One of the things we are doing at DEGNZ at the moment in response to the Reform of Vocational Education (RoVE) that I wrote about two weeks ago, is to map the pathways for directors and editors into the industry.

For editors, we have already done a considerable amount of work in this area with the development of our Workflow Best Practice Guide and the Mandatory Skills and Advanced Skills Workshops for Assistant Editors, and the Assistant and Solo Editors Course. These programmes are a solid base that will inform our efforts to map pathways for editors.

For directors, there has been some debate internally at Guild board level about what directors need to know to step into the job from Day One. Different genres of content require different directorial skills. Factual, documentary, drama, TV commercials, corporate communications and marketing each require different approaches, but there are fundamentals that cross all. It’s defining these basics that we are in the processing of doing, both the theoretical and practical.

Back in the old days when there were no independent production companies, TVNZ or as it was known then the New Zealand Broadcasting Corporation, used to run what was essentially an apprenticeship programme internally. They would rotate the ‘apprentices’ through each of the departments, because in those days the organisation did all production internally—news, drama, factual, comedy, etc—essentially full time internships. After approximately two years of learning various crafts, the opportunity came to specialise, with individuals taking other specialist internal courses depending on their interest. Many of those over fifty five still in the industry learned their skills via this path, in disciplines including directing, editing, producing, camera, sound and others.

In the seventies and eighties when the first independent production companies formed, they became the training ground for new people into the industry, taking on those with the passion for production and giving them the skills they needed. At the same time, a few individuals identified the need for more formalised training, and so the film schools started up. They developed their own courses, got them NZQA certified or accredited, or not, started teaching and making money from doing so.

Meanwhile, the universities that had primarily been running academic degrees in film and media studies saw the need to provide more practical training as well, so brought practical filmmaking into their programmes.

These are essentially the pathways into the industry that exist today sans TVNZ: go to a film school or university, and or get an internship or job in the industry to get the coal-face experience you need. It’s a bit of a hodgepodge mess that is siloed, unfocused, multi-faceted and of varying quality. One highly experienced and knowledgeable person I spoke to with both screen industry and educational experience said to me that the screen industry had been its own worst enemy in developing career pathways for people coming in. There are now numerous efforts being made to address this, but it’s still somewhat siloed, working with a bureaucracy that doesn’t understand the unique nature of the screen industry, and incredibly complex.

Without a pan-sector body in existence (we are working on it), it has fallen to the screen guilds and associations to work with the educational entities and related bodies involved to try and get the best fit-for-purpose screen training we can. An all-important caveat in the new process is that only the screen industry can put forward the training pathways, content and standards that we require. Educational institutions may not do so.

If you have thoughts on this, whether you are a student, emerging, mid-career or highly experienced professional, please let us know at We want to provide the best information and guidance we can to ensure that the Reform of Vocational Education works for us into the future.


Tui Ruwhiu
Executive Director

Last updated on 2 August 2021

After five years of building up the screen media industry in the Bay of Plenty, DEGNZ member Anton Steel is stepping back from an operation level and retiring as CEO of Film Bay of Plenty.

In the past year alone, the regional film office has supported a range of projects, including two feature films, two TV series, and a location shoot for a large scale American production. Elysia Gibb, Tracy Hampton and Jade Kent have progressed in their roles to take the helm under a new management structure that provides broader coverage to the region.

Anton will continue to support the organisation’s ongoing strategy as a trustee, while turning to focus on creating. He is currently developing an action film about mental health, based on a true story from the Bay of Plenty.

“I also hope to leverage my 25 years of onscreen story-telling experience, and look forward to the opportunity to work with the amazing network of creatives and crew across the region,” he said.

We wish Anton well in the next step of his journey!

Last updated on 29 July 2021

The first two episodes in the three part documentary Ake, Ake, Ake are now available on Māori Television OnDemand and on the RNZ website. Co-directed by DEGNZ member Kim Webby and Whatanui Flavell, the series tells the story of the land occupation at Ihumātao through the voices of those who were intimately involved in the actions that took place there.

Screened to coincide with the 2nd anniversary of the occupation during July 2019, Ake, Ake, Ake is an important documentary that explores a significant event in Aotearoa’s recent history.

The last episode will be released on August 2.

The series was produced by Scottie Productions for Māori Television and made with the support of Te Māngai Pāho & NZ On Air.

Last updated on 28 July 2021

Congratulations to editors Annie Collins and Cushla Dillon who will have their work screened as part of the 69th edition of the Melbourne International Film Festival (Aug 5-22).

Annie edited feature film thriller Coming Home in the Dark, which will screen in cinemas and online. Cushla Dillon was the editor on drama The Justice of Bunny King, which will screen in cinemas on August 7 and August 9 as part of MIFF.

For us in Aotearoa, save the date for August 12. DEGNZ will be hosting a Film Talk for Coming Home in the Dark at Rialto Cinemas Newmarket in Auckland. Director James Ashcroft will be in attendance for a special Q&A. Get your tickets here.

Director Gaysorn Thavat will also join audiences and DEGNZ for a Rialto screening of The Justice of Bunny King on July 29, 6pm. More details here.

Last updated on 28 July 2021

The trailer for the highly-anticipated TVNZ drama series, The Panthers, has been released. The six-part series, two episodes of which have been directed by DEGNZ member Vea Mafile’o, is based on the Polynesian Panthers. Guild members Peter Roberts and Margot Francis were also editors on the series.

A group inspired by the Black Panther movement in the US, The Polynesian Panthers formed to fight the system and became history-making revolutionaries.

There is no release date yet for The Panthers on TVNZ 1 and TVNZ OnDemand, so keep an eye out.

Watch the trailer

Last updated on 29 July 2021