Members’ Profiles

the committee

Profiles for committee members Di Menefy,  Justine Payen, Karen Philips, Kathy Derrick,Wendy Megget, Piet Nieuland and Suzanne Chappell can be found here.

Derin Attwood


When a house fire destroyed Derin Attwood’s embroidery samples and books, her job as an embroidery tutor was no-longer viable. So she looked for another hobby, and eventually settled on writing. Having always had a passion for words, reading, creating stories and poems, Derin decided to begin a few short stories while on a three year journey around New Zealand. The first story grew and grew, and never ended. It became part one of the ongoing fantasy series, The Token Bearers. The first three books have been published, and Book One, The Caves of Kirym, was shortlisted for The Sir Julius Vogel award in 2015.
Derin is a member of NZSA and a small critique group. She lives in Whangarei, New Zealand.

Zana Bell

Zana BellZana Bell writes in a variety of genre, her novels covering YA, historical adventure, and contemporary romance. Her second novel based on Charlotte Badger – convict, pirate and New Zealand’s first known English woman migrant – won the Cataromance Single Title’s 10 Best Books of 2008. In 2010 she won the Cataromance Reviewers’ Award for her romance, Tempting the Negotiator. She has also written short stories and articles that have appeared in publications such as Landfall, NZ Geographic, Takahe, Grace and History Scotland as well as being broadcast on National Radio. In 2000 she was awarded a Creative New Zealand grant and was the recipient of a National Archives Oral Histories grant in 2002. In 2006 she worked with Elizabeth Smither under the NZ Society of Authors Mentor Scheme and was shortlisted for the NZSA Mid-Careers Grant in 2012. In 2014 she was awarded a Vice Chancellor’s scholarship to complete a PhD in Creative Writing at AUT.

Donna Blaber

Donna BlaberDonna Blaber writes fiction and non-fiction for children and adults. She is an experienced journalist, magazine editor and author. Her career includes working as the road trip editor for a popular NZ car magazine, the chief editor of a motorhome mag, and as the launch editor of a new renovation magazine. She is widely published and for four consecutive years her feature articles made the finals of the Cathay Pacific Travel Media Awards. In 2013 she won Creative Northland’s Excellence in the Arts Business Award.
Donna’s first book was commissioned in 2004; since then she has produced more than 40 titles. When she is not writing she teaches creative writing workshops for children. She is also available for writer visits as part of the Book Council’s Writers in Schools programme,%20Donna
While the majority of her work is published by mainstream publishers, she also runs a boutique publishing company which publishes, markets and distributes the popular Kiwi Critters® series of books for young children.

Michael Botur

Michael Botur-235Michael Botur has published three short story collections, all available at He is first and second-place winner of this year’s Whangarei Libraries Flash Fiction Competition. Botur has published fiction and poetry writing in the literary journals Landfall, Poetry New Zealand, JAAM, Takahe, some overseas literary journals, and many an edgy zine. Botur is a trained journalist and has published news and longform journalism in New Zealand Herald, Herald on Sunday, Sunday Star-Times and Mana. Botur works as a freelance content writer and researcher and is teaching fiction for Community Education Whangarei from July. For more information visit his website:

Michelle Elvy

Michelle ElvyMichelle Elvy is an editor, writer and writing coach/ private tutor. Years ago she sold everything she owned – including her red motorbike — and moved onto a sailboat.  A decade later she landed in Northland and stayed (although her latitude and longitude still change regularly). Co-ordinator of New Zealand’s National Flash Fiction Day and the international FLASH MOB 2013, Michelle is also the founding editor of Flash Frontier: An Adventure in Short Fiction and fiction editor at Blue Five Notebook. In recent years, Michelle has judged a number of competitions for Auckland’s International Writers’ Workshop, the Whangarei Writers’ Workshop, the Northland/Whangarei Libraries, the South Island Writers’ Association, Flash Fiction World and the upcoming 2013 NorthWrite Collaboration Competition.

A Pushcart nominee, a Watson Fellow, a Fulbright Scholar, and a finalist in numerous international writing competitions, Michelle is currently finishing a book-length collection of short stories based in NZ history, thanks to a 2012 NZSA/ Auckland Museum Library grant.  Her other fiction, creative non-fiction, poetry and travel articles have appeared or are forthcoming in journals in NZ and internationally. You can also find her at the Tuesday Poem group and at Glow Worm.

