Featured Members

Abby Aitcheson, Upstart Press

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Name: Abby Aitcheson
Role: Commissioning Editor
Company: Upstart Press

My first job in publishing was: Editorial Assistant at PQ Blackwell (now Blackwell & Ruth). Glam books, gorgeous people – it made me feel pretty cool.

I’m currently reading: Vernon Subutex 1 by Virginie Despentes. I just finished Greta & Valdin and I can’t stop thinking about it. Ridiculously good!

My biggest career highlight in publishing has been: Afraid I’m going to have to do some name-dropping here… Receiving handwritten letters from childhood hero Jack Lasenby. Or having a kiki with Witi Ihimaera. Or when Dame Lynley Dodd agreed with me that an en dash would work better than a comma. Cheers, PRH! More recently: becoming a commissioning editor and getting the opportunity to champion new authors for Upstart Press. It’s an honour.

Krysana Hanley, Allen & Unwin New Zealand

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Name: Krysana Hanley
Sales, Marketing and Publicity Assistant
Allen & Unwin

My first job in publishing was: Working as a part-time production assistant for Roger Steele at Steele Roberts Aotearoa. I would go out to Petone on Fridays and do anything that needed to be done. From proof reading to laying out internals in InDesign, those Fridays were my first glimpses into how te ao pukapuka works behind the scenes.

I’m currently reading: Auē by Becky Manawatu. I’m about a third of the way through and loving it.

My biggest career highlight in publishing has been: When you’re so new to the industry, everything feels like a highlight! But being able to work with the incredible team at Allen & Unwin so soon after finishing my Graduate Diploma in Publishing at Whitireia is definitely at the top. I did one of my two-week placements with them in October last year and felt so welcome when I returned to work for them in April.


Jasmine Sargent, Victoria University Press

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Name: Jasmine Sargent
Role: Editor
Company: Victoria University Press

My first job in publishing was: Publishing Assistant at Te Papa Press. I was studying publishing at Whitireia at the time — I couldn’t have hoped for a better introduction to the industry, and I love the Te Papa Press team.

I’m currently reading: Kim Jiyoung, Born 1982. It’s a novel about gender discrimination in Korean society, written by South Korean author Cho Nam-Joo.

My biggest career highlight in publishing has been: I’ve got a pretty recent one! Airini Beautrais’ short story collection Bug Week just won the Jann Medlicott Acorn Prize for Fiction at the 2021 Ockhams, and I was the lucky editor. Airini is brilliant to work with, and the editorial process was especially memorable because it happened during lockdown last year.

Holly Hunter, HarperCollins NZ

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Holly pictured at Lake Windermere in the Lake District. The village in the northeast corner of the lake is William Wordsworth’s stomping ground.

Name: Holly Hunter
Role: Commissioning editor
Company: HarperCollins NZ

My first job in publishing was: As a Whitirea graduate intern at Victoria University Press, where I continued to work as editor for a couple of years.

I’m currently reading: Unsheltered by Claire Moleta. It’s un-put-downable and so well crafted — can someone make this into a miniseries, please? I’m also pacing my way through an enormous mic-drop of a poetry collection, A Sand Book by Ariana Reines.

My biggest career highlight in publishing has been: There have been lots of highlights. One is working on the UK publication and campaign for The Uninhabitable Earth by David Wallace-Wells while in my last job as an assistant editor for Penguin Press in London. I remember the mood during the covers meeting in 2018: as much as everyone was behind the manuscript, there was a fear that any design treatment that said ‘climate change’ would doom the book — that’s how unsexy climate change was in publishing just three years ago.

And then somehow (well, thanks Greta), in the months around publication, the book rode a wave of perfect timing. Countries started declaring climate emergencies, phrasing switched from climate change to climate crisis, news sites dedicated whole sections to the subject, people took to the streets. And the book shot up the charts — an unknown ‘climate intellectual’ had met the bestseller ranks of Naomi Klein and Al Gore. The Guardian called it ‘an epoch-defining book’.

At the Extinction Rebellion protests in April 2019, which blocked arterial routes like Waterloo Bridge, Oxford Circus and Marble Arch, I saw multiple signs in person and in articles online that referenced parts of the book: the dead bee on the cover and the strapline, ‘It is worse, much worse, than you think.’ Marketing colleagues gave free copies of the book to protestors. The publicity kept on rolling. There were a lot of rockstar moments while working at Press, but there was something special about helping publish a book that became a part of a movement I believe in. Two-and-a-half years from then, you can’t move in a bookshop for climate books!

Emma McIlroy, Gecko Press

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Name: Emma McIlroy
Company: Gecko Press

What has been a highlight so far?  A (few) highlights for me have been meeting authors and chatting with them, getting to look at books from around the world and consider them for acquisition, and working in a small team where I get to pitch in on most things. Also, sometimes cute babies come into the office and we get to give them books. Circe by Madeline Miller.

