Skip to main content

Featured Members

Debra Millar, Point Publishing

By Featured Members

Name:  Debra Millar
Role:  Owner/publisher
Company:  Point Publishing Limited

My first job in publishing was… I joined Annabel Langbein Media in 2009 after working for 20 years as a journalist and then magazine publisher with ACP Magazines (now Bauer Media), so I was definitely a latecomer to books. It was a thrilling time to enter the book trade as Annabel was embarking on filming her first TV series, The Free Range Cook.

I managed the publication of the cookbook that accompanied the TV series and helped to set up some international rights sales. That book still ranks as the number one-selling New Zealand title through BookScan.


I’m currently reading… I am writing and publishing an illustrated history of my suburb, Point Chevalier, next year and my reading currently centres around that project. I’m reading Halfway Round the Harbour, the autobiography of historian and writer Sir Keith Sinclair, published in 1993. I intended to read only the early chapters relating to Sir Keith’s childhood years in Point Chevalier, but I’ve found it impossible to put down. He had a big life and he writes with great warmth and humour.

My biggest career highlight so far was… Joining Penguin Books in 2010 as General Manager of Publishing. I took over from Geoff Walker, who had been with Penguin for 25 years and published some of the country’s most important books to this day. Given I had amassed just 18 months of book publishing experience, it was daunting. But I like to think my journalistic instincts and nose for a great story stood me in good stead. I’ve felt incredibly privileged to share the life stories of some immensely private people, including most recently the basketballer Steven Adams, which was a four-year quest.

Sarah Yankelowitz

Sarah Yankelowitz, Penguin Random House NZ

By Featured Members

Sarah YankelowitzName: Sarah Yankelowitz
Role: Project Editor
Company: Penguin Random House New Zealand

My first job in publishing was… While I was studying at Whitireia, I’d hop across to Gecko Press a couple of afternoons each week to help process and pack their online orders. That was the beginning of my collection of enchanting children’s books. My favourite is still Shaun Tan’s The Arrival. My first full-time publishing job started with a six-month internship at Penguin Random House New Zealand (thanks to PANZ and Creative New Zealand for funding those internships!). With a little bit of luck, that internship turned into the role I’m in now. This is my third year at PRHNZ and I feel really lucky to be part of the small, tight-knit team that produces all of the local PRH books.

I’m currently reading… I’ve got A Ladder to the Sky by John Boyne on my bedside table (at the top of the stack, at any rate). I’ve been assured it is as good as The Heart’s Invisible Furies but I’ve definitely been procrastinating starting it because I loved Furies so much. The other book I’m reading at the moment is Manhattan Beach by Jennifer Egan, which was recommended to me by one of our in-house designers, Rachel Clark. It’s the sort of historical thriller that I wouldn’t normally gravitate towards but I’m completely hooked and finding it hard to put down when I really should be nodding off to sleep.

My biggest career highlight so far was…  Working with the legendary Gavin Bishop on his landmark Aotearoa: The New Zealand Story has been a definite highlight. The production process was wonderfully creative and involved long phone conversations back and forth with Gavin trying to get each page just right. The other book that was a real tick off the old bucket list was the graphic novel Helen and the Go-Go Ninjas. Ant Sang and Michael Bennett are the absolute best to work with.

Photo of Don Long

Don Long, Lift Education E Tu

By Featured Members

Photo of Don LongName: Don Long
Role: Publisher
Company: Lift Education E Tu

My first job in publishing was… Co-editing Edge, a New Zealand-based international literary journal. We published New Zealand writers such as James K. Baxter, Ian Wedde, and Bill Manhire beside overseas writers such as Margaret Atwood, Ursula K. Le Guin, and Jorge Luis Borges. Richard Ford, the Pulitzer Prize-winning writer, for example, had his first publication anywhere in Edge. Edge later morphed into Into the World of Light and Te Ao Marama, but that’s another story.

I’m currently reading… Inspired by a recent article in The New Yorker, I’m currently reading a range of children’s books and books for teenagers about the Holocaust. The Devil’s Arithmetic has me spell-bound. I’m reading this beside the French novel HHhH — for contrast. For a long time, writers of children’s books and books for young adults steered clear of this topic. These books leave me thinking that we have a similar no-go area in our literature for young people – stories written from the point-of-view of young Maori who were on the receiving end of violence and displacement during the early years of colonialism and then during the Land Wars.