Barbara Green

Barbara Green

Barbara completed a Diploma in Writing Stories for Children in 2012. She has a few stories in the pipeline, and hopes to join the ranks of published writers in the not too distant future. She works as a nurse,  and enjoys any time that she can spend with her little grandson. She is enjoying the world of reading to a child yet again, and gains lots of inspiration for her stories from her family, variety of pets, and from her surroundings on the beautiful Whangarei Harbour. She enjoys being a part of NZSA, and gaining inspiration from all the writing talent around her.

Narine Groome

Narine taught juniors as a primary teacher for years, which motivated her to write for children. In 2009 Penguin published her children’s picture book, Wheelbarrow Wilbur, realising a dream. She has 20 more children’s books waiting and wishes she could draw!

Currently, she is writing her first full-length play for a PANZ competition, 90 minutes in length. It’s ready to send, so she’s feeling chuffed! She has recently had some success with plays for PANZ – spaced out over a long time. Her play, A Word in Edgeways, was third in a PANZ competition last year, and another adult play, A Bag of Flour, was second in a PANZ competition in 2005. She has been re-motivated to try her hand at playwriting, and is enjoying the genre.


Barbara Lucy is registered as a lecturer of Birmingham University, England, and has taught Creative Writing Classes on Auckland’s North Shore, started Northshore Writers Group, worked with International Writers Workshop  Auckland and also organised readings. She started the Whāngārei Writers’ Workshop, recently resigning as Convener. She has been a competition judge and guest speaker/tutor. Her first three line poem in her mother’s autograph book, was written at four years old.  She won her first writing competition, at the age of eight and at 11 her first poem was published. Later two books on creative activity, were followed by several articles and stories and she was a staff writer for NZ Fisherman before being diagnosed with an incurable disease.  She has since self-published two books of poems and is working on a third and a short story collection. She writes a monthly newsletter for the Whangarei ME/CFS group.


Jac bioJac privately believes that her greatest writing accomplishment was the highly commended award for tidy writing that she won in primary school, as her hand-writing is usually exceptionally poor. Luckily she now does all of her creative writing on her laptop. Squeezing her writing between her two library jobs can be challenging, however she found time to win the Northland Short Story of the Year in both 2012 and 2013. She has had work published in the Northern Advocate, National Poetry Day in Northland and Flash Frontier and in 2012 was awarded a poetry mentorship through the NZ Society of Authors. Jac is also a member of the Northland poetry group, Take Flight.

Jac lives in rural Whangarei with her daughter, five hens and two cats. She and her partner live 3 ½ hours apart, yet somehow manage to spend most weekends together in one house or the other.

Sun Lyoung Kim

SunSun Lyoung Kim was born in Seoul, Korea and immigrated to New Zealand in 1996. She has lived in Whangarei for 18 years. She graduated from NorthTec in 2006 with the Diploma in Applied Writing and was awarded the PEN prize from the New Zealand Society of Authors, Northland Branch. Since 2010 she has been writing educational columns on ‘Delicious Education’- a subsidiary company of Cho Sun Il Bo.

She published ‘Becoming a Kiwi’ in School Journal Part 1 Number 2, 2006 – and ‘Walking on the Grass’ in School Journal Part 1 Number 4, 2006.From 2006 to 2007 she has published columns on a Korean web newspaper about New Zealand and in 2005 published an article about a Korean folktale story in Whangarei Report. She is currently working on translating David Hill’s book, ‘Right Where it Hurt’ into Korean.


Talia_Mana_200x250Talia Mana is a business consultant and success strategist who excels at creating and growing successful businesses. Talia is an innovator who enjoys being at the forefront of change. An early adopter of digital marketing she published her first eBook in the late 1990s.

Talia was a contributing author to the Amazon bestselling book 101 Great Ways to Improve Your Life: Volume 2 with John Gray, Richard Carlson, Bob Proctor and Jack Canfield. She is also the author of two self-improvement books containing strategies for personal success and more than 1,000 articles and blog posts, and several eBooks and audio products. An award winning blogger and professional speaker, Talia has been featured in television, radio, newspaper and magazine interviews.

Talia is based in Whangarei – known as ‘The Winterless North’ of New Zealand – where she enjoys the peace and tranquillity of country living and does her best to avoid the weeding.

Visit Talia’s website or get social with Talia on Twitter  and Facebook


Anne McDonellAnne worked as a speech language therapist and special needs teacher for 30 years. She has written poetry, published mainly in School Journal and literary magazines, and three educational books: Speech and Language Development 0-7 Years, Let’s Write Poems and Let’s Write Short Stories. She has won a Northland short story competition and poetry competition and her poems have been anthologised. In 2012 Anne decided to take on the challenge of writing a junior novel. The MOB and The Robbers, a novel for 9 to 11-year-olds, was published by Ocean Books in March 2013.  Thanks to NZSA, Anne had Janice Marriott as her mentor while writing this book.

