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 thirty 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) 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 Community Experiences and Diversity Team Leader at Waimakariri Libraries. Laura is studying te reo Māori 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 and Young Adult Book Awards in 2013. Rachael was the programme director of WORD Christchurch for eight years until the end of 2021, and is currently working on two linked books: a novel for children and a work of non-fiction.

Claire Murdoch is Head of Publishing at Penguin Random House New Zealand, where she directs Aotearoa’s largest book publishing programme across fiction, non-fiction, Māori, children’s books and audiobooks. She has 20 years’ experience in the Australian and New Zealand media and book industries in roles at Allen & Unwin, Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa and RNZ (formerly Radio New Zealand). Claire is a council member of the Publishers Association of New Zealand (PANZ), which she represents on the Trust, and she also sits on the Whitireia Publishing School Advisory Board.

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.

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.

Jenna Todd (Kāi Tahu) is the manager of Time Out Bookstore in Mt Eden, which was named in the top three bookstores in the world in 2017. She is Chair of Booksellers Aotearoa NZ and is their representative on the Trust. Jenna was named Young Bookseller of the Year in 2015, and was a fiction judge for the 2018 Ockham New Zealand Book Awards. She reviews books monthly on RNZ’s Nine to Noon and fortnightly on 95bFM’s breakfast show.

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.