NZSA CompleteMS recipients of 2021


Jane Arthur

Jane Arthur lives in Wellington, where she is co-owner and manager of a small independent bookshop. She was the recipient of the Sarah Broom Poetry Prize in 2018, judged by Eileen Myles. Her first poetry collection, Craven (VUP, 2019) won the 2020 Jessie Mackay Prize for Poetry (MitoQ Best First Book Award) at the Ockham New Zealand Book Awards. She was a judge for the NZ Book Awards for Children and Young Adults in 2019 and 2020.

In 2020, Jane received an Emerging Writers Residency from the Michael King Writers Centre, where she worked on her children’s novel about accepting people for who they are, expecting the most of ourselves, and the difficulties and rewards of friendship. Jane is looking forward to the assessor’s constructive outside perspective on this manuscript.




Ruth Bayley

Ruth Bayley was born and raised in Nelson and currently lives in Auckland. She completed a Master of Creative Writing at the University of Auckland in 2015 and a chapter from the novel was longlisted for the First Pages International Prize in 2020. She is delighted to have been selected for the NZSA’s CompleteMS Assessment programme.





Scott Butler

Scott Butler was born on an air-force base in Blenheim. He’s of Ngāti Kahu descent and lives in Tāmaki Makaurau. Having a career in advertising and being a fan of film cemented his love for popular culture. He studied story structure and development through the Writer’s Studio in Sydney. Scott’s drawn to dark stories filled with calamity, black humour and twists. He writes contemporary fiction, with Suspense/Thriller being his genre of choice. He has self-published two novels Drive 2015, and The Security 2020. He was fortunate to have secured an NZSA Mentorship in 2020, which he used to work on his third novel.

Scott’s thrilled to have received the 2021 NZSA CompleteMS Assessment to develop this work, which deals with the psychology of loss, tattoos and freedom.




Sarah Ell

Sarah Ell is an Auckland-based writer and editor who has published 11 books for adults and children, including Lost Wonders: Vanished Creatures of Aotearoa (2020), which she wrote as the recipient of an NZSA/Auckland museum research grant. A trained journalist, she has worked extensively in book and magazine publishing, including as a commissioning editor for Random House. She has freelanced for the last 11 years, working on a range of writing, editing and project management assignments.

Sarah has a BA in History, and a Master of Creative Writing from Auckland. She began writing her project for assessment, The End of the Earth, as her MCW project – a historical novel based around a disparate cast of characters gathered at Te Wairoa village in the days leading up to the catastrophic Tarawera eruption of 1886.




Manuia Heinrich

Manuia Heinrich is a French Polynesian educator, writer, and PhD candidate. She’s passionate about languages, mythologies, and writing stories grounded in her homeland and cultures. One of her young-adult manuscripts was selected for the Write Mentor program in 2020, and another for the We Need Diverse Books mentorship 2021 with Dhonielle Clayton and Varsha Bajaj. Rava, one of her short stories, was a finalist in a competition by the Samoa Observer in 2020. As co-founder of Apipit, a pitch event for Asian and Pacific Islander creators, she aspires to help underrepresented voices be heard in publishing. She is grateful to be a recipient of the NZSA MS Assessment programme.





Melanie Kwang

Melanie Kwang is a first-generation Taishanese-New Zealand writer from Christchurch. After studying English and Screen Production at the University of Auckland, she completed the Master of Creative Writing there in 2018. She writes of family, diaspora, and coming of age.

Melanie is currently working on her debut collection of short stories, Fault Lines, centred on migrant and first-generation Chinese-New Zealanders, and the liminal space they occupy between cultures. Her work has been featured in The Three Lamps, Ko Aotearoa Tātou: We Are New Zealand, and A Clear Dawn: New Asian Voices.





Kate Mahony

Kate Mahony has an MA in Creative Writing from Victoria University’s International Institute of Modern Letters. She began the Master’s intending to write a short story collection but graduated with a novel, a long-held dream. She also writes short stories and flash fiction. These have been published in anthologies and journals such as The Best New Zealand Fiction, Bonsai: Best small stories from Aotearoa New Zealand, Headland, Mayhem, Takahē, Fiction Kitchen Berlin, NY Litro, Blackmail Press, and Fictive Dream. A number of her stories have been longlisted and shortlisted in international competitions including The Journey for the Fish Short Story Competition (Ireland) in 2015. Being invited to read it at the West Cork Literary Festival in Ireland the country her father grew up in was a proud moment. In recent years she has returned to writing a novel. The assessment programme will provide an opportunity to put the finishing touches to this novel as it has been something of a challenge to write given that it is set in several time periods and three countries (Ireland, Australia, and New Zealand).



