The weekend was kicked off by the New Zealand Writers Guild SWANZ Awards. The ever effervescent Nick Ward MCed the event while I did my best Vanna White impression handing him the awards as required. It was a great turn out — my evening ensemble was admired (21st century Miami Vice, courtesy of various op shops), the food was good and plentiful, and it’s always nice to see so many writerly faces in one place.
The symposium was a more formal affair — collegial rather than fraternal — and was rampant with speakers and attendees, some of them I knew from one thing or another, and some I met for the first time.
Over the three days, I caught up with:
- Alice, Mel, Alan, Allan, Kathryn and Rachel from the guild represented;
- three from the class of 2016 — the unstoppable Maraea Rakuraku, the inquisitive William Duignan, and the observant Myfanwy Fanning-Randall;
- former guild ED Steve Gannaway and his partner Alex Cole-Baker; One Thousand Ropes‘ Tusi Tamasese and Catherine Fitzgerald; PIFT stalwarts Aaron Taouma, Arnette Arapai and Sandra Kailahi; South Pacific Pictures’ Tim Balme and James Griffin; and Waru‘s Chelsea Cohen, Ainsley Gardiner, Paula Jones, Casey Kaa, Renae Maihi, Josephine Stewart-Te Whiu and Katie Wolfe;
- Chantelle Burgoyne; South Seas’ Gerben Cath; the indefatigable Tony Forster; Paula Jones (no, the other one); Roseanne Liang; Christina Milligan; producing titan Robin Scholes; Riverside Kings‘ Sarita So; and the redoubtable Louise Tu’u.
Speaker highlights of the symposium were:
- an small-group Q-and-A with David Michôd;
- a refreshing and irreverent talk by Neil Cross;
- filmmaker So Yong Kim‘s oeuvre is a fascinating thing I need to look into;
- agent Bec Smith‘s talk was a confirmation of how talent always finds a way;
- and Oz drama commissioners Kyle Du Fresne and Penny Win, was an interesting session on how things happen across the ditch.
A bit of a blur but I’m glad I attended.