What has been a challenge? A challenge has been that because it’s a small team where I get to pitch in on most things, there’s been a lot to learn, from bigger processes like setting up a book and its metadata to smaller processes like sending websales and that can be pretty exhausting, although satisfying once I’ve got the hang of it.

How have you found “real world” publishing different from the expectations you had while on your course? I would have to say that actually the course and especially the work placements gave me a pretty good idea of ‘real world’ publishing, and what happens in a publishing house on a day-to-day level.

What are you reading at the moment? I’m one of those people that reads more than one book at a time, although not in the same genre, so here are the books I am currently reading, all of which I am thoroughly enjoying: Imagining Decolonisation for a bit of non-fiction, My Salinger Year by Joanna Rakoff for a bit of fiction (reading this on the Libby app, I am obsessed with how easy and good it is and getting books from the library that way!) and I am in Bed with You by Emma Barnes for a bit of poetry.

Lauren Donald, Auckland University Press

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Name: Lauren Donald
Company: Auckland University Press

Since starting your internship…  I’ve sustained three paper cuts, become best friends with our local courier and found myself interested in all sorts of new topics.

What has been a highlight so far?  AUP’s mahi around the Kotahi Rau Pukapuka titles and weekly te reo lessons have really helped build my confidence in using Māori every day. It’s definitely a highlight to be more at ease with the language and to be genuinely excited about learning more.

What has been a challenge? There’s no avoiding Excel. I’ve come to terms with the fact that it’s about time I learned what a pivot table is.

How have you found “real world” publishing different from the expectations you had while on your course? ‘Real world’ publishing is the more complex older sibling to the work we did at Whitireia. I’ve been really interested to see how far into the future the team is working, and how many different books are on the go at once. There are so many overlaps in timelines and projects that it really makes you appreciate the people who are holding on to all the strings!

What are you reading at the moment? I’ve just finished Where We Swim by Ingrid Horrocks, and now I’m picking up Circe by Madeline Miller.

Claudia Palmer, Huia Publishers

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Name: Claudia Palmer (Te Rarawa, Te Aupōuri)
Company: Huia Publishers

What has been a highlight so far?
Definitely the people – the team at HUIA are super passionate about what they do, and everyone brings a fun and supportive energy to the office. I also love the work – getting to market books I would want to buy myself is a bit of a dream.

What has been a challenge?
I’ve probably got the best kind of challenge: being very busy. There are a lot of moving parts to learn, and there is new work coming in all the time. But I like to hit the ground running, so I’m enjoying it.

How have you found “real world” publishing different from the expectations you had while on your course?
The course offers two two-week work placements, which are a real highlight, and I happened to do one of mine at HUIA. So, stepping into the internship, I already knew the team and the work environment, and luckily, I got to skip the first-day nerves!

What are you reading at the moment?
The Liminal Space by Jacquie McRae. It’s immersive and beautifully written. In a small book, she captures the complexity of human nature in four very different characters. It’s a great read.

Andrea Tamatea, ESA Publications

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Name: Andrea Tamatea
Operations Manager
Company: ESA Publications (NZ) Ltd (subsidiary of The Open Polytechnic of NZ)

My first job in publishing was: Customer Service & Data Entry in 2004.

I’m currently reading: The COVID-19 has been a great chance to catchup on some reading again, first I re-read the whole Harry Potter series and now I’ve got my nose stuck in Becoming by Michele Obama.

My biggest career highlight in publishing has been: Getting an unexpected phone call from the Chairman of the Board and being offered the Operations Manager role when Mark Sayes retired and sold the business to The Open Polytechnic of NZ in 2017.

Laura Hewson, Otago University Press

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Name: Laura Hewson
Role: Publicity & Marketing Co-ordinator
Company: Otago University Press

My first job in publishing was: Working as a sub-editor at The Dominion (now The Dominion Post) in Wellington.

I’m currently reading: Way too many things. But I’m particularly enjoying The Absolute Book by Elizabeth Knox.

My biggest career highlight in publishing has been: Working for OUP. I loved my time working for magazines in Australia but books will always be number one for me.

Anne de Lautour, PANZ Life Member

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Name: Anne de Lautour, Former Association Director, PANZ 2007 – 2017

Brief publishing career history: My career in publishing covers a few decades and varied roles including time in sales for Benton Ross, Penguin, Scholastic and Hachette. I was also Publisher for Scholastic after Graham Beattie retired from the role.

Biggest career highlight: NZ being Guest of Honour at the Frankfurt Book Fair in 2012 was an unforgettable achievement on a grand scale for showcasing our publishing and our authors to the world. I’m so thrilled to have worked on this project. I’ve also enjoyed my involvement with the PANZ Book Design Awards, a favourite project of mine, and seeing the increased profile and continued success of these important awards.

What are you doing now:  I now live in Thames, Coromandel and am currently a Comment Moderator working on Australian newspapers for Pagemasters, a division of Australian Associated Press.