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Northland Writers Celebrate 21st Anniversary

Northland Writers Celebrate 21st Anniversary

The Northland Branch of the New Zealand Society of Authors (PEN Inc.) is celebrating its 21st anniversary with a catered lunch for current and past members on Saturday 2 December.

“This will be a fun occasion with some literary overtones – a quiz and competition – but is mostly a chance for writers from around the north to catch up with each other,” says Diana Menefy, the current chairperson.

The branch grew from discussion between the twenty-three members of the Auckland branch who lived in Northland. “Only a few of us travelled to Auckland for the monthly meetings and we knew there were other writers in Northland who would be interested in joining the Society if the meetings were local,” says Diana. “We advertised a meeting in Kaikohe on the 14th December 1996. There were eighteen present and sixteen apologies. Established writers such as Diana Anthony, Florence Keene, Neva Clark McKenna, Nancy Pickmere, Daphne de Jong, Robyn Kingston, Iris Nolan, Duncan McKay, Janine McVeagh and I, plus Lesley Marshall, a professional editor, all supported the establishment of the branch. We were joined by many other writers at different stages of their careers as well as those who wrote for a hobby and by the end of 1997 we had 56 members.”

Over the years the Northland branch has come up with many innovative ideas that have been picked up by National Council. Several of our members have served on the Council and been part of lobbying governments to improve conditions for writes and readers. Daphne de Jong is a past President of Honour of the Society.
Local members regularly offer workshops and events for the public in their specialist genres, and the branch runs the annual NorthWrite event and also funds an annual scholarship for the NorthTec writing student who shows talent and commitment to their studies on the Online Diplomas of Applied Writing.

The New Zealand Society of Authors (PEN Inc.) is the principal representative for the professional interests of writers. It protects basic rights to freedom of expression, works to improve income and conditions, promotes New Zealand writing and literary culture as well as developing and creating a community for writers.

The 21st celebration will be held at The Orchard, Walton Street, Whangarei. Ex-members who are interested in attending and have not been contacted please email Phil Holroyd at

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