Meet the team

Our Staff

  • Chief Executive

    Juliet Blyth

    Bookselling claimed Juliet in her early 20s when she took a part time role at Bennetts Government Bookshop in Bowen House, Wellington. From 2001 – 2020 Juliet was General Manager of Vic Books & Café based at Victoria University of Wellington’s Kelburn and Pipitea campuses. Along with the Vic Books & Café Board of Directors, Juliet implemented a programme of change. By establishing cafes (one licensed) in each of their sites, they turned the traditional model of bookselling on its head, creating a community for students, staff and the wider community, driving engagement and growing their business outside of traditional channels.

    Juliet is Chair of Booksellers NZ and sits on the Coalition for Books board. She has been a reader all her life and one of her most treasured possessions is a letter written to her by the late Noel Streatfield, her favourite childhood author. Juliet has a degree in English Literature from the University of Canterbury.

  • Programmes Manager

    Kathryn Carmody

    Kathryn’s first job out of school was as a bookseller, and despite a slight change in career path where she thought she was going to be an accountant, has been working with bookish organisations ever since. Most recently, Kathryn has completed a decade with the New Zealand Festival looking after their biennial Writers Week programme. When she’s not working she enjoys… reading.

  • Communication and Engagement Manager

    Melissa Wastney

    Melissa has worked as a journalist and writer for a number of years and has a background in the arts and music. She has a keen interest in books of all kinds, especially those relating to textile crafts and art, but also memoirs and children's books. She teaches workshops in the textile arts and creativity. Melissa is passionate about the importance of accessible arts education for all children and adults.

  • Corporate Services Manager

    Tanya Prince

    Tanya has worked in corporate finance and administration for over 20 years in the areas of health, education, aviation and construction. She has a keen interest in children reading which started at a very young age when she was determined to get her three-year-old sister reading. In her spare time Tanya practices yoga and mindfulness, enjoys walking her dog around Wellington’s rugged south coast and catching up with friends.

Our Board

  • Chair / Elected 2018

    Peter Vial

    Peter Vial is the New Zealand Country Head of Chartered Accountants Australia and New Zealand (CAANZ). He is a chartered accountant and lawyer. Prior to joining CAANZ he was a director at PwC and an Associate Professor in the University of Auckland's Business School. Peter teaches on the University's Masters of Taxation Studies programme and is a contributing author to two leading tax textbooks.

    In the 1990s he worked for Trade NZ for six years, including a three-year stint as New Zealand’s Trade Commissioner to Germany. He has a Masters in Law from the University of Bonn, Germany. Peter is a trustee for the Mātātuhi Foundation.

  • Chair Emeritus / Elected 2010

    Peter Biggs, CNZM


    Peter Biggs is currently supporting our board Chair Peter Vial in a 'Chair Emeritus' role.

    He is currently the CEO of the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra.

    Until 2020, he was the national CEO of leading advertising and innovation agency, Assignment Group.

    With his wife, Mary, he is a significant supporter of the arts in New Zealand – particularly of literature, theatre and music.

    They have funded the Biggs Family Prize in Poetry at Victoria University of Wellington’s International Institute of Modern Letters since 2006, along with the Alex Scobie Research Prize in Classical Studies, Latin and Greek. They have been consistent supporters of the International Festival of the Arts, the Auckland Writers Festival, Wellington’s Circa Theatre, the New Zealand Arts Foundation (Peter is a Trustee), Featherston Booktown (Peter is Chair and Mary is a Board member), the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra (Peter is a Board member), the Featherston Sculpture Trust and the Kokomai Arts Festival in the Wairarapa.

    Peter was Chair of Creative New Zealand from 1999 - 2006. He led the Cultural Philanthropy Taskforce in 2010 and the New Zealand Professional Orchestra Sector Review in 2012. Peter was appointed a Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit for arts governance and philanthropy in 2013.

    Peter was appointed a Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit (CNZM) in 2013 for services to philanthropy and arts governance.

    He has a first class honours degree in English Literature and Latin from Victoria University of Wellington.

  • Elected 2013

    Gavin Bishop ONZM

    Gavin Bishop (Ngāti Pūkeko, Ngāti Mahuta, Pākehā) is a children’s writer of international as well as local reputation. As a picture book author and artist he has published over 50 books that have been translated into eight languages and won numerous awards. He has also written the libretti for two children’s ballets for the Royal New Zealand Ballet.
    Gavin is a founding member of the Te Tai Tamariki Trust for the Preservation of New Zealand Children’s Literature, established in Christchurch in 2006. In 2009 the Storylines Gavin Bishop Award for Illustration was established by Random House.

