Meet the team

Meet the team behind the local content funding decisions. Here we meet the staff working at NZ On Air to ensure the best local content gets made.

15th March 2018

Executive Assistant to the Chief Executive - Hilaire Carmody

Hilaire Carmody - Executive Assistant to the Chief Executive

Hilaire Carmody is relatively new to the team starting in January 2018 - with the big job of keeping our Chief Executive in line.

How is your job of EA to the CEO different to previous jobs?
I’ve previously been working in the not for profit sector, where we rely on funding to achieve our mission. Sometimes it can be a daunting and relentless task to keep asking for money. It’s great to be on the other side knowing that every day my organisation is helping New Zealanders create the amazing content that they’ve been working hard to make a reality.

What are the biggest challenges in your job?
This role requires a lot of juggling, there are always multiple priorities that need to be met. I often feel like my head is a web browser with about 50 tabs open at once.

When you’re not at work what’s your favourite place to be and why?
During the day searching through op-shop and vintage stores for great bargains. I’m rather chuffed that our office is across the road from a terrific Salvation Army store. During the night, down at the Fringe Bar on Allen street, it’s my favourite venue. There is always an interesting show with hot new talent on stage; be it burlesque, comedy or live music.

What’s something surprising people won’t know about you?
I used to fly and have proudly landed a prop plane at Rongotai / Wellington Airport – apparently it’s listed as the 15th most scariest airport to land in the world. I figure if I can achieve that, I can achieve anything I set my mind to.

Receptionist and Office Administrator - Robyn McAllister

Robyn McAllister - Receptionist and Office Administrator

Robyn joined NZ On Air two years ago. We share her with the Broadcasting Standards Authority.

What do you do?
I am the Receptionist and office Administrator for NZ On Air, which means I am the first friendly face people see when they walk in the door to our office, or contact via phone. I also organise most of the travel for our staff and help out with stakeholder and other various office events.

How is this different from what you’ve done before?
Previously I was working in Scotland for the Forestry Commission making maps and dealing with land ownerships and tree disease outbreaks so this is a very different role for me. I love being able to deal with people face to face in this role and working with such an eclectic group of people, no day is the same.

What are the biggest challenges of the job?
I think the biggest challenge for me was after spending so long living in the UK coming into this job and learning about all the new NZ music artists who I had never heard of. Keeping up to date now with all the new screen content and music we fund can be hard as there is so much great new stuff to listen to and watch .

When you’re not at work what’s your favourite place to be and why?
Friends and family are everything to me so when I am not catching up with people, getting out and about socialising, I love experimenting with new recipes in the kitchen and baking. I love being out in nature so going on a big long bush walk or a swim on a sunny day is where I am happiest!

Who is your favourite music artist?
My favourite NZ artists would definitely have to be Shapeshifter. I would see them every year they toured in Scotland. I have also recently been listening to Lord Echo after seeing him live. Outside of NZ it would be Michael Kiwanuka who is an R&B /soul artist from London.

What’s something surprising people won’t know about you?
I have been playing and Dj-ing house music on vinyl since I was 20 years old and I still play out and put on my own events every now and again. It is definitely my biggest passion!

Assistant Accountant - Gemma Fulton

Gemma Fulton - Assistant Accountant

Gemma joined NZ On Air two and a half years ago as Television Payments Coordinator. This year she moved into the Corporate Services team as an Assistant Accountant.

What do you do?

I’m one of two assistant accountants at NZ On Air. I process all of the reports and invoices from producers of screen content, and a little bit of community radio. I also assess application budgets and assist producers in any reporting queries.

You came straight from uni - so how well did uni prepare you for this?

My degree (Accounting, Economics, Commercial Law) mostly prepared me for having to write opinions and arguments and apply certain skills. I’ve learnt an immense amount on the job.

What are the biggest challenges of the job?

Trying to keep up with watching all of the amazing content we fund! I’m also ridiculously organised (in my head- don’t look at my desk), so one challenge for me is wanting to expand my knowledge within NZ On Air but also wanting to hold onto all of the other tasks I enjoy.

When you’re not at work what’s your favourite place to be and why?

I love summer, so anywhere I can go for a swim and sit on the beach. My summer break plans include Napier, Rotorua, Tauranga and Whitianga, which I think is pretty self-explanatory.

I also love animals so when I’m in Wellington I always enjoy a coffee from Spruce Goose and a stroll along Lyall Bay down by the dog walking area.

What’s your favourite TV show & music artist?

That’s so hard, but if I had to choose just one I’d probably say Katchafire.

I’m really enjoying listening to the Fresh Cuts playlist at the moment so I can discover some new NZ music while walking to work! My Spotify account is currently paused on the Fresh Cuts playlist- Chelsea Jade’s High Beam.
I don’t know if I have a favourite TV show at the moment, with juggling work, study and flying to Auckland every second weekend it’s hard keeping up with serial shows. I mostly try to watch the shows we fund and I’m a fan of documentaries so I tend to watch one-offs and also a lot of web series on demand.

What’s something surprising people won’t know about you?

I was a bit of a child genius at primary school and I once got something like 98% on a Australasian science test.
I went to University to study Science in Biotechnology, that only lasted six months and then I realised I was good at accounting instead.

Music Promoter - Content, Hannah Brewer

Hannah Brewer, Music Promoter - Content

Hannah has been with NZ On Air for about three years. She started out as Online Promotions Assistant, working both for NZ On Air as a whole, and the Music channels. Now she spends all her time with the Music team.

Tell us about your role.

