Convenor of judges Jane Arthur is an editor, writer and poet who has worked in the book industry for over 15 years, in both bookselling and publishing, and was on the judging panel for the 2019 New Zealand Book Awards for Children and Young Adults. She is co-founding editor of The Sapling (www.thesapling.co.nz), a website about children's books that won the 2018 New Zealand Book Industry Special Award. She has a Masters in English Literature, a Masters in Creative Writing and a Diploma in Publishing. Jane won the 2018 Sarah Broom Poetry Prize, and her first poetry collection, Craven, was published in 2019. She was awarded a 2020 Emerging Writer Residency by the Michael King Writers Centre. She lives in Wellington with her family.
Alan Dingley has over 15 years of experience working in Children’s/Youth libraries, formerly as youth librarian at Palmerston North City Council’s City Library Youth Space, and currently as librarian at Palmerston North Intermediate Normal School. A proud member of REALM (Reading & Literacy Manawatu), Alan has presented workshops at LIANZA, SLANZA, REALM and MLA, covering varied topics such as ‘How do we get boys to read’, ‘Prescription Pad Literature’, ‘How do we get youth to read? and ‘Story Building: Get that story out of there!’. He also writes about and reviews children’s books. In 2019 Alan coached the PNINS Kids’ Lit Quiz team to their first national title, and then took the team to the World Final in Singapore, placing second in the world.
Briar Lawry is a bookseller, writer and editor who calls Tāmaki Makaurau home. She has been involved in the book trade for some 13 years, ever since she started as a part-time bookseller in a children's department in her last year of high school. She has studied publishing, English literature and is currently on her reo Māori haerenga at AUT. In recent years, Briar has also racked up experience in communications and marketing. She currently works at Little Unity, the children's annex of Unity Books Auckland, and is one of three co-editors of New Zealand children's literature website The Sapling.
Steph Matuku (Ngāti Mutunga, Ngāti Toa, Te Ati Awa) is a business writer and book reviewer, and writes stories for young people for the stage, page, radio and screen. Her first play, A Story of Rona, won a Playmarket award, and she was awarded New Zealand Writers Guild Seed Grant funding for her first feature film script, How Tui and Kae Met Their Mother. Steph’s two debut books, Flight of the Fantail and Whetū Toa and the Magician, were selected for the Storylines Notable Books List in 2019. Whetū Toa and the Magician was also shortlisted for the Wright Family Foundation Esther Glen Award for Junior Fiction in the 2019 New Zealand Book Awards for Children and Young Adults. She lives in Taranaki.
Charlotte McKay has had a lifelong association with stories – from a childhood of books, to a life as a professional storyteller (a.k.a. actor and singer), to a primary school teacher, and her current role – children’s specialist bookseller at the University Book Shop in Ōtepoti Dunedin. She is now able to actively combine her love of performing, education and books in what she thinks might just be her perfect job. Charlotte works with teachers, children, and the community providing expert advice and assistance on everything from effective story-telling to the next book to fall in love with. She firmly believes that her job is not to sell books, but to sell the love of reading and she gives time to community projects with this in mind, including helping to organise Ignition Kids Book Festival.
Ko Tākitimu, Ko Kurahaupō ngā waka. Ko Rongomaiwahine, Ko Ngāti Kahungunu ngā iwi.
Moana Munro is Te Kura Pounamu Award convenor judge for a third year, and has been kaitiakipukapuka Māori for Hastings District Libraries for over a decade. She is conscious of the changing dynamic within communities and is striving to strengthen tikanga, supporting or improving the delivery of Māori services and resources. Moana is a proud member of Ngā Kaiwhakahau o Te Rōpū Whakahau, representing Te Mātau a Maui (East Coast, Hawke’s Bay to Wairarapa regions).
Ko Whakapunake ki runga. Ko te komititanga o ngā awa o Kaitarahae o Ruakituri me Hangaroa ki raro, ka puta ko te awa o Te Wairoa-Tapoko-Rau. Ko Hinekorako te tipua. Tihei Kahungunu.
Cellia Joe-Olsen is the Tumuaki Tuakana or Immediate Past President of Te Rōpū Whakahau, the national body that represents Māori engaged in Libraries, Culture, Knowledge, Information, Communication and Systems Technology in Aotearoa. She is a graduate of Te Panekiretanga o te Reo Māori the Institute of Excellence in the Māori Language, and is active within language revitalisation circles. Cellia works for the Alexander Turnbull Library, and is also involved in numerous library-related national and international bodies with an indigenous focus. She is passionate about finding aids in te reo Māori to help people, children in particular, find books of interest to them.
Ko Ngatokimatawhaurua te waka. Ko Hokianga te moana. Ko Putahi te maunga. Ko Te Uri taniwha te hapū. Ko Ngāpuhi te iwi
Francis Leaf is a 2019 recipient of the Robyn Hakopa Te Reo Māori award for promoting te reo and tikanga within the library profession. As a collection advisor at the Auckland University of Technology, she has 21 years of experience working in tertiary libraries, holding a number of different roles. She is the newest member on Ngā Kaiwhakahau o Te Rōpū Whakahau, representing Te Hikuroa rohe, and brings experience, passion and inspiration to this position.