New Zealand Fan Organization Comments on CoNZealand

Science Fiction and Fantasy Association of New Zealand President John Toon released a statement criticizing CoNZealand for how the group’s Sir Julius Vogel Awards were featured, and saying that he hopes access to the award voter packet can be reopened.

About the SJV Awards ceremony he says:

As President of SFFANZ, I would like to thank all those who worked on and attended the Sir Julius Vogel Awards ceremony in Wellington on Sunday 26 July. The credit for organising this event belongs to Lynelle Howell, Kelly Buehler, Mel Duncan and many others. Thanks also to Lynelle and Jan Butterworth for all their work administering the SJVs.

However, I acknowledge that the editing of the footage of the ceremony as broadcast during CoNZealand could have been better. Most egregiously, Sascha Stronach’s acceptance speech for the award for Best Novel was cut off mid-sentence, and this was not acceptable. I personally apologise to Sascha.

In addition, five of this year’s winners – Gareth Ward, Matthew Willis, David Bishop, Alex Lindsay and Grace Bridges – were unable to attend the ceremony in person or remotely, and did not nominate anyone to collect the trophy on their behalf. The co-presenters acknowledged this during the ceremony and promised to send the trophies to the winners. This information was edited out of the broadcast programme, which could have led viewers to believe that some of the winners had been snubbed. I personally apologise to these five winners.

I also note that many have objected to the juxtaposition of the SJV Awards with the Retro Hugo Awards in CoNZealand’s schedule. SFFANZ understood and accepted the reasoning behind this decision but I accept that, in hindsight, the outcome was not the showcase for and celebration of contemporary New Zealand SFF and fandom that we had hoped it would be.

Toon also hopes that the SJA Award voter packet, which it was hoped would show off New Zealand’s sff to CoNZealand’s worldwide membership, can be made available again. A number of people have remarked in social media that they didn’t know about it.

Lastly, I note that some members of CoNZealand were unaware of the availability of the SJV voter packet during the voting period, and that some nominees and members have asked for it to be made available again to promote awareness of contemporary New Zealand SFF. SFFANZ has contacted all finalists to ask their permission to make their nominated material available again to CoNZealand members, where material was provided. The contents of the reissued SJV packet will, of course, be subject to the agreement of those finalists who consent to participate. CoNZealand has kindly agreed to host the reissued SJV packet via the Hugo Awards voter packet system, and will be contacting CoNZealand members with the relevant details.

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