My role is Music Promoter- Content. I work to help connect New Zealand songs with New Zealand audiences. This ranges from social media management to delivering songs to radio and other broadcasters.

How is it different to your previous role with NZ On Air?

A big part of my new role is creating and distributing NewTracks, a compilation of new songs from NZ artists each month. This means selecting 28 new songs a month, sequencing them, creating artwork and digitally and physically distributing them to different radio stations and broadcasters throughout Aotearoa.

What are you finding the biggest challenges of the new role?

There is a quick turnaround to create NewTracks each month and a challenge I face is organising 28 songs from 28 different artists within a short time frame. Things can change pretty quickly in this part of the industry so we need to remain really flexible and adapt to things happening at the last minute.

When you’re not at work what’s your favourite place to be and why?

I love to be near (or on) the ocean - I grew up near the beach and still love being near or on the water. If I’m not near the water I also love writing, playing and listening to music.

What’s something surprising people won’t know about you?

When I was a teenager I appeared as an extra in our first NZ On Air-funded daily soap opera - Shortland Street.

Funding Advisor, Nicole Rex

Nicole Rex, Funding advisor

Nicole is one of our newbies - she started with NZ On Air in January this year coming to us from a broadcasting background and a well-connected family.

What’s your role?

I am the Funding Advisor for Community Broadcasting. I look after Spoken Radio, Access Radio, Pacific Radio and Regional Media.

How is it different to your roles prior to joining NZ On Air?

This is a totally different role to the ones I’ve previously had. I come from a broadcasting background, 14 years behind the mic and later behind the scenes as an operations manager. I really enjoy this role because it challenges me. One day I could be writing papers recommending funding for some great Kiwi content, the next I could be meeting with one of my awesome stakeholders watching a poetry recital in beautiful Dunedin! It’s a wonderful role that makes me feel good about the work I do to get Kiwi content funded.

What are you finding the biggest challenges of both settling in and delivering the new strategy and processes?

I had big shoes to fill coming into this role as the previous Community Broadcasting manager was well respected and loved by our stakeholders. The wonderful thing about our stakeholders though, is that they are all amazing people and I get phone calls just to chat or received lovely welcoming emails which made my transition less daunting.

As for the new strategy, this is an exciting time for NZ On Air. The technology age is well and truly upon us and NZ On Air have embraced it and are adapting to meet the rapidly changing environment. The NZ Media fund continues to champion NZ content and content makers. As the funder we want all our providers, producers and musicians to succeed - when you succeed we succeed!

When you’re not at work what’s your favourite place to be and why?

My favourite place is anywhere with my two kids Arty (6) and Senara (5) and my partner Hannay. My kids are my world and it could be us lounging around at home watching Moana for the 100th time or down at the local court shooting some hoops with them.

What’s something surprising people won’t know about you?

I am 125,233th in line to the British throne. The Queen is a great Aunty and Will and Harry my cuzzie bros. My great great great grandfather is King George III (yes the mad one!) In a nutshell he had three sons to Hannah Lightfoot, a seamstress, before marrying Queen Charlotte. Hannah and her sons were exiled and given the last name Rex. One settled in Tasmania in Australia and his grandson came to a little Island in the South Pacific (best island, btw) called Niue. He settled in Niue and the rest is history!

P.S I dropped the ‘Princess’ title back in the 90s but if you must…'Your highness' is fine ;)

Head of Funding, Glenn Usmar

Glenn Usmar -Head of Funding

Glenn has been with NZ On Air since 2007. Until now he managed television funding. Today he has a new uber-role which he explains.

What’s your new role Glenn?

Head of Funding which involves managing the funding policy and processes for the NZ Media Fund, with oversight of the Factual, Scripted and Platforms funding streams.

How is it different to your previous role as Head of Television?

It is quite a bit different. When I came back after the summer break it literally felt like I had changed organisations and had a totally new job. My previous role involved NZ On Air’s television investments and to a lesser extent some online projects. Our new strategy has replaced NZ On Air’s multiple strategies and created a single fund with four different streams (Scripted, Factual, Music and Platforms). This requires quite a different head space when thinking about how we can best serve audiences with a range of different local content.

As a team we are all shifting from operating in platform silos to embracing a new more flexible approach that prioritises great creative ideas that have a clear sense of the intended audience, an ability to reach them, and have a strong business case that justifies public investment. The fact that the audience might access content via broadcast television or radio or online is only important to the extent that it is accessible to the intended audience and enough people will see it to justify the cost.

What will the biggest challenges of the new strategy and processes be?

First the operational challenge to establish good processes around operating this fund. The NZ Media fund has resulted in a transformational change of both the structure and operation of NZ On Air. Prior to the launch in July we are establishing a new online application system as well as publishing criteria, assessment processes and documentation for operating the new fund. No small task but a great opportunity to review how we do things.

The second major challenge is not ours alone; it is how to connect audiences with the content we fund. As the media landscape continues to evolve and the way people consume content changes, it is much harder to make people aware of content, particularly when there is so much global content available. We are now very focused on how producers and platforms intend to find and engage audiences before we commit to fund the content.

Third, the simplicity and agility of the new fund will likely result in more applications. The more applications we receive, the more we will likely have to decline. Our team is small so we are changing our processes to cope with an increased volume of applications.

When you’re not choosing great local content to fund what’s your favourite place to be and why?

Lyall Bay beach with our dog Archie. It’s always exhilarating sun, wind or rain. However, I would vote for more sun and less wind after this summer!

What’s something surprising people won’t know about you?

In my early 20’s I made a commercial that featured Rachel Hunter. I was a tap dancing cowboy dressed in pink – cliché I know!