Tag Archive for: Annie Collins

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I’ve just come off a Zoom with a bunch of articulate and intelligent students pursuing careers in the screen industry.

It prompted me to write about the ongoing work happening around the reform of vocational education that DEGANZ is engaged in.

Board member and editor Annie Collins has been driving a small group of individuals from some other screen sector organisations, our ongoing engagement with the Workforce Development Council Toi Mai, whose remit includes the screen industry. This group operates under the name of the Interim Screen Training Advisory Roopu or STAR.

At present, the focus of STAR and Toi Mai is on Below-The-Line roles—The crew shortages that occur when there are multiple domestic and international productions happening at the same time are a major issue. We need more people, better trained, so that there is good depth in trained crew and more of them when the need arises.

While Above-The-Line vocational training is also necessary, it’s not a priority at the present time. That will come.

The recent review of the New Zealand Screen Production Grant (NZSPG), now renamed the NZSP Rebate (NZSPR), also puts emphasis on vocational training with international productions, through the five per cent uplift available. The final criteria for International NZSPR is expected by November.

I emphasised to the students I was talking to, the need for ongoing upskilling of their craft once they get working. For directors and editors, this is available through the extensive professional development programme we offer. However, a lot of the work that STAR is doing with Toi Mai is focused on the content taught at the vocational education providers, before people enter the workforce. That content is tied into qualifications that are certified by the Tertiary Education Commission (TEC).

After a bumpy start more than two years ago, STAR (and its previous incarnation) has made some good progress now that Toi Mai is up and running. Toi Mai is doing a great job, and it’s become easier for the industry to feed into vocational education through them.

There’s still a lot more to do and there are many obstacles to overcome. Thankfully, we have strong screen industry experience on the Toi Mai board in Alice Shearman, Rhonda Kite and Victoria Spackman. They provide valuable insight and direction that helps Toi Mai do its work.

The micro-credential that Toi Mai is asking for feedback on (included in this newsletter) was in large part developed by STAR together with Toi Mai, with input from some other entities. It’s the first really visible example of the industry expressing its need and Toi Mai responding. If you could take the time to give your thoughts, it will help us to get that important introductory micro-credential up and running at vocational institutions, and allow us to move on to other important work.


Tui Ruwhiu
Executive Director 

The Post Production Documentary Lab is a one of a kind mentoring lab for director-editor teams working on long-form documentary projects in NZ.

Last year, DEGANZ was joined by director James Ashcroft and editor Annie Collins to discuss why they worked so well together on New Zealand thriller Coming Home in the Dark, and why trusting each other was an important factor. Enjoy this largely spoiler-free Q&A, moderated by DEGANZ member/director Rob Sarkies, on The DEGANZ Podcast.

Content warning:

  • This episode is for mature audiences only.
  • It contains references to abuse in state care.

Starring Daniel Gillies (The Vampire Diaries), Erik Thomson (The Luminaries), Miriama McDowell (Head High) and Matthias Luafutu (Ghost in the Shell), Coming Home in the Dark garnered rave reviews after premiering at Sundance 2021. It won Best Narrative, Best Director and Best Supporting Actor (Matthias Luafutu) at the Sitges International Fantastic Film Festival.

Coming Home in the Dark is on streaming platforms. Click here for a list on where to find it.

Coming Home in the Dark / Photo: Sandy Lane Productions

Legendary film editor and DEGANZ board member Annie Collins spoke to Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision about her work on PATU!, collaborating with trailblazing Māori filmmaker Merata Mita.

Annie recalls the unique challenges when it came to editing the documentary film, which records the anti-Apartheid protest that took place in New Zealand during the 1981 South African rugby tour. She explains that Merata Mita was certain that she wanted PATU! to serve as an historical document.

Annie also speaks about her own history in film and how she began her career as an editor in Aotearoa.

Watch the full interview

The vocational education system for all industries is undergoing massive reform right now. It’s come at a time when the New Zealand screen industry has been suffering from a lack of experienced workers due to the high levels of domestic and international production going on in the country.

It has also brought to the fore concerns about the lack of real-world preparation of students by film schools and media courses at tertiary education facilities. The industry needs workers to hit the ground running and that’s just not happening with the current levels of haphazard training that’s going on.

In 2018, the Government launched the Education Work Programme. One of the four reviews undertaken was the Reform of Vocational Education (RoVE), with the Tertiary Education Commission (TEC) tasked with undertaking structural change.

Six Workforce Development Councils (WDCs) were established to assist with the structural change. The Screen Industry falls under Toi Mai, the WDC for Creative, Cultural, Recreation and Technology.

A small number of guilds including DEGNZ have together with WeCreate (former Copyright Council), the Council of Trade Unions and others been working to ensure that our WDC is getting the right input so that the resulting vocational education is fit-for-purpose for the screen industry. Recent appointments to Toi Mai reflect our efforts to have people with screen industry knowledge and experience involved:

  • Alice Shearman of the New Zealand Writers Guild as a screen union rep
  • Aliesha Staples, founder and CEO of Staples VR and a TVNZ board member
  • Annie Murray, Head of Sky Originals at Sky
  • Jana Rangooni, former General Manager Radio Live and Newsroom and Group Programme Director at Mediaworks
  • Rhonda Kite, previously owner of Kiwa Productions and audio post house Native Audio
  • Victoria Spackman, ex CEO of the Gibson Group

Right now, guilds and associations are mapping out career pathways to identify the skills needed for each individual role. Determinations will be made as to whether or not apprenticeships are suited to certain roles, while others may require trainees.

We will be involved in creating Skill Standards building to micro-credentials for new entrants coming into the industry. The overall outcome is to have a simple, efficient and appropriate vocational education delivered via the various educational providers. At the same time we seek an administration system that suits the very unique nature of project-based work that happens in the screen industry.

DEGNZ board member Annie Collins is now leading the work on behalf of DEGNZ, SPADA, SIGANZ, SMSG and NZWG, all of whom have been active in this space for the last two years or so. We are now going out to everyone in the screen industry to bring them up to speed with what’s happening.

RoVE is a massive undertaking that will impact on every industry in New Zealand. For the screen industry, we have undertaken this work so that it can develop and grow its capacity and capability to service productions well into the future with skilled workers who have the right education and training to make a positive contribution from Day One.


Tui Ruwhiu
Executive Director