places including Landfall, Live Lines, Mattoid, Takahe, Snafu, Take Flight, Tongue in your ear, Poetry NZ, online and the mural on the tunnel walkway in Whangarei. His most recent poetry booklet is Tzarinas Equinoctal. He also plays around with flash fiction. He is currently involved in Poets Exposed poetry readings in Whangarei and has just released a chapbook compilation of Northland poetry titled Fast Fibres Poetry.
He has worked as a forester for the NZ Forest Service and as a strategic management planner for the Department of Conservation and enjoys sailing, planting trees, vegetable gardening and the countryside.
Committee – Bianca Staines
Bianca Claudia Staines is an Anglo-Italian writer based in New Zealand. Born in England, she grew up in the medieval town of Perugia (IT) and, since a very young age, her heart revolved around writing and wildlife. Having built strong didactic foundations on Classical Studies and Literature, she later became involved in animal care and worked for the safeguard of endangered tortoises in Tuscany. She moved from Italy in 2009 and studied Ecology and Animal Behaviour at the University of Auckland. Her deep passion for writing eventually led her to actively pursue a career as an author, her stories usually revolving around animals and pets. Bianca’s latest project is a children’s series named recently won second place in the ‘Animal/Pets’ Ebook category of the Purple Dragonfly Children’s Book Awards (2017). At present Bianca is working on the book’s two sequels. . Her first book, ,
COMMITTEE – Wendy Megget
Wendy Megget writes non-fiction, self-help and humour. She is a regular contributor to Kiwi Gardener Magazine and has also been published in NZ Fishing News. Her first eBook, The Little Bullying Book, is available online and she is now working on her new Weird Wisdom self-help series. In secret she is also developing a comic strip called Bongo’s Backyard. Wendy works as a Licensed Cadastral Surveyor and enjoys reading murder mysteries, gardening and collecting inspirational quotes.