In 2011 at an open meeting, mainly attended by members of Tauranga Writers (TW), Jenny Argante proposed that we form a regional branch of the New Zealand Society of Authors (NZSA) in the Bay of Plenty. The region had more than the necessary 40 financial members of NZSA and the National Council approved and supported its formation. A steering group was formed to oversee its establishment and to investigate its relationship to the long-established TW.
In essence, TW (www.taurangawriters.org.nz) now concentrates on developing their members’ writing skills and NZSA BOP caters for those who are already published and want to establish a professional writing career. NZSA BOP and TW are distinct groups, though a significant number of writers are members of both.
NZSA BOP’s inaugural meeting at Baycourt in Durham Street on 2011 elected a branch committee, comprising Bryan Winters as Chair, Cassy Green as Secretary and Ian Clarke as Treasurer. Jenny Argante was appointed interim Regional Delegate to liaise with National Office and represent the Bay of Plenty at National Council.
NZSA BOP includes the whole of the Bay of Plenty, including the Coromandel Peninsula, Rotorua and Taupo and as far as East Cape. Each region and branch has a role to play in providing a forum for branch members to network, sharing their successes and discussing their problems. They can debate the big issues of the day and put forward suggestions for future strategies to CEO Maggie Tarver (pictured left) at National Office, and to National Council through the regional delegate.
The NZSA through its activities, and through regions and branches, plays a huge role in the professional development of writers with mentorship and manuscript assessment schemes, awards, workshops, competitions, and through its advisory services and resources. NZSA has established a national Courage Day to celebrate freedom of speech, and has good relations with many other national organisations such as the Book Council, Publishers Association, Creative New Zealand, Booksellers Association, Copyright Licensing, etc.
As 2011 drew to a close, NZSA BOP also ran what it hopes will be an annual event; the inaugural Memoir & Local History Competition. The entries have been posted in this Tauranga Memories Kete. Click on these links for entrants:
At the first AGM, held on Saturday 14 April 2012, it was decided that future meetings would be held on the third Monday of the month, alternating between Tauranga and other centres in the NZSA BOP region.
Most meetings include a ‘focus session’ where some topic of writing, publishing, etc., is presented and then discussed.
Meetings at NZSA BOP are open to non-members and enquiries can be made by email to firstname.lastname@example.org.