We’re back IRL in 2024. In preparation for that, we’ve had some big changes and lots of new faces! Meet the team of volunteers working so hard to make NZGF everything it can be.

organisational team


kate winsley


committee manager

Kate is a Massey uni Concept Design graduate, she aspires to be an artist for games or animation in the future. As an artist who is inspired by the natural world when designing illustrations and characters, she enjoys conveying goofy, lighthearted themes that have a sense of childlike wonder. Currently, during the 9-5, Kate is a Design Consultant at a tile showroom, but during the twilight hours she is wrangling the NZGF committee, while also trying to find the time to work on her own creations, play games, read, catch up with friends/family and if there’s time – eat and sleep!


zelle marcovicci


committee engagement officer

Zelle is a developer, tutor and anarchist nerd with a penchant for making things work when they really shouldn’t. When she isn’t teaching at Massey University or making games, she’s definitely trapped underneath one of her cats. She’s obsessed with all things open source, conservation of the natural world, and pushing the boundaries of virtual worlds, too. The Committee Engagement Officer is a new role – rather than flexing her hacker brain, she’ll be solving the age-old problem of connecting beautiful humans with each other and making sure everyone has their contributions celebrated!


tanya mariott


board member & conference manager

Tanya Marriott is a multidisciplinary designer who works in a variety of media including interactive design and play, character and toy design, experience design and game. Her work seeks to build meaningful experiences and storytelling opportunities between digital and tangible activities.

She in an internationally recognised art doll and toy designer, member of the National Institute of American Doll Artists and an alumna of the Pictoplasma academy.

Tanya teaches concept design, toy, play and game design at Massey University, and is program leader for the new Bachelor of Concept Design. Tanya has just finished her PhD “Wild Play” An exploration in character toy play within nature.


alex matthews


venues manager

Alex is a serial entrepreneur with a range of incurable, eclectic passions for all things technology, innovation, futurism, history, the human condition, and the way we form and evolve as societies. He is the Licensee of TEDxPipitea and CEO of Xequals (software dev/creative agency) and CEO of Frost Flame Games (game dev and publishing).

With a career spanning hospitality, digital production, game design, event management, innovation sector consulting and establishing start-ups, Alex has done a bit of everything with firm roots in the modern software development and creative industries.


paris jagger


conference lead

Paris has recently joined the 2024 NZGF events team, collaborating with other Play by Play conference managers. She is a dedicated advocate for female and non-binary representation in the gaming industry, having spoken about these issues at events such as NZGDC. Furthermore, she explored the significance of female-centric design within video games in their honours thesis. Having started as PikPok’s first intern in 2022, Paris now holds a full-time position as a Market Researcher at the company. During her free time, they enjoy fabricating jewellery, socialising with friends, and delving into new hobbies.


sarah gatland


conference manager

Sarah is a concept designer and maker who recently graduated from Massey University. She has a passion for story telling and bringing narratives to life through physical making. Sarah is new to NZGF this year and is excited to be part of the team and bring the Play by Play conference to life!


rick stemm


conference mc

Rick is a Design Manager and the Narrative Director at PikPok, where he originated both roles. A prolific speaker, Rick has presented at NZGDC, Play by Play, Script to Screen, multiple PAXes, GenCon, The Dramatists Guild, artistic workshops, game dev meetups, and most NZ universities. Rick was a keynote speaker at FINS, New Zealand’s first games narrative conference. In the end, Rick’s work is mostly about people – helping them connect, care, and collaborate.

events team


tom butler


volunteer coordinator

Tom is a game designer at Dinosaur Polo Club working on Mini Metro and Mini Motorways, and has recently released Trigger Witch through his indie studio Rainbite. In his spare time, he’s a guy who has fallen deep into the TTRPG rabbit hole and lets D&D take up way too much of his brain space. Volunteering at many past industry events and on the NZGF committee last year, he’s excited to return for 2024 as the volunteer manager and he can’t wait to see you all there!


sami habib


pb&j event manager

Sami is a programmer at PikPok in Wellington, having worked on various mobile games over the last 4 years. He loves getting involved and helping out in the local gamedev community, and is excited to be back managing events for another year of NZGF. In his free time you can find him playing roguelites, working on one of his not-quite-abandoned projects, or planning a Dungeons & Dragons session.

Josh Jimenez

joshua jimenez


joypad event manager

Josh has always dreamed of being a part of the game dev scene since 2018, joining a small meetup group called Auckland Indies. Fast forward to today, Josh now runs the AKLGameDev Meetups, is the president of the University of Auckland Game Developer Guild.

