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The Drama New Zealand President's Award is to be given to a person who has had:

  • Significant long term service to Drama New Zealand: formerly known as NZADIE and drama/theatre education in New Zealand.

  • Significant service and commitment with their region – including service on association committee/boards and/or sub committees at either or both a Regional or National level

  • A contribution to drama/theatre education at a National and/or International level.

** This person may not be eligible for a Life Membership to the Association.


Lin Clark

Like the smartest of all octo-invertbrates, our recipient has her fingers in very many drama pies.

Unlike most octo-invertebrates she does not smother; rather: for the last half century (and some) she has nurtured, cradled, caressed, quietly shoved, and often poked and provoked today’s reality.

David Chambers recalls

“I just wanted to be in her gang. As an economics, accounting, geography and social studies teacher, I had been an active member of the subject associations, but they were nothing like the crazy gang that was having all the fun. Her drama gang was the best gang in town – NZADIE was going places and so I climbed on board and was smitten from the start by this dynamo of energy, vitality and dogged determination: Huge heart, massive smile, will of steel.”


Because of her on-going work, we have a sustainable, valued, validated drama curriculum in New Zealand schools in which students (akonga) are challenged to meet the national curriculum goals and principles, and in which they are measured by NZQA. Sure it’s not just down to her, but her persistence and her integrity have prevailed right through the huge curriculum and assessment developments, throughout the Tomorrow’s Schools era.

Our recipient has played a huge part in this development: she has been a great champion and a cautious critic of the NCEA process, because she has always seen it as a means to an end. “Students need to be given the chance to present and share work; and to receive informed comment both within the timetabled curriculum and beyond”.

So how did that happen:

  • She Intertwined threads and influence in community theatre and drama education which grew and spread regionally, nationally and internationally

In education:

  • Graduated MA Hons at what was then the University of New Zealand

  • Became HoD English (at Cashmere High) in the 70’s and soon added HoD Drama to the portfolio because she had directed countless one act plays and had “done” heaps of major (100+ kids) productions taking every spare minute from January to May …

  • Became passionate about drama performance as a teaching medium

  • Pushed and promoted drama production opportunities beyond her own school so that her kids could share their work in the community and so that all participants could receive informed comment about their work

    • High Schools Drama Festival

    • BNZ High Schools Drama Festival

    • Good Will Shakespeare Trust

    • Canterbury Young Shakespeare Company

    • Co-director National Shakespeare School (Globe Centre NZ)

David recalls how when the Arts Employment Scheme dried up and the High Schools’ Festival was in jeopardy, she announced,

“well, I’ll just go to the bank and get money out of them”

and … she did. Incidentally, that triggered a lifelong partnership and collaboration with her drama co-conspirator and greatest ally (but more of that later)

Onwards: she was

  • National Secretary for NZATE

  • Regional Secretary for NZADIE

  • Conference Committee organiser for 2 National Drama Conferences (Skillduggery and Close to the Edge)

  • Became Adviser in Secondary English /Drama, Support Services Christchurch College of Education

  • Became Lecturer in English/Drama Education, Christchurch College of Education 1995 onward which, in turn, led to:

    • Consultation contract MoE: drafting NZ Arts Curriculum

    • National panels and advisory groups writing and wrangling, writing and wrangling, writing and wrangling words, words, words to create National curriculum and assessment materials for Unit Standards and then Achievement Standards through into the new century

    • National facilitator for training teachers and moderators in Drama

    • Regional moderator NZQA

    • On-going National Assessment Panel Officer NZQA

    • Many presentations at conferences: NZ, UK, Norway

  • It was in this role she became principal advocate for and developer of the B.Ed (Performing Arts) degree course which was jointly run by Christchurch College of Education and the University of Canterbury – trained drama teachers sharing a common vocabulary, pedagogy and purpose.

Kerri Fitzgerald recalls alongside this

  • she was a professional director of professional and community theatre

  • As a committee member at Repertory Theatre, she got that grand old lady available as a playground for students to perform in.

  • Served 9 years on the Board Member of Court Theatre with responsibility for education

  • Along with her best buddy and co-conspirator, she created the Summer Shakespeare season which was subsequently taken up by the Christchurch City Council – memorable productions of The Shrew, The Dream, Romeo and Juliet and Wind in the Willows

  • Prolific writer of theatre reviews for The Press and latterly, Theatreview “keeping an eye on the grown ups too”.

