AGM Minutes

Thanks to everyone who joined us for the AGM last week. There’s was some great discussion around ways we can support members in the next year, and the Core is looking forward to getting stuck into those projects.

Here are the minutes from the meeting, for those who couldn’t make it. If you have more ideas for what you would like to see SpecFicNZ do in the coming year, don’t be shy! Let us know.


30 September 2020



Present: Piper Mejia, Gary Nelson, Mat Danaher, Brandi Dixon, Brendan Smith, Courtney Schafer, Grace Bridges, Sean Monaghan, Kura Carpenter, Andi, Amber, Tait Oliver, Marie Hodgkinson, Debbie Howell, Cassie, Kat Oliver, Robinne Weiss


Membership Report:

Membership stands at 131 total members: 113 regular members, 17 student/beneficiary members, and 1 life member. Net change for 2020 is +39.


Treasurer’s Report:

Financial year 1 Sept 2019 – 31 Aug 2020

We began the year with $5537.35 combined in the SpecFicNZ Kiwibank and Paypal accounts, took in $3,422.88 in membership payments, and had a year of minimal expenses ($250 for speaker fee for Jamie Sands workshop, $240 paid for manuscript assessments, $50.49 in web hosting fees, and $1.20 in transaction fees). The funds for the Wright-Murray residency were received and disbursed to the residency recipient. As of 31 Aug 2020 we have $8418.54 in combined assets, and no liabilities. 


The treasurer’s report was approved by members.


Wright-Murray Residency Update:

The residency attracted a good number of high-quality applications and the judges selected Matt Norman of Christchurch as the winner. Matt will be spending a week at a villa in the Bay of Plenty to work on his YA fantasy novel, Dark Days. He has received support for his travel which he intends to complete in the near future. The remaining finalists were invited to apply for a free manuscript assessment through SpecFicNZ and some have done so.


Minutes from 2019 AGM:

Minutes were distributed before the meeting and approved by members.


Election of Core members:


The following Core members were approved by the members for 2020/2021:

President–Grace Bridges

Treasurer–Courtney Schafer

Secretary–Robinne Weiss

General committee members:

Mat Danaher (web)

Serena Dawson

Kura Carpenter

Tait Oliver (business development)

Gary Nelson (web/social media)

Debbie Howell


Thanks was given to Sean and Brandi for their work on the core. They have both stepped down from the role.


Digital Library Update:

Kat Oliver has sent a proposal for her completion of the setup phase, after which the site will be ready for immediate data entry. We will be nailing down the details of her contract for this work, probably in the next week or so, and then it can begin. Data entry will be easy, and Kat will write up instructions so anyone can do it in future. We are looking at hiring Eli Ponder for the initial batch, contract details also to be confirmed.


We’ll be looking at ways to use new entries in newsletters sent out to bookshops, schools, libraries, and media. Everyone is encouraged to add themselves and their books to the database using the links at:


Catalogue setup will take a month or so, followed by another month or more of data entry in order to catch up with everyone’s backlists. Depending on how many are coming in on a regular basis, catalogues may be sent out quarterly in digital format, and possibly print, if we deem it beneficial.


Anthology Update:

The core is looking at doing another anthology, learning from what worked and didn’t last time. Brandi Dixon volunteered to help as an editor. Authors for the anthologies are paid. It was suggested that we consider paying the editors, too, since it is a lot of work.


There was discussion around marketing and having a business plan for the new anthology in order to get more benefit from it (greater readership, more sales, etc). The subcommittee working on the anthology will look closely at how to improve marketing, and has already begun work on a business plan.


It was suggested that we consider giving all members a digital copy of the anthology as a membership benefit.


It was also suggested that professional development opportunities should be higher priority for the organisation’s funds than an anthology. It was then noted that we have sufficient funds to pursue both.


Other Uses of Organisational Funds:

Several ideas were suggested for the new core to consider in the coming year. They include:

  1. Paying for international online workshops, or getting bulk discounts on international classes/workshops (eg. Cat Rambo’s classes)
  2. A workshop on accounting/bookkeeping  for writers, given by an accountant
  3. A writer-focused tax workshop 
  4. Printing discounts with local printers for members
  5. Monthly webinars for members–inviting a different member (or others) each time to talk about their area of expertise (like Jamie Sands did Agile workshop)
  6. Workshops on how to present your knowledge to other people in a way that is accessible


It was suggested we ask members what they’d like to upskill on, to get ideas for what professional development to offer.


It was also suggested we make one workshop free every quarter or so, to draw people in to become members.


Everyone was encouraged to send ideas to the committee at any time as they think of things they’d like SpecFicNZ to do.


Future Natcons:

As far as we know, no one has stood up to run a natcon in 2021 or 2022.


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