About The New Zealand Book Awards Trust

The New Zealand Book Awards Trust Te Ohu Tiaki i Te Rau Hiringa was established as a charitable trust in 2014 to govern and manage the country’s two major literary awards and National Poetry Day, and to ensure their longevity and credibility.

Nicola Legat ONZM (chair) is the Publisher of both Massey University Press and Te Papa Press, and a former Publishing Director of Random House New Zealand and editor of Metro magazine. She is Deputy Chair of the Auckland Readers and Writers Festival Trust and a board member of The Coalition for Books.

Garth Biggs is a businessman and professional director. He has had more than 30 years in information technology leadership roles in major corporates, and was chief executive of a leading New Zealand information technology services company. He now runs his own consultancy which provides governance, information technology strategy and performance, and mentorship services.

Laura Caygill represents the Library and Information Association of New Zealand Aotearoa, LIANZA Te Rau Herenga o Aotearoa, on the Trust. Hailing from Ōtautahi, Laura worked as a journalist before switching careers into libraries, and she is a regular book reviewer on RNZ’s Nine to Noon. She has worked in public libraries in Christchurch and Auckland and her current role is Operations Manager (Arts, Culture & Lifelong Learning) at Selwyn District Council. Laura recently completed a Level 5 Diploma in te reo Māori, Te Pōkairua Reo (Rumaki), at Te Wānanga o Aotearoa.

Rachael King is an award-winning author with three novels under her belt: The Sound of Butterflies, which was published internationally, translated into nine languages and won the Hubert Church Best First Book of Fiction at the 2007 Montana New Zealand Book Awards; Magpie Hall, a gothic novel set in Canterbury; and Red Rocks, a junior novel that won the Esther Glen medal at the LIANZA Children’s Book Awards in 2013. Rachael was the programme director of WORD Christchurch for eight years until the end of 2021, and is publishing a new novel for children in 2024.

Suzy Maddox (Ngā Puhi, Ngāti Kahu ki Whaingaroa, Ngāti Kahungunu) has worked in the book industry for over 30 years, in both New Zealand and England. She is National Sales Manager for Hachette Aotearoa New Zealand and is a council member for the Publishers Association of New Zealand (PANZ), which she represents on the Trust. Alongside full-time work, Suzy is studying at AUT for her Māori Development degree, currently majoring in te reo Māori and New Zealand History.

Richard Pamatatau, of Cook Island, Niuean, German and English descent, teaches creative writing at AUT University. He is a member of the AUT Popular Culture Research Group and researches the intersection of space, place and identity. Richard has a Master of Creative Writing with First Class Honours from the University of Auckland and is working on a PhD in poetry at Massey University.

Renée Rowland is the owner and operator of two bookshops in rural South Canterbury, The Twizel Bookshop and Timaru Booksellers. She is the Chair of Booksellers Aotearoa NZ and is their representative on the Trust. Prior to running bookshops, Renée studied economics at the University of Canterbury and worked in marketing and communications in the financial services sector in London.

Melinda Szymanik is an award-winning writer of picture books, junior and YA fiction, and short stories. She was the 2014 University of Otago College of Education Creative New Zealand Children’s Writer in Residence, and was a judge for the New Zealand Book Awards for Children and Young Adults in 2016. Melinda represents the New Zealand Society of Authors Te Puni Kaituhi O Aotearoa on the Trust.

Belinda Cooke is Manager of the New Zealand Book Awards Trust. Former Managing Director of New Holland Publishers in New Zealand, she now runs her own publishing and communications consultancy alongside the part-time role. She can be reached regarding Trust matters on manager@nzbookawards.org.nz.