  • The list goes on and on

It is her imagination and her ability to collaborate that has kept her going in this crazy drama world; always encouraging; always holding the banner high!

It is her flexibility about ways and means to attain and maintain the super-objective which is having drama recognised as a valid way of knowing and understanding.

It is her adherence to the Stanislavskian approach to objective/problem/action that has made her so effective in developing the place of drama … in education and in the New Zealand way of life.

She is eloquent, innovative, canny, persistent and above all lovingly generous to all who are touched, mentored and inspired by her.

Lin is such an advocate and visionary - she even set up the B. Ed Performing Arts - a joint degree between UC and CCE (Chc College of Eucation). At one point Lin invited me to be a guest tutor in Dance and left it pretty much to me to plan the content. During and after the first session, Lin supported me totally as I had students integrate ideas and knowledge about the Haka in a dance unit called THE CHALLENGE (which I believe is still available through TKI). She enabled me and strengthened my own resolve to work in a bi cultural context even though at the time it was not always encouraged. I am so grateful to have worked beside this wise woman.

Our teacher, our wise-head, (and Rozena Hallum’s best buddy): LIN CLARK


June Renwick


Passion, dedication, drive, energy, inspirational teacher and leader – these are comments left on June’s LinkedIn page

A stalwart of the Drama NZ scene who deserves recognition. June was a founding member of NZADIE and was the Secretary in the late 80’s and early 90’s . In this role Susan Battye the then Chair stated “she was very efficient and kept in touch not only with teachers but also with the Ministry of Education.”

She was very pro-active in promoting the development of qualifications for Drama in terms of 6th Form Certificate and more significantly she was the go to person for NZQA when it came to the development of Unit Standards and then NCEA Drama. If it wasn't for her work at this level Drama perhaps would look very different today? 

She was also our first National Moderator.


Her generosity in the cooking department – especially mussels and cheerful personality at any NZADIE event was most welcomed by all and sundry at Drama workshops and conferences. In fact June actually trained as a home economics teacher. Ruthe Kenderdine was at conference this year and when someone mentioned June’s name she stated @Mrs Renwick – she was my form1 manual teacher. Her memories of Mrs Renwick were that during production weeks, time was spent watching rehearsals instead of doing manual classes.

She was HOD at Selwyn College for over 30 years and left the school with an amazing legacy, she was frankly a bit of a legend for her passion and dedication.

Duncan Allen said -he first heard of this wonderful women in the late 80's at the University of Otago's Theatre Programme. Fresh out of Timaru and burning for the stage, I had followed my heart to the bright burning lights of Allen Hall where I quickly found a new home and new friends, among which were David Coltman & Sofia Duncan fresh out of Selwyn College and raving about this wonderful woman, mentor, director, creator and all round thespian diva delight called June Renwick. I was fascinated and intrigued and more than a little bit jealous - although I had enjoyed certain aspects of high school in Timaru - in the 80's - I certainly didn't recall the delights and theatrical adventures these two were reminiscing about - heck, we didn't even have drama as an option - I wasn't even aware Drama was a legitimate subject. But of course so much of what was happening at Selwyn and at other enlightened schools across NZ was because of adventurous dreamers and stubborn hard grafters like June who knew Drama was indeed a legitimate subject and a wonderful learning opportunity all students should be encouraged to explore. And so I quickly became firm and fast friends with David and Sophia and over the years heard many more wonderful stories detailing the delights of an innovative drama programme and an inspirational drama leader. Eventually I found myself in Auckland and one day in 1999, I found my way to Selwyn College and met this legend in reality with her brand new, hard won and beautiful Selwyn Theatre. I was hooked, and the rest, as they say is history and theatrics.

Her list of credits include

  • 30 years at Selwyn College
  • The formation of the Selwyn Tertiary Performing Arts Programme in 1995
  • The formation of the Selwyn Junior Performing Arts Programme in 2000
  • The transformation of the Performing Arts at Selwyn College, with the highlight of an annual school Musical each year along with a broad range of topical and challenging plays.
  • The establishment of Selwyn Community Arts Theatre in 2005 upon retirement.
  • Specialising in offering a broad range of members of the community the opportunity to collaborate creatively through the joys of musical theatre; SCAT has staged such musical gems such as Guys & Dolls, The Boyfriend, Me & My Girl, Spamalot, The NZ Premiere of The Drousy Chaperone, West Side Story, Oliver, Miss Saigon and many more
  • Teaching Drama for Kids through Selwyn Community Education - and guess what – we have heard that just last week leading up to the opening of Selwyn’s latest production ‘Dusty’ June’s Junior students were seen not in drama classes but instead watching rehearsals
  • Tackling the challenge of costuming many of the most recent Selwyn College shows; from Bye Bye Birdie to BatBoy, Little Shop Of Horrors to In The Heights, Hairspray to Ragtime and most recently stunning audiences with the most gorgeous gowns in Dusty.