By day, he works for KWD as a Network/IT Manager but by night he, along with his team at the GDG, are working on new game ideas to sharpen their game dev skills for the world to see.



nilita dobhal


treat & greet event manager

Blurb: Nilita is a recent Design graduate. She is currently working full time on a venue management project.In her spare time she likes drawing pixel art and making miniatures in her studio. She has a love-hate relationship playing FPS games and is a big fan of indie game soundtracks like old school Zelda and Undertale! Nilita is joining the NZGF committee for the first time as an event manager for Treat n’ Greet.

pavs team


joshua villgren


the pavs award manager

Josh is a game developer, producer and dad. While spending the last six years abroad, he joined game dev communities in the UK, Germany and Finland. Now back in Aotearoa, he’s here to bring that knowledge and know-how, and transform it into a fun, engaging, and exciting awards night at The Pavs in 2024. He loves hiking, travelling, learning languages and of course, making and playing games.


bo moore


judging manager
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jeremy cameron

judging manager
Josh K

josh kamau


pavs host

Senior Community Manager by day, overcaffeinated Game Master by night. Aspiring “foreverGM” Josh K is celebrating his 4th year with the New Zealand Games Festival team as the new Community Outreach Manager. 

Josh is at PikPok as Senior Community Manager, having developed social campaigns and strategies for over 14 games by working with teams to provide engaging and positive social communities for fans to share and express their passion for games. 

He has been a part of the New Zealand Game Festival/Play by Play as host of the Pavs, and as a speaker fanatically sharing his passion for Dungeons and Dragons. He is enthusiastic about encouraging Aotearoa to embrace and celebrate it’s thriving game development industry, and exploring new ways to help the NZGF reach new audiences.

media team

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rupert de paula


creative director

hannah elliot


media producer

Hannah has recently joined the team as the Media Producer for the 2024 NZGF and is really excited to see everything come together. Her usual work as a designer involves creating brands, visuals and animations. When she is not working, she enjoys getting messy with clay, gaming and spending time with her family.


florence hillyer-brandt


lead media designer

Florence is a Graphic Designer and Photographer. She has previously been in the committee as an exhibition manager, and has returned to draw little pictures, and stress out over moving words one pixel to the left. No wait, maybe try one pixel to the right? None of her flatmates can tell the difference between these versions any more, but they’re important differences, she promises.

In her spare time she is slowly learning the guitar, reading a scary book at night time called Ambergris, and playing Hollow Knight.


misha tyatsko


media designer

Misha is a Technical Artist/Generalist in the Games Industry. This year they are a Media Designer at the Games Festival which equally suits their skills in art and illustration. This is his second year working with the NZGDA, his background being as a Judging Manager for The PAVS 2023. In his spare time Misha likes playing colorful indie games, and enjoys a fair bit of local multiplayer with his siblings.


inigo holmes


media designer

Inigo is a multi-media designer located in Ōtautahi. Hailing from Guernsey, Channel Islands he has been in NZ for 10 years. You can usually find him working in print production/design at Canprint in Christchurch. In his spare time he likes to play Overwatch and Trackmania. You can catch him posting on his art account for his (impressive) 2 followers, having started the journey into 3D software he gets better each time he posts. A recent father to the most gorgeous Dachshund puppy named Pinto, he hopes to bring a particular flair to the NZGF board.


jason tam


website manager

After many sleepless nights, Jason has graduated from Massey University and is now living the dream, using his Bachelor of Design to chase his dreams in..administration? In his spare time he lives his best life freelancing in design, bouldering, and gaming with his friends.

This year he’s very excited to come on board as a new recruit to NZGF as a website manager! Jason is passionate about the interactive storytelling potential of games and hopes to see New Zealand’s gaming scene continue to flourish.



molly richards


social media manager

Molly is a concept designer, model maker and painter based in wellington. In 2024 Molly joins NZGC as Social Media Manager. She previously held the features editor role at Massive Magazine and has since completed her Concept Design Bachelor degree with honours. Molly has taken a special interest in environment design and has been developing models and miniatures in both 3D and traditional mediums. She is always listening to music and learned to ride a unicycle and juggle — unfortunately not yet at the same time.

michelle kan


video editor

Michelle is an independent filmmaker/videographer, writer and Chinese brush artist based in Te-Whanganui-a-Tara. A longtime contributor of video content to NZ Games Festival since its inaugural event, they’re back once again to provide NZGF 2022 with the good video content, direct the Platformer diverse game artists showcase, and generally soak in the good vibes.

They wish they could say they didn’t often schedule their week around a certain D&D livestream and its related paraphernalia, but that would be patently untrue.