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Celebrating Women

Womens’ roles in New Zealand society have come a long way. We were the first to give women the vote, we’ve had three female prime ministers and finally the Black Ferns have gotten professional contracts.

However, in many industries women do not receive equal pay (including the Black Ferns). There are few women sitting in governance positions in the New Zealand business world, and as we learned at the Sexual Harassment Workshop recently, the statistics on violence against women is horrific.

But in this week’s column I would like to help celebrate 125 years of women’s suffrage, by highlighting some successes in and around our industry.

Before I do, though, I want to first acknowledge the country’s most well-known suffragette Kate Sheppard and some of her colleagues, including Margaret Bullock, Meri Mangakāhia, Ākenehi Tōmoana, Anna Stout, Elizabeth Yates and Polly Plum. To honour our past, NZ On Screen has released their Pioneering Women collection that celebrates women and feminism in New Zealand.

I know that the statistics for women directors in NZ are still poor, and we are addressing this, but female directors have made great contributions to New Zealand film and television, from Ramai Heyward to Jane Campion, long-time Guild supporter Gaylene Preston to the achievements of Niki Caro.

As in suffrage there are other less well-known women who have made their mark in the screen industry. I would firstly like to acknowledge those who have contributed to the Guild (DEGNZ and its predecessor SDGNZ) as board members. Apologies if I have missed you out, but our records are incomplete. If you are not included here but should be, please let me know so that I can update our files:

Kristina Anderson

Kezia Barnett

Pietra Brettkelly

Annie Collins

Anna Cottrell

Alyx Duncan

Annie Goldson

Shirley Horrocks

Janette Howe

Louise Leitch

Roseanne Liang

Zoe McIntosh

Briar March

Kirstin Marcon

Fiona Millborn

Diane Musgrave

Aileen O’Sullivan

Leanne Pooley

Rather than go into a screed of copy about other New Zealand women who have stood out or are standing out in and around the screen industry, I am providing links to articles that are available now online. You can learn about some of the wonderful NZ women whose contributions we can all acknowledge:

I’d also like to point to a number of those who have a big influence in the screen industry and show that women are sitting at many of our top tables:

Kathleen Anderson, Head of Scripted, TVNZ

Christina Asher, Chairperson, NAW

Rachel Antony, CEO, Greenstone

Cass Avery, Chairperson, S2S

Melissa Ansell-Bridges, Industrial Organiser, Equity NZ

Karen Baleski, Head of Entertainment Content, SKY

Esther Cahill-Chiaroni, ED, S2S

Jude Callen, TV Commissioner, TVNZ

Sandy Gildea, ED, SPADA

Philly de Lacey, CEO, Screentime

Ruth Harley, Chairperson, NZ On Air

Frances Morton, Head of Content, Vice

Annie Murray, Senior Commissioner, SKY and Prime TV

 

Kelly Martin, CEO, SPP

Juliet Peterson, General Manager Digital Content, TVNZ

Kerry Prendergast, Chair, NZFC

Cate Slater, Content Director, TVNZ

Alice Shearman, ED, NZWG

Annabelle Sheehan, CEO, NZFC

Karla Rogers, ED, SIGANZ

Erina Tamepo, ED, NAW

Patricia Watson, ED, WIFT

Jennifer Ward Lealand, President, Equity NZ

Sue Woodfield, Head of Commissioning and External Production, Mediaworks

Kathy Wright, Head of Digital Creation, SKY

Jane Wrightson, CEO, NZ On Air

This past week has been a celebration of women’s achievements, including the Women of Influence Awards where actor and acting coach Miranda Harcourt took out the award for Woman of Influence Arts and Culture.

But perhaps the last words can be left to Dame Patsy Reddy, former chairperson of NZFC and now the Governor General. In a NZ Herald article earlier this year, she emphasised that while women had made many gains, there is still a long way to go.

Tui Ruwhiu
Executive Director