Central Districts Branch

Central Districts Branch has a membership spread across a wide geographical region – from Gisborne to Napier, Manawatu, Otaki, Whanganui to New Plymouth. We currently have around 127 members.

Events happen in urban centres throughout the region, and range from writers’ meetings, speaker events, workshops and competitions through to involvement in arts festivals and other events in the wider literary and arts scene. Because we are so widely spread we try to encourage local meetings as a way of providing a forum for members to discuss issues relating to their careers and to expand their knowledge. We meet officially as a Branch for the AGM – April/May – and at other times through the year, shifting the venue around the region (if you’re interested in hosting, let us know!) … but to ensure we can meet the needs of all our members we are building an online presence on facebook (https://www.facebook.com/NZsAuthorsCentralDistrictsBranch) as well as here on the NZSA website.

Hubs – local groups of writers – are well established in Havelock North and Palmerston North, and newly in Gisborne and Whanganui – come along to your local hub and gain the benefits of discussion, camaraderie, shared experience and support. And if there isn’t a group close to you, think about setting one up!

Your Life in Flavour Essays – Central District branch’s 2022 winter essay competition

Central District branch’s winter essay competition had nine entries on the topic of ‘Your Life in Flavour – writing about food’.  There were as many approaches in style as there were flavours, and although not a landslide of entries, there was enough variety to keep judge Sue McCauley testing her tastebuds.

Winner was NZSA member Ian Hosford of Hastings with his essay ‘What I learned before I was nineteen‘, which is definitely not about haute cuisine.  “Here we have food as a means of survival, and the perspective such an experience inevitably offers in the years that follow,” commented judge Sue McCauley.

Runners up were Stephanie Till of Havelock North (a former member) with ‘Sharp Memories of Taste’, a memoir, rich in detail and sprinkled with recipes, and Meg Norris of Palmerston with ‘Sweet Tooth’ an understated account of food’s capacity to delight but also damage and demonise. 

A highly commended was awarded to a young Gisborne writer still at high school.  Selina Mill is 14 and her story ‘Zopf’ was entered by her teacher, and had the judge’s tastebuds quivering with “it’s charmingly original and thoroughly visceral approach”.  It was some 50 words short of the minimum requirement otherwise it would have been placed.

It was a pleasure to see the highest number of entries were from Gisborne writers with a good variety of essays.  Our thanks to Sue for her time reading the essays and making a decision.

Central Districts Summer Essay Competition Results

Central Districts’ Essay 2021/2022 summer Competition – Where I live celebrates the wonder and diversity of the region.  Essays could be about a local person or place and were judged by David Hill.

FIRST PLACE went to Palmerston North writer Anna Sophia with her essay @42.

HIGHLY COMMENDED were Shelley Burne Field from Takapau with The Shape of Me, and Miriam Sharland from Palmerston North with Westerly.


Branch Chair: Susan Wylie
Secretary: Robyn Salisbury
Treasurer: Mikaela Nyman

Regional Delegate: Tess Redgrave

Contact Central Districts Branch

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