Tess Redgrave

I am a trained journalist and have worked as a writer and editor for many publications including Reader’s Digest, North & South magazine and for many years as editor of the University of Auckland’s alumni magazine Ingenio. I have published a non-fiction book going the distance: women outdoors in New Zealand (Tandem Press 2002) and my debut novel Gone to Pegasus (Mākaro Press) was a finalist in the 2018 NZ Heritage Awards. I have a particular interest in New Zealand’s history and most of my writing, both fiction and non-fiction, is now focused in this area. My current project sets out to explore and untangle the impact of intergenerational mental illness – much of it hidden in history – down one bloodline of my family.





Jillian Robinson

Jillian Robinson is originally from Napier and now lives in Ōtaki. For many years she worked in the social services as a social worker and counsellor. Following her retirement she realised a long held dream to explore the world. She wanted to learn about other cultures and different ways of life, which she did. But, ultimately, she learned more about herself. She blogged about some of her experiences at  She also tweets spasmodically @jillscene.

Jillian Robinson is a graduate of the Whitireia Creative Writing Programme, and past chair of the Central Districts Branch of NZSA. Under the pen name Fay Cameron, several of her short stories have been placed in competitions and published in the 4th Floor Online Journal. She is thrilled to have her novel, One Photo, Twice, accepted for the The NZSA Manuscript Assessment programme.




Rachel Smith

Rachel Smith is an Ōtautahi based writer. Her flash and short fiction, and poetry, has been widely published in Aotearoa and overseas including Bonsai – Best small stories from Aotearoa New Zealand, Best Microfiction 2019 and The Best Small Fictions 2020.

She placed second in the National Flash Fiction Day competition in 2017 and has been shortlisted for Bath Flash Fiction Award and Reflex Fiction. She was fiction editor at takahē in 2017-18, and is presently part of the editorial team at Flash Frontier.

Rachel has been many things including a radiation therapist, teacher, journalist and policy writer, and now works in a school library and as a freelance journalist, as well as writing every chance she gets. She has lived in many places of which her absolute favourite is the Cook Islands, in part due to the joy of reading the work of young writers when judging the Cook Islands’ Writing Competition.

She is currently working on a novel filled with darkness and drama and is very thankful to be a recipient of the NZSA manuscript assessment which will allow her to further develop this work. Photo by Raymond Sagapolutele


Helen Waaka

Helen Margaret Waaka (Ngāti Whātua, Ngā Puhi, Ngāti Torehina) completed a Graduate Diploma in Creative Writing at Whitireia in 2011. Her stories have featured in the Huia 9,10, 11 and ‘Ngā Hau e Wha – Stories on the Four Winds’ anthologies. Her debut collection of interconnected short stories ‘Waitapu’, published in 2015 by Escalator Press was a finalist in the Te Tuhinga Auaha category of the Ngā Kupu Ora Māori Book Awards in 2016. Helen was awarded a Michael King emerging Māori writer’s residency in 2018 where she completed the first drafts of a novel, the sequel to ‘Waitapu.’ Many of her stories draw on her time spent working in Women’s Health exploring issues such as the intergenerational impact of family violence. She currently works part time as a nurse in Tamatea ki Te Matau-a-Māui. She is honoured to receive a CompleteMS Assessment from NZSA and will use it to progress her novel. Her days off are spent gardening, reading, biking and spending time with her mokopuna.




Jane Woodham

Jane Woodham is a writer of long and short fiction, born in London and currently living in Dunedin, New Zealand.

In 2016 her first novel, Twister, originally published by Rosa Mira Books, was shortlisted for the Ngaio Marsh First Novel Crime Award. Jane is a founder-member of the Dunedin Detection Society with Finn Bell, Liam McIlvanney, Karen Trebilcock, Vanda Symon and Paddy Richardson.

In 2017 she produced for Otago Access Radio a fifteen-programme series Charlie’s Angels; Twenty-Four Years of Writing Together, which she launched at the Dunedin Writers and Readers Festival.

Jane’s short stories have been shortlisted for the BNZ Katherine Mansfield Short Story Competition, and published in Smoke; A London Peculiar, JAAM and the Otago Gaily Times. She is currently working on her second crime novel based in Dunedin featuring her popular Detective, Senior Sargant Leo Judd.



Anna Woods

Anna Woods’ writing has been published in a variety of journals and anthologies including Landfall, takahē, Geometry and Ko Aotearoa Tātou | We Are New Zealand. She has completed three novel manuscripts. The first, Bird’s Nest, was longlisted for the Michael Gifkins Prize for an Unpublished Novel (2021). The second, Apple Moon, was completed with the support of a NZSA mentorship (2019) and is currently under literary representation. The CompleteMS Assessment will help her finalise her latest manuscript, King Tide.