Oh geez, is it that time already!? 

That’s right, it’s less than 6 months until NZ Games Festival 2020! We’ve been keeping mum about a lot of goings on lately, as we’re working to build a really strong festival lineup for our fifth year. 

To date, we’ve announced our festival dates (April 20 to 26, in case you missed it), and have opened submissions for talks at the Play by Play conference and entries for our national awards night, the Pavs

What you maybe haven’t seen is that we’ve been hard at work assembling a team bigger than ever before. That’s right, this is THE most ambitious crossover of brilliant, local minds in the history of NZGF.

but first, a few farewells

While we’re excited to be bringing in many new faces, we’d be sorely remiss to not acknowledge those who are moving on from the festival ahead of our fifth year. 

Following the 2019 Play by Play conference, founding directors Robert Curry and Peter Curry announced their resignation from the board after four years of service. NZGF of course wouldn’t exist without the brilliance of our founders and we’re so grateful for all of Rob and Pete’s contributions throughout the years. Here are some choice words our committee past and present have to say about the Curry brothers. 

“Robert was always the first one there to lend a hand. He had an amazing oversight of the whole festival and knew where his best efforts would contribute the most. We were incredibly fortunate to have someone on the team so willing to keep an eye on all the small tasks that make the festival the best it can be.”

Liam Dick, Volunteer Manager 2019, 2020

“Working with Rob on the NZ Games Festival these past two years has been such a great experience. Events can be incredibly stressful, but Rob was always so open and friendly that I never worried about approaching him with problems or challenges I was facing. His calm attitude was a huge part of making my time on the festival one of the easiest event planning experiences I’ve had.”

Cass Gray, Volunteer Manager 2018, Developer Events Manager 2019

Pete has been such a massive force for good within the Festival and its infrastructure. He’s like magic – any time something went pear shaped he’d manage to get to the bottom of it, no matter how weird the issue was. He figuratively saved the media team’s bacon on several occasions, and I really appreciated his help & patience.”

Jess Woodward, Media Designer 2018, 2019, Creative Director, 2020

“Robert was the Director I worked most closely with last year, taking over the reigns of the exhibition, without him I would have been very lost and have no sense of direction. His help and guidance was invaluable, for both the exhibition itself, and all of my work since.”


Stefan Peacock, Exhibition Manager 2019, Media Designer 2020

We’re also sad to see Joshua Boggs step down from the board after one very successful year as a director to focus on his studio, Mayday. He joined the board in 2019 after serving on the committee as the Judging Coordinator in 2018. It’s no small task to assemble a team of diverse and impartial judges, let alone bring them together to trial and assess over 80 games. Ka pai, Boggsie!

“Josh has been an incredible part of the NZGF team. His first year, he revamped NZGF’s judging and awards process to make it more balanced and organised for his team of judges. The following year, he provided dedicated support to the whole committee by stepping in to help make key decisions and provide feedback when we needed it most. We are so sad to see him go and wish to thank him for his hard work over the past two years.”

Navi Brouwer, Committee Director 2020 & NZGF Veteran

“Josh Boggs has been working tirelessly behind the scenes to create and manage NZ’s only game awards. The Pavs have really made a huge difference in giving our NZ developers something local to strive for, and creating a community that celebrates our achievements and pushes us to create better and more beautiful art. The reality of organising judges for something of this scale is huge, and I can’t thank Josh enough for his dedication to the integrity and improvement of our industry.”

– Calliope Ryder, Awards Night Coordinator 2019, Developer Events Manager 2020

Finally, we’re very sad to say our remaining founder, Lucy Morris, announced at the start of the month that she’s decided to step back from the festival. Here’s what Lucy had to say about her decision:

Lucy Morris“News! I’ve decided to step down as a director of NZ Games Festival for a few reasons – one, the new voices leading it are far more valuable than mine yet again, and two, selfcare & managing spoons. Since starting the festival five years ago with Robert & Peter, it’s come so so far.

I’ve given Play by Play/NZGF a huuuuge amount of myself over the years, and even though it’s kinda sad to step down from something I created with others, it’s the right thing to do and I’m so excited to see where it goes.

I think as a leader it’s just as important to know when to be silent as it is to speak, and the new leadership of the festival are a bunch of very talented, passionate people who will do wonderful things with it. <3

Here’s to year five of NZGF in 2020!”

Kia ora, Lucy. Your dedication, hard work, and pink Moa statue ambitions will never be forgotten.