My biggest career highlight so far was… Editing Into the World of Light and then the five volumes of Te Ao Marama with Witi Ihimaera. Up to that point, New Zealand literature had seemed very Eurocentric. Witi and I set out in those six anthologies to change that. And learning te reo Maori – a completely different sense of what New Zealand literature is immediately comes into view. The interconnected worlds of publishing, bookselling, book awards, book reviewing, and so on still haven’t really caught up with what New Zealand literature actually is. Much less the fascinating things being written in our other languages, such as in gagana Tokelau. The tyranny of monolingualism and the shallowness of sticking (by-in-large) with English … yet there is so much more.

Pictured left to right Sophia Egan-Reid, Hayley King, Malcolm Clarke, Evelyn Tobin

Sophia Egan-Reid, Mary Egan Publishing

By Featured Members


Pictured left to right Sophia Egan-Reid, Hayley King, Malcolm Clarke, Evelyn Tobin

L-R: Sophia Egan-Reid, Hayley King, Malcolm Clarke, Evelyn Tobin

Name: Sophia Egan-Reid
Role: Publisher
Company: Mary Egan Publishing

My first job in publishing was: Cleaning the office of my parents’ publishing services business at 15 years old. Since then I have been an office manager, accounts person, marketing assistant, project manager and publisher as the publishing companies evolved.

I’m currently reading: Baby by Annaleese Jochems (It’s so intense!)

My biggest career highlight in publishing was: That’s like asking a mother to choose which child is her favourite! But if I had to choose . . .  It would be working with author Malcolm Clarke, artist Hayley King (a.k.a. Flox) and my sister Anna, in publishing Tu Meke Tūī!.

I met Malcolm by chance in a bar and he was talking about a children’s book he’d written that was going to be illustrated by Flox, all he needed was a publisher, it was meant to be! I had been a huge fan of Flox’s work since I was a teen, and as any New Zealander, adore our beautiful flora and fauna. The whole project was like a dream come true. Tu Meke Tūī! has since gone on to sell 13,000 copies and we have published it in hardback, paperback, and in Te Reo. We were ecstatic to win the Wright Family Foundation Te Kura Pounamu Award for the best book in te reo Māori at the 2018 New Zealand Book Awards for Children and Young Adults.

Tu Meke Tūī! was also the catalyst for my sister Anna and I to start our own imprint, Little Love, which is all about publishing beautiful children’s books, written and/or illustrated by New Zealand artists.

Keryn Modricker, Wendy Pye Publishing / Sunshine Books

By Featured Members

Name: Keryn Modricker
Role: Production Co-ordinator (jack-of-all-trades)
Company: Wendy Pye Publishing Ltd/Sunshine Books

My first job in publishing was: As above (12.5 years on!) but my role has grown in more ways than I would have ever expected and I enjoy working closely with every department and member of our team (locally and internationally).

I’m currently readingIris Grace by Arabella Carter-Johnson. I’ve stopped and started this book in between reading others because it’s a book I don’t want to finish. It’s charming, beautiful and uplifting.

My biggest career highlight in publishing was: I must admit there hasn’t been one definitive highlight (yet) because of the diversity of the (many, many) projects I have worked on. I’m simply proud that we’re working toward educating a more literate generation, teaching children to read, and using the tools/technology/experience available to us.

Sophie Siers, Millwood Press

By Featured Members

Name: Sophie Siers
Role: Everything!
Company: Millwood Press

My first job in publishing was… I think I was packing books for my parents before I was 10!  They had a building in Buckle Street that we use to go to after school and do odd jobs.  After they moved Tinakori Road, where they set up Millwood Gallery as the front section of Millwood Press, I was cheap labour for all activities!  Packing, ordering, dispatch, shop, sales, banking, framing and deliveries – there were lots to London Bookshop! I did all the deliveries in my grandfather’s very racy red Toyota E20 (I wish I had kept that!).  I even used to travel to Hong Kong with my mother to check the printing.

