Meet the Board
Dr Ruth Harley CMNZ, OBE
Ruth has had an international career in screen industry leadership. She was commissioning editor at TVNZ, and NZ On Air's first Executive Director. After a decade as NZ Film Commission CEO, she became the first director of Screen Australia. Ruth is an executive coach for public and private sector CEO’s and senior leaders. She also chairs the NZ Cricket Museum, and is on the boards of the Wellington Sculpture Trust and Len Lye Foundation.
Appointed June 2018.
Sarona is a strategic communications professional and community engagement specialist. Trained as a journalist she has worked for a wide range of local body, government, and commercial entities, and also writes children’s books. Sarona works for global engineering and infrastructure advisory firm Aurecon NZ to engage communities as part of major infrastructure projects. She was a foundation trustee for the National Pacific Radio Trust and a member of the 2018/2019 Ministerial Public Media Advisory Group.
Appointed September 2019
Helen has had an international career in TV programme distribution after stints in newspaper and radio. She is a former Director of TVNZ International, Director of National Geographic's TV and film distribution arm in Washington DC, and Managing Director of Explore International, a joint venture distribution company in London. Helen now runs her own international consultancy from New Zealand.
Appointed in January 2016 and reappointed May 2019.
John is a partner in the Wellington office of Minter Ellison Rudd Watts and is an experienced sport, technology, media and entertainment lawyer. He also works in the areas of intellectual property, confidentiality and trade secrets. John is currently a trustee for the Wellington Arts Foundation and Limbs4all Trust and is also a member on the board of the NZ Film Commission.
Appointed in May 2016 and reappointed May 2019.
Linda is a partner in public law and dispute resolution at Kensington Swan. Previously she was TVNZ’s Political Editor, host of Face the Nation, moderator on TV3’s The Vote and host of RNZ National’s Nine to Noon programme. In 2018 she chaired the Film Industry Working Group. She is a member of the NZ Police Assurance and Risk Committee and a Trustee on the Wellington College Board of Trustees.
Appointed May 2019.
Philip is a Fellow of Chartered Accountants Australia and New Zealand and a chartered member of the Institute of Directors. He is currently also on the board of the Todd Foundation, Presbyterian Support Otago, and Animation Research Limited along with several Ngai Tahu organisations. He affiliates to Kahungunu and Ngai Tahu and has been a board member of Ngai Tahu Tourism.
Appointed June 2019.
Meet the staff
Chief Executive - Jane Wrightson
Jane leads the organisation, developing and implementing strategies as directed by the Board. She has worked in the screen and broadcast sector for more than 30 years and previously held chief executive positions with the Broadcasting Standards Authority and SPADA, the Screen Production and Development Association. Jane became New Zealand’s first woman Chief Film Censor after working in commissioning, acquisitions and programming-related roles at TVNZ for a decade. She holds an MBA with Distinction from Massey University, a BA in Literature from Victoria University, and is a Chartered Member of the Institute of Directors.
Executive Assistant to the Chief Executive - Hilaire Carmody
Hilaire provides administration support to the CE and the five specialist division heads and is also the Board Secretary. She was previously EA to the CE and Secretary to the Board at Toi Whakaari: NZ Drama School. Her background is in performing arts and festival management having worked for organisations such as the Royal New Zealand Ballet, The NZ Fringe Festival and the New Zealand International Comedy Festival. She has a Bachelor of Arts in English Literature and Theatre and Film Studies as well as a Graduate Diploma in Event Management.
Amie Mills - Head of Funding
Amie is a member of the Senior Leadership Team and has overall responsibility for the Scripted, Factual and Platforms streams of the NZ Media Fund. Amie has worked in the media industry in Aotearoa and abroad, in a range of creative and digital production roles. She is the former Digital & Children’s Commissioner at TVNZ and was co-lead of the New Blood Innovation Programme aimed at reaching non-traditional audiences with local content. In 2015 she joined Saatchi & Saatchi London to help deliver a BAFTA-winning mobile game, Sea Hero Quest, to help scientists fight dementia with the world’s largest crowd-sourced database for medical research.
Glenn Usmar - Associate Head of Funding (Applications)
Glenn has more than 30 years television experience in a number of senior positions in both state and private broadcasting companies. Prior to joining NZ On Air, he was the Programme Manager for the Rialto Channel on Sky TV, and was responsible for the channel’s establishment as the Sundance Channel. Previously Glenn worked at TVNZ in both acquisitions and programming roles, with his last position being programmer for TV One. He has also held programming positions at Kid’s TV and former Telecom channel First Media.
Benedict Reid - Associate Head of Funding (Business Affairs)
Benedict has worked in the screen and arts industries for 20 years and has held a variety of management roles with Sky TV and Māori Television. Benedict is a former Vice-President of the New Zealand Writers Guild and has script credits on productions by Gibson Group, Ninox Films and BBC Radio 4. He has an MA in script from Victoria University’s IIML and a BSc in Biological Science from Auckland University.
Anna Currie - Funding Advisor
Anna is a specialist advisor for screen funding (television and digital) and is the HEIHEI content funding Lead. She also assists with policy and strategy reviews, and produces NZ On Air’s annual Diversity Report. While Anna’s specialty is screen she assists across music and community broadcasting sectors. She is a former tutor and research assistant at Victoria University. Anna holds an MA with Distinction (Media Studies) from Victoria University, which specialised in television.
