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NZWG Board & Staff

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FIONA SAMUEL MNZM
Co-President

Fiona Samuel has been on the NZWG board for 10 years and Co-President for 4 years, alongside her esteemed colleague David Mamea.

Fiona is a writer and director for television, radio, film and theatre, and a NZ Arts Foundation Laureate. Her body of work includes the original TV drama series The Marching Girls, one-woman stage play Lashings of Whipped Cream – A Session With a Teenage Dominatrix, television documentary Virginity, short films Bitch and Song of the Siren, radio dramas Blonde Bombshell and A Short History of Contraception and telefeatures Piece of My Heart, Bliss and Consent – The Louise Nicholas Story, and in 2024 she makes her debut as a feature film screenwriter with the movie Pike.

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DAVID F. MAMEA
Co-President

David Fa’auliuli Mamea (Safune/Safotu, Sāmoa) hates a lot of things about writing (don’t get him started on treatments) but the absolute pits is candidate statements like this.

He’s been writing for over twenty years. It doesn’t feel like twenty years but by golly his calendar and Morgan Freeman in the mirror don’t lie. He’s been around a bit.

He believes in the guild and the work that it does for you — yes, you, dear guild member (you are a paid up member, aren’t you?) because not only is there safety in numbers, an organised bunch of writers has agency and influence. They have a voice.

The industry currently faces funding challenges and unprecedented change. The guild will be in right there, advocating for writers because without us, there are no stories.

There’s also collective negotiations on the horizon. You know what that means, right? Minimum conditions. Industry wide standards. What conditions? you might ask. What standards? We’re going to figure that out together when collective negotiations begin.

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RACHEL LANG MNZM
Vice President

Rachel is an award-winning television writer, creator, show runner and executive producer.  She is best known for long running series Outrageous Fortune, Go Girls, Nothing Trivial and The Almighty Johnsons. 

 

Her career as a writer started on Shortland Street, where she was the first NZ story editor.

Rachel has also worked in development and as a script editor, script consultant and mentor. She’s been a member of NZWG for many years and joined the board to help promote the interests of NZ screenwriters.    

In 2017, Rachel was made a member of the order of NZ for her services to television

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ANDREW TODD
Board Member

Andrew Todd is an award-winning writer/director, theatre practitioner, and consultant from Ōtautahi.

Andrew holds a BFA(Hons) in film, self-produced his first feature in his early twenties, and has been a recipient of NZWG Seed Advanced, NZFC development funding, three 48HOURS Apees, and Best Pitch at 37°South. He served as Christchurch manager of the 48HOURS Filmmaking Competition for seven years and worked for several years as a US/Canada-based film critic, jurying for festivals like Fantastic Fest alongside luminaries like Leonard Maltin and Edgar Wright. Andrew also records music, performs stand-up comedy, and boasts over 70 professional theatre credits as a writer, director, actor, and designer.

 

Currently, Andrew is developing multiple film, television, and theatre projects, and assesses scripts for the NZ Film Commission. Andrew is passionate about telling idiosyncratic, subversive, genre-based stories exploring seldom-illuminated parts of the human experience, and about fostering talent development and screen-sector growth in the South Island.

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DAN MUSGROVE
Board Member

I’ve been working in the New Zealand screen industry for the last 15 years as an actor, writer, script producer and, most recently, as a producer and production company co-director.
After graduating from Toi Whakaari in 2007, I began working in theatre before eventually making my way into the SPP writers room for Westside. I’ve now had the pleasure of writing, storylining and developing projects at NZ’s major production companies and platforms, collaborating with a wide range of emerging and experienced screenwriters. Most recently, I have written scripts for the upcoming half-hour comedy Happiness, both seasons of Creamerie, INSiDE, and I also script-produced Homebound 3.0.

 

In 2021, I co-founded the production company Luminous Beast with Shoshana McCallum and Peter Salmon. Together we have produced and co-produced the short form thriller INSiDE, which picked up an International Emmy in 2021, and the critically acclaimed After the Party, starring Robyn Malcolm and Peter Mullen.

 

I believe in the work the NZWG does and I’m passionate about establishing standards for screenwriters across the industry. I’m also finishing off a law degree (very slowly) and this part-time study has given me a greater understanding of the ins and outs of writing contracts, option agreements and negotiations. With a background in co-writing and collaboration I have a strong interest in finding ways to create strong and positive creative partnerships, and to help the Guild to continue providing the resources emerging writers need to stay on track.

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MALINNA LIANG
Board Member

Malinna Liang is a Chinese-New Zealand writer based in Auckland. She began her career as a writer on My Life is Murder, and has since worked as a story-liner and writer across both drama and comedy, on shows such as Homebound 3.0, Madame Mom, N00b, and more. She has been the recipient of Fresh Shorts and Great Southern’s Tahuna Residency. Her prose has been featured in Landfall and the University of Auckland Press anthology A Clear Dawn: New Asian Voices From Aotearoa New Zealand.

 

My very Chinese father would say: life isn’t fair. But I do think that an industry like this should try to be — if for no other reason than that it would help us create better TV, better films, better (ugh) content. After all, nothing good can be made without a great script — and if we’re to compete in a rapidly changing global landscape, we need to foster new voices through new pathways. I believe the way to do that would be through deliberate outreach to emerging creatives, and initiating programs which focus on practical up-skilling and relationship-building with established companies. To me, up-skilling means the things that aren’t included in a film school curriculum and cannot be learned alone — how to pitch, how to collaborate and take notes, and most of all how to be in a writers’ room. I believe we need to provide emerging writers with the skills they need to successfully navigate all the elements of this job which don’t include words on a page, but can oftentimes be even more important towards building a sustainable career. Writing is a job — it follows that it needs job training. 