I’m currently reading… I read lots at once, I always have a stack of picture books beside my bed for research, the library must think I have 20 small children! Always some YA usually fantasy / sci-fi to keep up with what teenagers are thinking and something for me for when I’m awake enough to remember what I’ve read.  I’ve just picked up Lincoln in the Bardo by George Saunders on recommendation from Charlotte, one of the lovely publishers I met at the PANZ conference.

My biggest career highlight in publishing was...It’s right now with my co-edition of Dear Donald Trump, a children’s book I’ve produced with publishers from Italy, Belgium and French Canada.  It only happened through the generosity of publishers I met through PANZ.  First Julia Marshall from Gecko who offered to mentor me and got me up and running for my first Frankfurt, then Kevin Chapman who took over from Julia to help me put together the co-edition (do you ever sleep Kevin? You answered the phone any time I called you day or night!), to Peter Dowling who made sure the book was sold in South America (just sold to Mexico and Brazil) and all the other publishers who answered my seemingly unending questions – what generous people you all are. Many thanks to you all.

Photo of Waimatua Morris

Waimatua Morris, Huia Publishers

By Featured Members

Photo of Waimatua MorrisName: Waimatua Morris
Role: Sales and Marketing Manager
Company: Huia Publishers

My first job in publishing was… I did a small stint at Huia in the summer of 2003 while studying at university but my first proper job in publishing was in 2014 as the Production Manager at Huia. In January this year, I was promoted to Sales and Marketing Manager.

I’m currently reading… I usually have a few books on the go, moving between non-fiction and fiction, to balance intellectually stimulating stories with easy-to-read stories that I can get lost in and forget about everything else. I recently read The Husband’s Secret by Liane Moriarty. This book was easy to read and full of drama and suspense.

I found the perfect ‘meditation hack’ book for those wanting to practice mindfulness everyday but don’t really know how to. The Daily Stoic by Ryan Holiday and Stephen Hanselman has 366 meditations – one for every day of the year! It’s the perfect solution for my failed New Year’s resolution.

I’ve started reading Legacy, an upcoming Huia title by Whiti Hereaka. This is a timeslip YA novel about seventeen-year-old Riki who is hit by a bus and suddenly finds himself serving as his great-great-grandfather in the Māori contingent in Egypt, in 1915. The novel also takes you back to read transcripts of interviews Riki’s great-grandfather gave in 1975 about his experience in this war. This story has a great pace, is humorous and easy to read. I’m looking forward to getting further through this story.

My biggest career highlight in publishing to date… The Pikihuia Awards, a biennial writing competition Huia organise on behalf of the Māori Literature Trust. The awards provide an opportunity for Māori writers to practice their craft and be recognised for it. My role specifically was around promoting the competition and helping with organising the awards event. It is a fun evening to celebrate with the writers, their whānau and friends. I learnt a long time ago that for work to be enjoyable, it has to be meaningful and for work to be meaningful, I needed to make a positive contribution to something bigger than myself. Working at Huia makes this possible.

August to April: the gestation of Massey University Press

By Featured Members

masseyUniversity press

In late August 2015, Massey University Press began with a single employee: respected former Random House New Zealand publishing director Nicola Legat.

When Professor Glyn Harper, the historian who chairs the Press’s editorial board, announced her appointment, he said “With Nicola, we are in excellent hands … (Her) appointment as publisher is a strong signal that the Press is a serious venture and will be a force in New Zealand book publishing.”

So, big expectations and a big job: build a new publishing house from scratch! Nicola regards the challenge as “professionally enormously exciting. It’s no small thing for a university to set up a Press in these difficult times. They have invested a great deal of trust in me and I fully intend to earn that trust.”
Nicola has hired former Random House project editor Kimberley Davis as managing editor – a part time role for now – and well-known freelance book publicist Sarah Thornton will handle all the publicity for the list. David Bateman Ltd is handling sales and distribution.  A new website will launch Thursday March 17.

Ten books are scheduled for publication in 2016, the first being the April release of Experience of a Lifetime, another volume in the very active Centenary History Programme publishing enterprise. Nicola describes its 16 chapters as an interrogation of the traditional narrative of the First World War as a total disaster and a waste of millions of young lives.