Nicole Rex - Funding Advisor
Nicole assists with the screen funding rounds and is a specialist advisor for Access and Community radio. She is a former Operations Manager for the Pacific Media Network in Wellington and has been an on-air broadcaster for Niu FM and Mai FM. Nicole has a Bachelor of Arts in Film, Television and Media Studies, and Anthropology.
Steven Gannaway - Funding Assessor
Steven assists with the screen funding rounds and provides project specific research and reporting. He was the Executive Director of the New Zealand Writers Guild for over eight years, providing advice on screenwriter contracting, chain-of-title, advocacy for the film and television industry in New Zealand, and he established and administered the NZWG Seed Grants initiative. Steven is a writer and has a Bachelor of Fine Arts.
Conall Aird – Business Affairs Assistant
Conall prepares funding contracts and assists with funding rounds and project monitoring. Conall completed a Bachelor of Laws and a Bachelor of Commerce majoring in Accounting at Victoria University in 2019.
David Ridler - Head of Music
David is part of the Senior Leadership Team. He has held three different positions with NZ On Air - a radio promotions NZ music ‘plugger’ in the early 2000s, the Assistant NZ Music Manager from 2008-2012, and now heads up NZ On Air’s music funding and promotions work. David has also had a career in radio programming and operations, with stints at radio stations as varied as Radio Hauraki, More FM, Radio Active, Classic Hits and Channel Z. He has a Bachelor of Arts from Victoria University of Wellington and a Bachelor of Broadcasting Communications from CPIT in Christchurch.
Jeff Newton - Music Promoter (Platforms)
Jeff is our radio plugger and music promo guy tasked with getting the music we fund seen and heard. He is based in the Auckland office. Jeff worked in the radio industry for 14 years in a number of on-air roles at both Mediaworks and TRN (now NZME.). After a short sojourn in tourism he moved into record labels as the Promotions Manager at EMI Music NZ. Jeff holds a Diploma in Commercial Broadcasting from the NZ Radio Training School and his iwi is Tainui Awhiro. Ngā mihi
Ash Wallace - Music Promoter (Content)
Ash handles content creation and music communications from the Auckland office, and joined NZ On Air after working for APRA AMCOS in membership and events. Ash is also a songwriter and artist and her experience as a performer drives her passion for supporting other New Zealand artists in their careers. She has a Bachelor of Music and Bachelor of Commerce (Economics) from the University of Auckland.
Hayley Dingwall - Funding Advisor
Hayley is a specialist advisor for Music funding. She assists with the New Music Single and Project funding schemes and the screen funding rounds. Before joining NZ On Air, Hayley worked extensively in the arts and music industries as a festival producer, independent artist and label manager, publicist and DJ. Hayley has previously worked for the NZ festival and Experience Wellington, and proudly hails from Ōtautahi.
Allanah Kalafatelis - Head of Communications
Allanah is part of the Senior Leadership Team. She manages communications across all of NZ On Air’s functions. This includes media relations, website and social media management, and stakeholder engagement. She also oversees research projects. She has previously been Communications Manager at the Commerce Commission and had a 20-plus year career in journalism. She holds certificates in Broadcasting, Media Law for Senior Journalists, and Public Relations (PRINZ).
Sophie Howard – Communications Advisor
Sophie manages NZ On Air’s social media channels, and assists with website publishing and writing newsletters, publications and media releases. She has experience in film production, web publishing and script writing. Sophie has a Bachelor of Arts in Film and Media from Victoria University.
Clare Helm - Head of Corporate Services
Clare is part of the Senior Leadership Team. She is responsible for the financial operations of NZ On Air and leads the reporting, compliance and internal audit functions. She has more than 30 years accounting and auditing experience in both the public and private sectors in New Zealand and England. Clare has a BA (Hons) in Archaeology from the London Institute of Archaeology and is a member of the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales and Chartered Accountants Australia New Zealand.
Hui-Ping Wu - Associate Head of Corporate Services
Hui-Ping looks after the financial accounting, internal audit functions and investment portfolio of NZ On Air. She also leads the Finance and Contract Management System operations and liaises with IT infrastructure maintenance and deployment. Hui-Ping has many years of accounting and auditing experience in both the commercial and public sector. She has a Bachelor of Commerce in Accounting and Postgraduate Qualification (GradDipCA), and is a member of Chartered Accountants Australia New Zealand.
Lisa Han - Assistant Accountant
Lisa provides assistance to the funding and corporate services teams - ensuring funding compliance throughout the milestone process by tracking contracts and budgets. She has previously worked as an Accounts Officer at the NZ Qualifications Authority and currently volunteers as a Treasurer for Plunket NZ. Lisa has a Bachelor of Commerce in Accounting and Commercial Law from Victoria University.
Nick Sodergard - Assistant Accountant
Nick provides assistance to the funding and corporate services teams - tracking contract and budget development and compliance throughout the funding process. Nick holds a Bachelor of Commerce in Accounting, Taxation and Commercial Law from Victoria University.
Robyn McAllister - Reception/Administrator
Robyn is our frontline contact person for visitors coming into the office or calling NZ On Air. She provides administrative support to the team as well as assisting the public and stakeholders with a wide range of enquiries. Robyn spent nine years living in Edinburgh, Scotland working with the Forestry Commission there as a Geographic Information Systems project administrator and PA. We share Robyn with the Broadcasting Standards Authority.