Highlights of Anne’s writing career have been: visiting schools as a member of the Book Council’s Writers in Schools programme, travelling to schools in the Far North with Margaret Mahy and Northland writers, viewing children’s reactions to and artists’ illustrations of her work.  Her work has been translated into Maori and interpreted by the Auckland Symphony Orchestra.


JanineJanine designed, wrote and currently teaches on the online Diploma of Applied Writing programme for Northtec. She has been published across a wide range of genres and media over the years: short and long non-fiction for children and adults; short and long fiction, including two novels for children and short stories on radio for adults; collaborated in writing plays for radio and early childhood readers in te Reo Maori as well as reviews of fiction, non-fiction, poetry, films and websites for magazines and newsletters. Her current writing projects are a biography of Priscilla Wakefield and an historical novel.

Janine lives with her family on the Hokianga Harbour and is involved in several local issues, all of which feeds her writing.

Julie O’Brien

Julie photo smallJulie is a qualified editor and journalist and works as a freelance editor offering editing, proofreading and writing services. She works primarily with non-fiction material from short documents to lengthy publications, including academic work and website copy. As she has also had a career in counselling and psychotherapy, she specialises in texts in these fields and in self-help books. Julie is also drawing on her psychotherapy experience to write a book about the process of personal change and its relationship to wider social change. For more information go to


Karen Phillips works full-time as a school administrator. She began writing with a course in 2009 and won the Katherine Mansfield Novice Award and the Heartland Short Story contest that year and has enjoyed success in other contests since then. She recently discovered the immediateness of short, short fiction and is exploring that genre at present with the Flash Frontier contest in addition to writing longer stories, which she hopes will be enough for a collection in the not-too-distant future.

Rae Roadley

Rae RoadleyRae Roadley lay sprawled on a gravel road after being thrown by a bull – and had an idea. She’d write about her life on a farm situated on a remote and historic harbour peninsula. Her newspaper columns led to Love at the End of the Road, a memoir published by Penguin, which in turn led to an episode of New Zealand’s longest-running TV show, Country Calendar. A qualified journalist with experience in publishing and public relations, she’s also a freelance and creative writer, blogs about farming and rural life and tutors online non-fiction and feature writing at NorthTec. Rae’s work has been recognised in fiction contests and media awards.

Heather Whelan

Heather WhelanHeather Whelan writes freelance articles, mainly about travel. She is currently published most months in Motorhomes, Caravans & Destinations.  Previous articles have appeared in the New Zealand Listener, the New Zealand Herald and Wilderness and Next magazines.  Heather also writes for the UK market and has been published in The Lady, This England, Evergreen, Welsh Country, Derbyshire Life, Practical Boat Owner and many other yachting magazines, including in the USA and Australia.

Heather has written an art book for teachers, Smart Art, and a picture book, The Crazy Idea.

Current projects include a travel memoir about sailing from England to New Zealand and a junior novel set in the 1800s.

Kathleen Wynn

Kath has taught secondary school students – mainly in English and computer studies – in Australia, England, Canada and New Zealand for more years than she cares to remember and is currently tutoring in the Applied Writing course for NorthTec, Whangarei.  She has written in conjunction with a senior student a school production, Forward to the Past and produced and edited a number of school magazines, school newspapers and two books of student writing, as well  as having her own articles published in various magazines over the years but the main focus of her writing during the past few years has been biographies and reflections for Hospice patients.  She has just completed her sixteenth biography.  She also works with English Language Partners and has recently completed, with a young Tibetan refugee mother, an autobiography of life and imprisonment in Tibet under Chinese rule, which is currently looking for a publisher.

In addition, Kath is a transcriptionist, transcribing interviews and other material for authors and students.

Joce yeoman

Jocelyn and BluebellJoce (short for Jocelyn) trained as a journalist in 1988 and has worked freelance pretty much ever since, fitting writing around various other pursuits including milking cows and running her own catering company.  In 2005 she returned to writing as her primary income, freelancing and working as a Communications Consultant for local government.  Joce now runs Santosha – a guide to joy: a guide to life, a life-coaching business to help women find joy and contentment in their lives.  She teaches yoga and is writing various non-fiction works about women’s health and wellness.  She currently runs a blog, which will be upgraded to a full website at the end of 2013.

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