June’s costumes are truly mind-blowing – and she recently has had a number of teacher’s through her house as she is selling off and decluttering…..this opportunity to purchase is not to be missed.

I truly hope that when I reach June’s age (80years) that I am still working in the field that I love just like June.


Evelyn Mann


Evelyn Mann presented by Drama New Zealand President Emma Bishop at 'All Aboard' - 2017 National Conference, Otago Boys High School, DUNEDIN

Evelyn is an incredibly insightful, passionate and dynamic woman. Her vibrancy and positivity are infectious and she inspires all those with whom she works, to strive for, and deliver, their very best. Evelyn empowers others to go forward through her generosity of spirit and the giving of her gifts. She is a “hands on” practitioner who is not afraid to explore new pathways and take people on a gentle journey of discovery. Evelyn is a treasure and her skills and talents have enriched the lives of many, no matter their age or ability. Her company is aptly named “Dramaworkz” and, in Evelyn’s expert hands, it does! Her interest in drama came from her work in Early Years education and developed through years with Playcentre then in formal study.  She has worked with researchers, teachers, students, in advisory roles to champion the arts and continues to this day.


One local teacher in Evelyn's drama workshops stated she was always impressed with how she was able to help people who were nervous about drama in education comfortable with it and receptive. She is skilled at connecting with people in a way that makes drama accessible. Within her work with Dramaworx she has continued this work with individual schools. Her work with ATCO and Sexwise has taken her into creating social justice and improving children's health, relationships and wellbeing through applied drama. She has gained accolades within Applied Theatre circles and also within the sexual health sphere.

Evelyn spent many years delivering the “Everyday Theatre” programme for Applied Theatre Consultants Ltd under the ownership of Peter and Briar O’Connor.  She was instrumental in the development of this programme which has received international acclaim and talked about in many a research article. Peter O’Connor was thrilled when she joined the Everyday Theatre team, who toured the length of the country working on the issues of family violence and child abuse.  He says,

Evelyn is a wonderful teacher.  If you want to see an expert in teacher in role, Evelyn is a star. And she is a pretty good boogie board surfer too after a few summers working in the Far North.  She is a passionate advocate for drama education and  even more importantly for young people.   I am so delighted that her life long devotion to our art form has been recognised.

Kia kaha, kia manawanui, nga mihi aroha a koe Southern Mann.

Another Everyday theatre colleague, Stephen Dallow, described her as one of the hardest working practioners he has ever had the pleasure of working with. Evelyn, he says, lived and breathed applied theatre and was always refining and evaluating her practice.  But his fondest memories are outside of the classroom, on tour for months on end in the motels and B&b’s in the most beautiful parts of New Zealand, sharing a glass of wine at the end of the day, re capping on the school of the day and laughing at the characters they had met on their journey.  Stephen is delighted to hear of this award today and sends a huge “Terminator Tane” hug to her!

Gareth McMillan worked extensively with Evelyn on Sexwise, a health promotion programme for rangatahi/youth throughout Aotearoa.  Evelyn became the Artistic Director of Sexwise in 2011, and was responsible for transforming the programme in accordance with the pedagogy she mastered while working for the Applied Theatre Consultants Ltd (ATCo), and her own company Dramaworkz. McMillan explains:

The transformation was stark; Evelyn's Sexwise is recognised by the health promotion sector, and the hundreds of education providers that have hosted the programme, as a catalyst supporting young people to experience healthier sexuality.  'Infotainment' and any message based methods of previous Sexwiseprogrammes were replaced with a narrative designed to enable student lead discussion of the sexuality issues they face. Evelyn is a passionate advocate for a wellbeing approach and avoids the deficit model sometimes presented to students.

