16 September 2021

Apologies: Grace Bridges, Piper Mejia, Eileen Mueller, and Jill Winfield

Present: Robin Nelson, Kura Carpenter, Deb Howell, Lee Murray, Paul Clark, Sharon Manssen, Jacqui Greaves, Alla Zaykova, Andi Buchanan, Brendan Smith, Courtney Schafer, and Robinne Weiss

2020 AGM Minutes were approved.

Membership Report: 

Membership has increased by 70 since September 2020. This includes 71 new memberships and one cancellation. The majority of new memberships have occurred since January 2021, and are attributed to the virtual workshops.

Membership type20212020
Regular 176113


Treasurer’s Report

Income for 2021 was $10,528.30, and total expenses were $9,362.73. Current assets stand at $8957.05. Details can be found here:

​​https://specfic.nz/the-specficnz-society/agm-minutes-and-financial-reports/2021-financial-reporting/ The financial report for 2021 was approved. The amended financial reports for 2019 and 2020 were also approved (2019 and 2020 membership reports needed to be amended due to an accounting error which meant the money in our PayPal account was accidentally counted twice in 2019, and this error propagated forward to 2020, before being fixed in 2021). 

The organisation is in good financial shape, and is in a good position to continue virtual workshops into 2022 and to produce the upcoming anthology.

Recap of SpecFicNZ Activity 2020-2021

Our activities in the past year have been, and still are, influenced by Covid-19, with no in-person events or workshops. We haven’t been idle, though.

Virtual workshops

We have scheduled 9 2-hour virtual workshops from February to November 2021, and one 2-day workshop in June. The two-day workshop was attended by 53 members. To date, the two-hour workshops have been attended by 141 people. Workshops are free for members, and $10 for non-members. Presenters have been drawn from New Zealand and overseas. We believe the uptick in memberships this year is a direct result of these workshops. Workshop feedback has been quite positive, and we plan to continue virtual workshops in 2022, even after we begin to plan in-person events again. 

If anyone has suggestions for speakers or topics you would like to see covered in a virtual workshop, please let us know. Also, we know that taxes/accounting is a topic many members are eager to see covered in a workshop, but we’ve been unable to find an appropriate presenter for this topic. If you know of anyone who can address this topic, please let us know.


The 2021 anthology project got underway in April, with Grace Bridges and Gary Nelson as editors. Unfortunately, we’ve had a hiccup in our submissions system and had to ask members to re-submit in August, setting our timeline back somewhat. We have had 32 fiction submissions and 2 artwork submissions. Timeline

Wright-Murray Residency

This year, the Wright-Murray Residency attracted an excellent number of high quality applications. The judges selected AJ Ponder of Wellington as the recipient. She will use the residency to work on the first book in her epic fairy tale series, Into Brocéliande, based on the Arthurian realm of magic and inspired by the New Zealand landscape. Shortlisted authors were: Jack Cottrell, Jade Kake, Deb Potter, and Robinne Weiss. They will receive their choice of a free year of membership in SpecFicNZ or assessment support for a short story or excerpt.


Late in 2020, we hired someone to create/input data into a catalogue of members’ books. Although the catalogue is technically finished and the data entered, we’ve encountered problems with its useability. We’re currently looking into options for improving the catalogue in conjunction with website updates.

Member Reviews

We only published 3 reviews of members’ books in the past year. We would like to increase this number, and encourage members to submit their new releases for review. If you would like to be a reviewer, please let us know. It’s a great way to help out your fellow writers, and you get to read cool new books!


  • We purchased a full-page ad in the Kiwis in Print catalogue to promote members’ books.
  • In February, we submitted an application to Creative New Zealand to fund our monthly virtual workshops. This application was not funded, but it led to CNZ contacting us to offer $5000 from their Te Manu Ka Tau international visitor programme to run the two-day workshop in June.

Election of 2021/22 Core members

Stepping down from the Core this year are Grace Bridges and Mat Danaher.

The following people were confirmed as Core members for the upcoming year:

Courtney Schafer

Robinne Weiss

Gary Nelson

Deb Howell

Kirsten McKenzie

Jacqui Greaves

Jill Winfield

Sarah Richardson

Alla Zaykova

Kura Carpenter

Robin Nelson

Plans/ideas for 2021/22

  • Revisit and revise the constitution, operating procedures of the organisation
  • Continue virtual workshops
  • Revamp the website, accounting and membership systems so they are more robust and reliable.
  • Fix the functionality of the catalogue of members’ work.
  • Schedule a few in-person activities (e.g. writing retreat), Covid-willing.

Member suggestions:

  • Connect with the Coalition of NZ Books by becoming an organisational member
  • Letter of thanks to Grace from members
  • Zoom critique sessions


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