  • Elected 2013

    Brian Steele

    Brian is the Executive Director of Shoreline Partners Ltd which provides Corporate Finance, Strategic Planning and Governance services. He worked in Central and Western Europe and Asia before returning to Aotearoa in 1999.
    Brian studied Arts (English Literature) and Business at Victoria University, Wellington. He serves on a number of company boards whose focus includes film technology, iwi, education and fundraising. He is a recently retired cricketer and a keen supporter of Aotearoa theatre. He enjoys reading and exploring cultures new to him.

  • Elected 2013

    Mark Fairey

    Mark Fairey is Executive Director of Moneda Consulting Limited, a consultancy providing Business Advisory and Accounting services to small and medium sized businesses. Mark has a diverse background, working in senior management and finance roles with companies in the energy, technology, primary and investment areas.

    Most recently Mark was Corporate Services Manager at Workbridge Inc, a not for profit organisation providing an employment service for disabled people and people with health issues.

    Mark has a Bachelor of Commerce and Administration from Victoria University of Wellington, is a Chartered Accountant and has completed the Advance Management Programme at Melbourne Business School.

  • Elected 2019

    Nadine Anne Hura

    Nadine Anne Hura (Ngāpuhi, Ngāti Hine) is a creative non-fiction writer and poet based in Porirua. Her essays have appeared in e-Tangata, The Spinoff, Pantograph Punch and in print in a number of collections including Ora Nui, Sport, Huia Short Stories, We Are Here, and The Best of E-Tangata. Nadine’s manuscript of essays was selected by the Māori Literature Trust for the Te Papa Tupu mentorship programme in 2018, and the same year she was awarded a Michael King Writer’s Residency. She is a member of the board of Te Hā Māori Writers’ collective and is a passionate advocate for new and emerging Māori writers. Nadine joined the Board of Te Muramura in 2018 enthusiastic to support the ongoing work to grow and nurture a nation of readers. Nadine has three children and is a member of Te Ataarangi ki Te Upoko o Te Ika.

  • Elected 2021

    Jordan Hamel

    Jordan Hamel is a Pōneke-based writer, performer and public servant. He was the 2018 New Zealand Poetry Slam champion and represented NZ at the World Poetry Slam Championships in the US in 2019. He is the co-editor of Stasis Journal and co-editor of a forthcoming NZ Climate Change Poetry Anthology from Auckland University Press.

    He was awarded a 2021 Michael King Writer's Residency and has taught poetry and performance across Aotearoa.

  • Elected 2021

    Catriona Ferguson

    Catriona Ferguson is the Director of the Publishers Association of New Zealand Te Rau o Tākupu representing book, educational and digital publishers. Catriona moved to Aotearoa in 2003 having worked in a number of book related roles, including as a bookseller, a literature development officer and Literature Officer with the British Council. Here in Aotearoa, Catriona has also worked in the literature sector, including as Chief Executive of the NZ Book Council and Literature Adviser for Creative New Zealand. Catriona is a Board member of the Coalition for Books, an enthusiastic reader and a regular book reviewer on RNZ’s Nine to Noon book slot. She is also a passionate advocate for the power of books and reading to change lives.

  • Elected 2021

    Willow Sainsbury

    Willow Sainsbury worked as an educational psychologist in Naenae, Taita and Stokes Valley for four years. She was first based at Avalon Intermediate with the Resource Teachers for Learning and Behaviour, before moving to the Severe Behaviour team at the Ministry of Education in Lower Hutt. Willow has a number of degrees from different fields from both national and international universities. She is currently completing her doctorate in educational psychology with Victoria University. Her interests include dyslexia and co-occurring diagnoses that tamariki and whānau face in Aotearoa.

    Willow holds board positions in a range of sectors, specialising in community engagement, education, strategic planning, art curatorship, and philanthropy. Willow has carried out research across multiple disciplines including public health, psychology, and museum ethnography. She has lived and worked in Princeton (USA), Oxford (UK), Melbourne (Australia), Vicenza (Italy), and Dunedin (Ōtepoti), before moving to Wellington (Te Whanganui-a-Tara) in 2016.

  • Elected 2021

    Laurinda Thomas

    Laurinda Thomas is the Libraries and Community Spaces Manager at Wellington City Council. Laurinda has worked across the libraries and information field for more than 20 years, holding positions across both the private and public sector. She is a former President of the Library and Information Association of New Zealand and lifelong advocate for the transformative power of libraries, speaking at TEDxWellington in 2016. She also sits on the boards of the Digital Inclusion Alliance Aotearoa and the Aurora Foundation in Australia, who specialise in leadership development for librarians across Australasia.

    She has a BA in English from Massey University, and a Masters in Library and Information Studies from Victoria University of Wellington.