Through her work with Sexwise she has not only made a positive impact on the lives of thousands of young people but enabled Teachers, student whānau, and school communities to experience the transformative possibilities of applied theatre.   Following professional external review, cultural advisory groups and extensive networking, Sexwise under Evelyn has become a pivotal cog in the field of sexual health promotion in New Zealand and highly regarded by the Ministry of Health. She is a cutting edge leader not just in the field of applied theatre but also in the health sector, working for the Southern DHB and serving on professional bodies including Promoters Advocating Sexual Health Aotearoa New Zealand (PASHANZ), and The New Zealand Sexual Health Society (NZSHS).

Evelyn has also contributed greatly to drama in the South Otago community as a director, actor, writer and committee member for South Otago Theatrical Society and Taieri Dramatic Society. A strong advocate for NZ theatre in small community theatres, she also contributed to community events, such as organising a street parade in Balclutha with up to 1000 school children on the road moving large artworks/masks etc celebrating the history of the region in order to commemorate the 150th (I think) of Otago.  She also created, directed and championed wearable arts shows for Rural Women's Week in South Otago.   Evelyn took drama to local schools as a private contractor with “Millie“ which was a Teacher In Role to explore bullying and other social development needs for schools.


Christine Morgan


Christine Morgan presented by Drama New Zealand President Emma Bishop at 'Meet me at the River' - 2016 National Conference, St Patrick's College, Silverstream, WELLINGTON

This year's recipient has been a part of the Arts community of New Zealand for a number of years and is a well-known face and contributor to both Drama NZ and Dance New Zealand.

She began as a teacher in Northland and went on to be an Arts Advisor in the region until these roles were disestablished.  However, since this time she has continued as an advisor in an informal capacity both within her own region and through out NZ.


She is a guru when it comes to NCEA – having been a huge part of the writing of standards, creation of resources and the realignments. Even though she is no longer an advisor we on DramaNet always know that her advice is all knowing and to be listened too…

I first meet this person when I was a second year teacher with first contract for Dance with NZQA. At this time she was working in both the dance and drama area. She often used to arrive at meetings with her own printer… always helpful and thinking further than what was the obvious. Her contributions to discussions are always well considered and look at multiple perspectives and challenge our thinking.

She is very loyal to DNZ and worked very hard in many capacities over the years to support the organisation and the people in it. She has served the association for a number of years as an exec member, regional rep, publications officer and from 2012-2013 was our National President. She has also represented the association at overseas conferences including Hong Kong in 2012.

So this is a much deserved award recognising the years of service to drama in education in NZ. I would like you to put your hands together for the 2016 Presidents award recipient Christine Morgan.


Kathryn Whillans


Kathryn Whillans presented by Drama New Zealand President Emma Bishop at 'Invigorate' - 2015 National Conference, Saint Kentigern College, AUCKLAND

This evening's award recipient left school and learnt shorthand so she could try out a few ‘normal’ jobs – accountant’s clerk was one- but she decided there had to be more.

She travelled to England and had the pleasure of working with Dorothy Heathcote for a year before returning to NZ to teach taking up an HOD’s position in Drama at a local Secondary school.

She became part of the first curriculum working group that was established in New Zealand which was later to become the New Zealand Association for Drama in Education or commonly known as NZADIE. She was a Drama NZ executive member and acted as Treasurer for 10 years.


This person was a significant contributor to the Drama course development during the 1980’s which first focused on third and fourth forms, (thirteen and fourteen year olds) within individual schools and sixth form certificate (sixteen and seventeen year olds) within individual schools as well as at a national level. She was one of the advisory writers of 6th certificate and then went onto be a leader within the process of creating unit standards then onto NCEA.

From the onset the person’s influence was in the background as a contractor to NZQA where for years she acted in a number of roles.

As an amazing mentor to many with many of her own students now being Drama teachers themselves, Glenfield College wrote on her retirement last year after 35years of service

“The Legend, that is Kathryn Whillans is retiring at the end of this year after over 35 years of dedicated service to Glenfield College and Drama education nationally. Former students also remembered their involvement with the drama department and the effect Kathryn had on their lives.“

I remember first meeting this person in my first year of teaching at a Kohia course, where she shared her ideas freely. I always found this person to be willing to mentor and guide and on a personal note I thank her for her on-going encouragement support and guidance and belief in me.

It is therefore with great pleasure that I present the 2015 Inaugural Presidents Award to Kathryn Whillans.