As a Board Member, these are the issues I will focus on, with a particular emphasis towards uplifting marginalised voices in order to foster a creative landscape that better reflects our audience.

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MATASILA FRESHWATER
Board Member

Matasila Freshwater (Solomon Islands, Pākehā) is a writer/director across animation and live-action, exploring cultural complexities and fringe weirdoes with her stories. Mata holds an MA in Screenwriting from Victoria University IIML, was awarded 2019 SPADA New Filmmaker of the Year, and in 2020 was an inaugural Arts Foundation Springboard Recipient. Matasila was responsible for the Solomon Islands section of award-winning feature, Vai (2019), and her most recent short, Hiama, was selected for Palm Springs Shorts and won the Sun Jury Prize at Imaginative (2021).

 

Matasila is passionate about the work of the NZWG in uplifting marginalised voices and re-shifting and decolonising power imbalances to centre writers and creatives. When not writing or screaming into the void, Mata spends her time roller skating.

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PAULA BOOCK
Board Member

Tēna koutou fellow writers. I am a full-time scriptwriter, working primarily in television drama. For 15 years I have been one half of Lippy Pictures and with Donna Malane I’ve produced as well as written our own series drama, several telefeatures and two international co-production series. I’ve been on this dedicated and passionate board for four years now and have seen how vital the advocacy work done by the Guild on behalf of screenwriters is - especially in the midst of the current budget-slashing maelstrom.

 

I’d like to continue supporting that work, especially the introduction of basic minimum contract terms through SIWA and continuing cultural change in the industry to make it a welcoming environment for all genders, sexualities, ethnicities and ages.

 

More generally I am committed to seeing creatives respected and centered in the decision-making, development and production of screen projects, and through my understanding of the producer end of things (ie money), receiving their fair share of the end profits.

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RENE LE BAS
Board Member

Rene Le Bas is a New Zealand-born writer who grew up in the United States and currently lives in Auckland. He has an MA in Scriptwriting from Victoria University’s International Institute of Modern Letters (IIML), is an NZWG Seed Grant Recipient, SWANZ Best Unproduced Pilot Winner, and wrote for series three of TVNZ’s The Cul de Sac. During his time on the NZWG Board, Rene has been a voice for the training needs of screenwriters in a changing industry and changing education landscape. He will continue to be a strong advocate for emerging writers entering the industry, and looks forward to the work ahead with collective negotiations for minimum conditions.

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STEVE BARR
Board Member

Kia ora, I’m back on the Board of NZWG because I want to continue helping New Zealand screenwriters be valuable and valued creatives in the collective art form of screen storytelling.

 

I previously served on the Board for seven years, including being Vice President and (briefly) President. I have a good understanding of the roles and responsibilities of governance, the goals of the Writers Guild, and the needs of the larger screen sector. My recent work as the commissioner of drama and scripted comedy at TVNZ has added to my understanding of the local creative ecosystem, and I’m eager to help the Guild be fit for purpose as the NZ screen sector moves into an uncertain future.

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TIM WORRALL
Board Member

Tim Worrall (BFA, MA) is a Tūhoe screenwriter, director and designer based in Rotorua where he is a member of the Steambox Film Collective. Notable work includes: writer of feature film Ka Whawhai Tonu; co-lead writer and lead director of tv drama series Head High; co-writer and co-director of anthology feature film We Are Still Here; designer of the Mana Motuhake ō Tūhoe flag; designer for Team All Blacks; brand designer for Whaikaha, Ministry of Disabled People; tohunga tā moko of Taurewa Biddle’s mataora.

In 2022, Tim was selected as a Fellow of the Sundance Institute’s Native Lab.

He is married to Taria Tahana with whom he has two sons, Tiki and Tanu.

As a Board Member of the NZWG, my priorities are to:

Support the ongoing initiatives of the Guild, ensuring the work of writers is rightfully acknowledged and valued as the heart, soul and foundation of screen storytelling in Aotearoa;

Provide a Māori voice and resource to the Board;

Provide an additional regional voice and perspective.

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ALICE SHEARMAN
Executive Director

Alice is passionate about the rights and progression of Aotearoa New Zealand screenwriters. Alice is on of the Co Chairs of Toi Mai, was the Deputy Chair of Film Auckland, and a founding member and Deputy Chairperson of the Agents Association of NZ. Prior to this, Alice was an Actor's and Writer’s agent for a decade. Specialising in developing screenwriters skills and talents through professional development pathways and stronger rights legislation.

Alice’s focus as the Executive Director of the NZWG has been part of establishing the Screen Industry Workers Act and development of professional career pathways for screenwriters.

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CLAIRE MOORE
Membership Manager

Claire is a strong supporter of the screenwriting industry in New Zealand and has worked with NZWG for some 5 years striving to support members and provide that 'voice at the end of the phone' - or more often 'email at the end of the email' for our members.

Claire is focused on the everyday needs of members and is always available to provide advice and answer questions about NZWG Core Services, and bodies of work - especially Seed and Kōpere Ake.

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