Friends

The Friends of Randell Cottage support the work of the Randell Cottage Writers Trust. We help with the needs of the resident writers, carry out fundraising for maintenance and furnishings, promote upcoming events like the annual Open Day and writers’ talks, and build community support for the work of the Trust by maintaining links with similar groups in the arts, literary and local communities.

Around Open Day (usually held in conjunction with Wellington Heritage Week in late October or early November), you’ll find many of us in the Cottage gardens helping our part-time gardener prepare for this special annual event. And on the day, Friends join in guiding and hosting visitors to the Cottage. Open Day is a wonderful chance for the public and members to visit this historic home, learn about its past and discover more about the literary magic going on right under our noses!

Join the Friends

Read our 2020 Annual Report.
See our founding Rules.

Committee

President

Leslie Brown is a Teaching Fellow in Taxation at Te Herenga Waka / Victoria University of Wellington. He holds an LLB(Hons) from VUW. Before retiring from full-time work at the university Leslie’s research specialised in aviation and he was the lead author for the Brooker’s (now Thomson Reuters) loose-leaf text “Aviation Law”. As an owner of an historic 1897 villa, himself, Leslie has a long-time connection with and passion for the restoration and preservation of Wellington’s architectural heritage.

Treasurer

Tracey Schuyt graduated from Te Herenga Waka / Victoria University of Wellington with a Bachelor of Commerce in the 1990s. She has worked as a Chartered Accountant and held Treasurer and committee positions with numerous community-based organisations. In 2012 she completed a Graduate Diploma in English Literature, and in 2018, a Master of Arts in Creative Writing at the International Institute of Modern Letters. She is an avid supporter of and enthusiastic participant in the Wellington writing scene.

Secretary

Robyn Skrzynski is a graduate of Te Herenga Waka / Victoria University BA in international languages, Robyn spent a year in France and Poland before returning to the teaching scene in Wellington in the 70s. She was a member of Alliance Française (AF) and an office holder on the committee for thirty years before retiring. As an Oral Historian, Robyn interviewed members of AF as part of the AF Centenary Oral History project in 2008. In 2010, Robyn was made a Life Member of the Goethe Society Wellington and the New Zealand Association of Language Teachers. Her passions are gardening, opera and playing tennis.
Fiona Kidman credit Robert Cross
Dame Fiona Kidman DCNZM OBE is a Wellington writer. She has written over 30 books, including the prizewinning novel This Mortal Boy, winner of the Acorn Prize for Fiction (Ockham New Zealand Book Awards, 2019), the Ngaio Marsh Award for Best Crime Novel, NZ Booklovers Prize for Fiction and the NZ Heritage Prize for Historical FictionHer latest work, All the Way to Summer: Stories of Love and Longing, was released in March 2020. Her work is translated into several languages. Fiona is a Trustee Emerita of the Randell Cottage Writers Trust. As a Katherine Mansfield fellow, she lived in Menton, France, in 2006, and travelled the country with a contingent of New Zealand writers promoting New Zealand literature. She is a recipient of Légion d’honneur (French Legion of Honour) and is a Chevalier de l’ordre des arts et des lettres.

Sian Robyns is a Wellington-based translator and writer with a background in journalism and political and strategic communications. She is currently a PhD candidate in Literary Translation Studies at Te Herenga Waka / Victoria University of Wellington. Her short stories have been published in the e-journal Headland. A Tale of Love. Sian’s translation of Conte de l’amour bifrons by Linda Lê was published by Mākaro Press in 2017.

Gillian Cameron is a founding trustee of the Randell Cottage Trust and former President of the NZ Poetry Society.

She has a lifelong love of literature and the arts. She enjoys writing, mostly essays and poetry. Born and raised in Tūranganui-a-Kiwa (Gisborne) she has lived many years in Te Whanganui-a-Tara (Wellington) which is now also her ‘heart’ home.

Susan Stevens is a graduate of Te Herenga Waka / Victoria University BA. and Massey University MA Admin, worked as a teacher for many years in NZ, Canada, England and Australia. She held the position of Principal of St. Mary’s Diocesan School, Stratford, and was later in charge of graduate students at Teachers’ College at Victoria.

Susan volunteers at Samuel Marsden Collegiate as a reader/writer for special needs students.

Tim Gruar is a project professional by day and a freelance journalist and reviewer by night. He writes, reviews and photographs for music and theatre websites (including www.ambientlight.co.nz), contributes to The Huttzone on Wellington Access Radio and www.groovefm.co.nz.

He is actively involved in Wellington and Lower Hutt theatre – both on stage and behind the lighting desk. And he also runs and writes for the Groove Book Report, a website dedicated to local writers and reading.