Oratia Books: reaching globally from the Waitakeres

By Featured Members, News

Oratia media teamBetween them the Oratia Media publishing team have seven languages – Japanese, French, Italian, Portuguese, Spanish and te reo Māori as well as English – so it is no wonder their publishing is reaching both New Zealand and world markets.

Oratia Books has a place to stand in the hills of the area’s West Coast Road on their own acre and a quarter with home and office surrounded by native forest. Their publishing reflects West Auckland too – three recent titles and a fourth in production are all firmly grounded in the Waitakeres. Voices from the Surf, 80 years of Karekare surf lifesaving history, events and recollections edited by Sir Bob Harvey was a highlight for the company last Christmas.

However, the Oratia tūrangawaewae had unlikely beginnings: when Cantabrian Peter Dowling and North Italian native Alessandra Zecchini met it was in England where she was an art student and he was working for a business publishing house in Surrey. Next move was to Tokyo where Alessandra taught Italian and Peter worked for a small Japanese English-language publisher and for Kodansha International. Back in New Zealand in 1997, Peter joined Reed Publishing (NZ) and became publishing manager over a ten-year stint.

Oratia Media became an entity in 2000 under the management of Alessandra until Peter went full-time with the company eight years ago, joined part-time by erstwhile Reed managing editor Carolyn Lagahetau (a children’s and non-fiction specialist).

Oratia’s team – today Alessandra, Peter, editorial director Carolyn and sales & marketing consultant Belinda Cooke – took time to review their business and imprints in mid-2015. Out of this process their Libro International brand has now been absorbed under a new imprint, Oratia Books. “We realised the brand belongs here and can encompass both our own titles and those we publish for third parties,” Peter explains.

Alessandra’s distinctive nikau palm graphic has now been updated, either standing alone or with the strapline ‘Quality books, media and publishing services’. Long-oratialogostanding design partner Cheryl Smith of Macarn Design created the new logo suite.

Website visitors will find the fresh new look at The site offers interactivity with mobile devices and – a drum roll for this essential – will add an e-commerce facility in early April.

“Belinda guided us through the rethink,” says Alessandra. “She had the advantage of being distant from the day-to-day work, and her marketing knowledge was invaluable.” The strategic review involved getting feedback from authors, booksellers and others in the book trade. “It was gratifying that people took time out to offer constructive criticism,” adds Peter. “Some of the comment was that we at Oratia were too retiring and should be more out there!”

But frankly, Peter is more “out there” than many New Zealand publishers. He has attended the Frankfurt Book Fair every year since 2010, selling children’s and non-fiction titles to and occasionally buying rights for books he thinks will suit NZ and other markets where the company has a presence. Peter went to TIBE in Taipei in 2014 and 2015. With the relaunch in full swing he missed this year, but intends to return in 2017. He also travelled instead to Mexico’s Guadalajara International Book Fair last November, coming away with a favourable opinion of Latin American publishing values. “We’ve taken inspiration from some beautiful Mexican children’s books in how we’ll be approaching our own picture books” Peter days.

Oratia’s own children’s books do well as exports, New Zealand bestsellers Dawn McMIllan and Ross Kinnaird have secured rights deals in major markets such as the US and China, and are steady sellers through European and North American distributors.

Nuts and bolts stuff is already emerging from the Oratia think tank (which Belinda officially joined part-time last December). They have a five-year publishing programme ahead, beginning with ten new Oratia titles for 2016, alongside a similar number of commissioned book projects for clients.

With a deft hand the team have rebranded Oratia as a thoroughly modern publishing house, and one that is expanding. “We see positivity in the New Zealand book market and we intend to deliver quality books, media and publishing service for clients, readers and writers everywhere,” Belinda promises.

The 2016 Oratia catalogue is out mid-April. It features new editions of major histories like Christopher Pugsley’s The Anzac Experience, recounting how Kiwi, Aussie and Canadian troops were forged from civilians into remarkable soldiers in the Great War, and Don Stafford’s magnificent Te Arawa: A History of the Arawa People.