Here’s what we have to say to and/or about Lucy:

“Lucy has always been one of those people who seems too powerful to be real. Her passion and excellence over almost five years of service have built an incredibly strong foundation upon which I’m excited to see the festival thrive. Where I am today is in no small part thanks to Lucy and the faith she put in me when bringing me on to the committee in 2019. I’m sad to see Lucy go but so excited about what’s to come for the festival.”

Alex Woodward, Social Media Manager 2019

“Lucy had an incredible way of inspiring and driving the culture of the committee. We were all so lucky to have her energy influence that of the committee as it undoubtedly flowed into how we shaped as a festival. The positive, inclusive, and adaptable culture of our volunteers was no doubt inspired by her and I’m incredibly grateful for that.”

Liam Dick, Volunteer Manager 2019, 2020

“I feel so lucky to have had the opportunity to work with Lucy on the NZ Games Festival. Lucy has been a huge part of making the festival the warm, welcoming, and safe place that it is, and I know the events going forward will continue to have that same feeling of comfort because of the groundwork Lucy has laid.”

Cass Gray, Volunteer Manager 2018, Develope Events Manager 2019

“People with Lucy’s creative flair, positive energy and cracking sense of humour are one in a million. I joined the festival specifically so I could work with her. Her wild ideas are something I continue to aspire to, as are her generous helpings of :leftparrot:, which were a guiding beacon whenever my spirit was lacking. Thank you so much for everything Lucy – I can’t wait till I get to work with you again someday.”

Jess Woodward, Media Designer 2018, 2019, Creative Director 2020

Lucy will forever be a trailblazer, and creating the first Play by Play and NZGF with the team of directors will always be recognised as one of the best things anyone has done for the NZ games industry. I can’t thank her enough for being the impetus behind this crazy little festival that has grown substantially every year. Lucy really seems to have a knack for figuring out what people want, and delivering it. Thank you for all your hard work, Lucy!

– Calliope Ryder, Awards Night Coordinator 2019, Developer Events Manager 2020

“Working with Lucy was an incredible experience. I will always value how much she inspired me with her work on NZGF, both before I joined the team, and then even more so once I could see it up close. Her hard work, passion for the industry and drive are awesome things to witness and I will miss working with her. Luckily, we now play D&D together every week, which has the added benefit of being mildly less stressful than running a festival.”

Stefan Peacock, Exhibition Manager 2019, Media Designer 2020

so what does this mean for the board? 

Remember that Avengers team we mentioned? 

We’re thrilled to say that we have built our board back up with a few familiar faces (and one fresh!). 

Jess Woodward joins the board after two years as our in-house Media Designer. Bringing seven years of experience in marketing and advertising, Jess is spearheading our newly fleshed-out media team as Creative Director. 

Alex Woodward, brother of Jess, has stepped up to the board after managing its digital media in 2019 to oversee festival event curation. As Events Director, he’ll be overseeing our general public events and assisting with public relations.

Navi Brouwer will be taking up the director mantle after helping out on the Play by Play and NZGF committees since our inception. With her experience in management and production, she’ll be acting as the gracious leader of our committee, helping to manage workloads and expectations.

Chantelle Cole is a new face among the board and will be serving as our treasurer and sponsorship director, helping us find and manage the funds necessary to make NZGF 2020 the best it can be. Her extensive experience in treasury and HR means we’re absolutely stoked to have her on the team (she’s also just an absolute delight)! 

Lastly, Claire Barilla returns to the board for a second year as the Conference Director. Play by Play is our largest and most notable event, and we’re so pleased to have Claire working her magic again in 2020.

assembling an endgame team

If our board are the Elite FourFive, they’d still be nothing without an incredible Pokemon League to set the stage. That’s right. Avengers AND Pokemon analogies. In one post. 

We’re pleased to announce our NZGF 2020 Committee as follows:

  • Florence Hillyer-Brandt – Exhibition Manager
  • Zea Slosar – Workshops Manager
  • Liam Dick – Volunteer Manager
  • Calliope Ryder – Developer Events Manager
  • Zala Habib – Developer Events Showrunner
  • Sami Habib – Festival Events Showrunner
  • Tom Butler – Conference Showrunner
  • Stefan Peacock – Media Designer
  • Joseph Hendren – Social Media Manager
  • Michelle Kan – Videographer
  • Daniel Edwards – Webmaster
  • Cindy Miller – Judging Manager

You can read more about the 2020 festival committee at our shiny new committee page, built by the already much beloved Daniel. 

This is just the beginning of a stellar new year of NZGF. We have many more exciting updates to share with you, so stay tuned! 

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