Meet the Judges for the Pav Awards 2021! Our Judges are invited from our community both in New Zealand and in Australia. Over the month-long period of judging, they take time to carefully review each of the wonderful submissions received. We'd like to say thank you so much for all of their help in making the Pavs NZ Game Awards possible!

For more details on our awards process, have a read of our transparency & the nz game awards guide.

Goldie Bartlett


Goldie is an artist & gamedev from Melbourne. She is the art director for Freeplay Independent Games Festival, for Wayward Strand, and tutors game design students at RMIT University. She’s excited by ambitious and contemporary art styles, as well as personal or real local histories/stories in games.

Sam Barham

Creative Director

Sam Barham is the Creative Director of Balancing Monkey Games, who’s first game Before We Leave released in 2020. Including a time in Straylight Studios back in the day, he’s been working in the games industry for 5 years.

Robert Curry


Robert is a co-founder and game designer at Dinosaur Polo Club, the studio behind the hit titles Mini Metro and Mini Motorways. He is also one of the co-founders of Play by Play (now the NZ Games Festival).

Stephen Clark

Junior Product Owner / Programmer

Expert Game Starter and Steam Library Channel Surfer.

Ben Tuhoe Kenobi

CTO/product manager/designer/artist

Designed and delivered tertiary gamedev courses across Auckland with a research focus on narrative. An active member of the NZgamedev, AKLgamedev and NZGDA Board working on multiple initiatives including the AKLgamedev Meetup, NZGDC and KiwiJam and now develops games at ARA Journeys.



Mila is a video game producer with 5 years of industry experience, and has produced and designed the UX for indie titles and private industry games. Her current home is at Weta Workshop – Interactive, where manages and is production lead on a number of projects across mobile and VR / AR platforms.

Jon Cartwright


Jon published his first games whilst still at school and has worked on a wide variety of titles on nearly all platforms. For the past 16 years he’s lived in Australia, working for THQ, KIXEYE, Prideful Sloth, and now consults with publishers and developers worldwide to help bring titles to market.

Saf Davidson

Narrative Designer

Saf is a chaos-filled writer, narrative designer, and podcaster with a love for robots and weird stories.

Anita Salamanca

Recently Graduated Games Art Student

Games Artist in development who one day wants to log onto social media and be inundated by fanarts and cosplays of characters that I’ve designed.

Matt Schenkel

Technical Sound Designer

I’m a Melbourne-based sound designer who co-founded Sub-Zero Sound, a game audio studio that handles all stages of the audio production process.
I’m heavily involved in the Australian/Melbourne games industry, and am one of the admins of the FB group ANZac, a game audio community group for Aus/NZ

Marcus Powell


I am a long time gamer, started back in the days of the Atari and have owned various consoles and PC game since then. Now I am the head tutor at Digital Natives Academy and teach digital courses to schools covering esports, game design, content creation, streaming and running tournaments

Jordan Ewen

Lead Programmer

I’m the lead programer at Studio Mayday and have previously worked at Magic Leap, A44 and PikPok. When not at work I enjoy nice beer and lifting heavy things.

Cleo Renshaw


Hi I’m Cleo! Lover of all things games and storytelling since very young, I attend NZGDC and Auckland Gamedev meetups as often as I can and am excited to be a part of the NZ Games industry. I’m a business/psychology grad, beginning a degree in game art from 2021!

Denis Sylar Phoenix


Involved in gaming industry since 2011, working with Blizzard, Ubisoft, Valve, etc. as a translator, play tester; past cybersports team member; received professional certificate in Game Design from CalArts; for the last 5 years closely involved with tabletop games working on my own designs.

Alexander Swords

Narrative designer

A writer and narrative designer with a background in creative and audience development. He’s worked for indies in Berlin, AAA in Sweden, and currently in Melbourne on Totem Teller and Anytown: Garage Sale Monsters. He’s the creator of the Forest Paths Method of Narrative Design.

Richard Durham


Rich is a designer of games and playful experiences. He consults on playful learning and serious games for NGO’s, museums, conferences, and schools, and works in the Faculty of Creative Arts and Industries at the University of Auckland.

Alex Humphries


Alex is a Co-Founder of the Auckland based mobile games studio JaffaJam. He has over 15 years’ experience in the games industry, producing AAA console and PC games for SEGA Europe. He was also the Studio Head behind the award winning game Samsara.

Lorien Gugich

Studio Director & Game Designer

Hi, I’m Lorien and I come from a video game content creation background. Well known around the world to complete games on the hardest difficulty, while having a laugh.
Having worked as a Producer and Community Manager at A44 Games, I decided to levy my varying talents and start my own studio.


Former neet mmo raid lead prodigy epic gamer. actually terrible at video games but very much enjoy it as a storytelling medium and a big sucker for a good visual novel or RPG. i like cute girls more than breathing

Phid McAwesome

Gaming Industry Marketing Specialist

I run gaming industry marketing agency

Previously I was a NZ radio award winning tech and game journalist

Chelsea Rapp


I’m a producer at CerebralFix, a primarily work-for-hire studio in Christchurch. I work primarily in digital location-based experiences, relationship management, and business development. I’m originally from the US, and have over 10 years of project management, production, and operations experience.

David Parkin

Founder/ Managing Director

I am the Founder/ Managing Director of Luggarrah, a wholly Aboriginal owned business. Luggarrah means play, fun and diversion in language. I am a Trawlwulwuy man from Tebrakunna country, Tasmania – Living in Victoria, Aust. Jerry Lawson Career Development Grant recipient BLAKS@XBOX GDC 2020

Luke Nickholds

Digital Technology Teacher

Luke is a Digital Technology Teacher at Southland Girls’ High School in Invercargill, teaching Year 8-13 topics including programming and game development. In his spare time he also plays around making different types of games, in particular Interactive Fiction. He also enjoys playing games too!

And a big thank you to all of the rest of our judges who preferred not to be named. <3