There is a strong commitment at Oratia to tell Māori stories – Peter’s even gone back to class to improve his te Reo this year! Three of this year’s children’s titles will be bilingual or with strong te Reo content, and Peter has revised A.W. Reed’s classic Māori Place Names for publication during Māori Language Week this July.

“We’re actively commissioning and picking up a lot of interest since the relaunch, so 2016 promises much,” Peter concludes. The view from the Waitakere foothills across the nīkau and kahikatea is looking bright.

Epsom to Estonia: Calico Publishing is a Kiwi imprint with international reach

By Featured Members

In today’s world of publishing you have to be nimble and flexible,’ says Calico Director Linda Cassells. Since starting her company 13 years ago, Linda marvels at the way the company has evolved from offering publishing and project management services, to developing new books under the Calico imprint, and offering publishing advice as well as rights management services. ‘Our books focus on health and well-being, but they have key things in common: they are niche, they are international, and they backlist well.’

Linda’s core skills are in manuscript development and structural editing. ‘I love working closely with authors.’ Today she not only edits her own titles but provides an advisory service to companies and individuals wanting to self-publish, something there has been a surge of interest in recently with the departure of many publishing companies from New Zealand.

There is yet another arrow in the Calico quiver: Linda represents Calico and other small Kiwi publishers on the NZ stand at Frankfurt Book Fair each October, with many successes. ‘2016 will be my eighth year on the New Zealand stand at Frankfurt, and I already have inquiries from other publishers for this year’s fair.’ It is a process which works for everyone – Linda can target possible rights buyers for all the New Zealand titles she represents, while authors and other publishers gain affordable access to a wide network of international contacts.Calico also undertakes full rights management for a select number of clients.

Dealing Daily with Dementia-Front-CoverCurrently she is negotiating several translation rights to Calico’s Dealing Daily with Dementia by Angela Caughey, which has already been published in German. ‘A publisher from Estonia came on to the NZ stand and made straight for the title. After looking at it, she said the book was just what was needed in her market. I was able to send her the materials before leaving Frankfurt and the deal was done within two weeks of returning to New Zealand. You could say it was serendipity, but without my commitment to attending Frankfurt every year it would never have happened.’  Another chance conversation resulted in a substantial print run of the dementia book for a medical conference in India. ‘It was a deal done in a matter of days,’ Linda notes.

A book on Parkinson’s disease, Positively Parkinson’s by Ann Andrews, has been published in four different English language territories and continues to sell. One of Calico’s best-selling titles is Chronic Fatigue Syndrome by Dr Rosamund Vallings. ‘It’s certainly not a title that traditional publishers would take on because it is so specialised, but it has worked extremely well for us.’ Last year saw the publication of Deborah Shepard’s journal Giving Yourself to Life, which was well received at last year’s Auckland Writer’s Festival. Calico’s book trade distribution is handled by David Bateman in New Zealand and John Reed in Australia. Their books are also sold directly from their website to customers all over the world. ‘Our publishing list is small, but each book keeps selling, and it’s amazing how far you can reach from a small office in Auckland.’

There are many facets to Calico’s business – publishing, author guidance and advice, rights management – but they feed seamlessly into each other. ‘I love the Positively Parkinsons-Front-Coverinternational nature of what I do. Just this week, a UK health publisher I have had dealings with recommended us to an aspiring Australian author, who is now working with us on their next book.’ Developing manuscripts and books directly with authors who wish to self-publish has been a growth area over the last year and will be a focus for Calico in 2016.

Being able to adapt and respond to what is needed in the market has been a key factor in keeping Calico in such healthy shape for the last 13 years. Technology has played a huge role in enabling Calico to stay small and reach wide. ‘The people we work with – publishers, literary agents, authors, distributors, designers and typesetters, publicists, printers, accountants and administrative support – are an integral part of our business, and we have gathered a very competent and loyal team around us over the years.’

So how did Calico Publishing get its name? Turns out it is nothing to do with the cotton fabric – think acronyms: Ca for Cassells, li for Linda and co for company. Her home is her office and her business is anywhere in the world.

‘The biggest investment I make is the time I spend on the books I really believe in,’ Linda told PANZ News.