12 January 2024
Irirangi Te Motu | NZ On Air is thrilled to announce the appointment of Chantelle Cole, a respected business leader and advocate for the games sector, to lead the agency’s NZ Game Development Sector Rebate (GDSR) scheme.
Cole, previously CEO of international award-winning game studio Dinosaur Polo Club, will take on the role of GDSR Programme Director from next week.
“We are so delighted to have a leader of Chantelle’s calibre join our team and take the development and administration of the GDSR forward,” says NZ On Air Chief Executive Cameron Harland.
“Not only has she a proven track record in leading an internationally successful game development studio to great success both in Aotearoa and internationally, she is also a huge advocate for building diversity in the games sector, fostering healthy workplace practices and supporting the ongoing development and growth of game development in Aotearoa New Zealand.”
Under Cole's leadership at BAFTA-nominated studio Dinosaur Polo Club (DPC), the company achieved remarkable success and was a finalist at the prestigious Independent Games Festival. Nationally, the studio secured 12th place on the Deloitte Fast50 index, clinched the title of fastest-growing exporter in Wellington, and received accolades such as the Creative Gold award at the Wellington Gold Awards. DPC further solidified its standing by being honoured as the supreme award winner at the NZ Game Awards and finalist for Best Emerging Business at the International Business Awards.
In 2020, Cole was selected by Apple, alongside Chief Operating Officer of DPC, Niamh Fitzgerald, as a global representative for women in the games industry for International Women’s Day and, in 2021, was a finalist in the ‘Inspiring Women Leaders’ category of the NZ International Business Awards.
Cole says that after her time at Dinosaur Polo Club, she is excited to take on a new challenge, one that will enable her to provide even greater support to the industry.
“With this role leading the GDSR, I am really excited about playing a key part in building on the support that the rebate scheme can offer the industry. The opportunities for this tight knit and supportive community are boundless. Aotearoa New Zealand's game development sector is truly distinctive, embodying a captivating fusion of interconnectedness and collaborative spirit. With enhanced support, the potential accomplishments of this community are bound to be incredible.”
Throughout her time at DPC, Cole maintained an unwavering commitment to the wider games industry, even dedicating her spare time to support its success and giving back to the wider community through volunteer work for the NZ Games Festival and advocacy and support of the NZ Game Development Association (NZGDA), and the Centre of Digital Excellence (CODE).
“Chantelle’s extensive experience and extensive network spans both the public and private sectors, game studios in Aotearoa and overseas, and international giants such as Apple, Google, Disney, Tencent and Nintendo,” says Harland.
“We have no doubt that Chantelle will have a huge impact on taking the GDSR forward and helping to further support the ongoing growth and expansion of game development in Aotearoa New Zealand.”