Board Members

The NZ Game Developers Association is a not-for-profit organisation run by a diverse group of game developers from around New Zealand.

Candidates were elected at the Annual General Meeting of the NZ Game Developers Association in November 2020.

Enquiries can be directed to Chairperson Chelsea Rapp (chairperson@nzgda.com) and the Board Members (info@nzgda.com).

Chairperson

Chelsea Rapp

Chelsea is the current Chairperson of the New Zealand Game Developers Association.

She is currently a Producer at CerebralFix, a primarily work-for-hire game studio in Christchurch with a client list that includes DreamWorks, Pixar, Disney, and Universal. Having worked in everything from product development and corporate fundraising to cross-functional project planning and government policy, she brings to the New Zealand games industry more than a decade of production, project management, and operations experience.

She is passionate about building healthy, inclusive work cultures by helping team members to develop the interpersonal skills they need to be better leaders, communicators, and problem solvers. As Chairperson, she works closely with the community to find new ways to bring the studios of New Zealand together to work on shared goals: attracting top-tier talent, improving the global visibility of our studios and games, and increasing public and private investment in the New Zealand games industry.

Board Members

Lance Burgess

Lance is the current Secretary of the New Zealand Game Developers Association.

Lance has worked in the industry for over 20 years when he started part-time looking after the finances of a fledgling PikPok. From 2004, he became the Director of a mid-size firm of Chartered Accountants, and in that capacity supported many businesses and not-for-profits with advice and accounting services. He had other clients in the industry until he ceased that role and went to PikPok as CFO in 2018.

Carl Leducq

Carl is a Game Developer & Content Creator currently working as a Production Coordinator for Rocketwerkz on Survival game Icarus. Over the last 6 years he has gained experience working as a QA Tester & in Production for projects at Weta Gameshop & Gameloft New Zealand.

On the side he is the Podcast Host of Zero to Play, a Weekly Game-Development & Gaming focused show where he interviews guests all throughout the industry and challenges them on topics relating to the future of the medium and how they will play a part in all of our lives.

With a passion to understand, build & develop the growing NZ Gaming Industry, Carl aims to bring his skills as a Content Creator & Project Manager to his role on the NZGDA board to help foster the growth of this passionate community of developers.

Ben Tuhoe Kenobi

Ben worked for many years on the NZGDA Board and served as chair for one term. He has organized of the AKLgamedev Meetups, NZGDC and Kiwijam over several years.

Ben is now CTO and product manager for ARA Journeys and consults on products, services and events using an anti-disciplinary design approach to the engagement design.

Graduating from The University of Auckland with a Bachelor of Architectural Studies, Ben went on to complete a Masters of Art & Design in the area of computer game environment and narrative design with AUT University.

He has created, developed and taught on computer game, architecture, drawing, digital and spatial design courses at Unitec, AUT and The University of Auckland. After completing a Masters in Art and Design in the area of game environment design and story implementation he worked for 2 years as a game designer at Gameloft Auckland.

Hannah Mackintosh

Hannah is an artist at CerebralFix, a Studio based in Christchurch. You may have seen her around, helping to organize the Christchurch Game Developers Meetup. Quickly approaching her fourth year in the industry, she is eagerly looking to see how she can help share her experience and connections to help the industry grow in positive ways.

As a board member, she hopes to support the growth of our other meetups around the country, and continue the sharing of knowledge. She also hopes to improve our diversity and inclusivity in the New Zealand game industry by reaching out to schools and other programs, and seeing how we can support these areas to encourage more women, POC, and LGBT+ members into joining and feeling safe and included in game industry environments.

Stephen Knightly

Stephen is Managing Director of serious games, mixed reality and gamification studio InGame in Auckland. Stephen has made serious and educational games for TVNZ, Civil Defence, ACC, University of Auckland, NZ Fire Service, Dairy NZ and more, and spoken on educational games at TEDXAuckland, ULearn and other conferences. He has been a mentor for the Lightning Lab accelerator programme, Startup Weekend and the Kiwi Game Starter.

He has also worked in marketing locally and in Europe for the likes of Xbox, MTV Games, Microsoft, Facebook, IBM and local game studios including Grinding Gear Games. He is also a director of tech marketing agency Pursuit PR. Stephen represents the NZGDA on the advisory groups for creative industries coalition WeCreate and the Serious Games Australia & New Zealand Association.

Johnson Witehira

Johnson Witehira is a co-founder and creative director at IDIA, a company that focuses on indigenous design and innovation by working with some of our biggest government agencies and companies. Johnson is also a co-founder of Āpōpō, Wellington’s first and only accelerator for indigenous designers.

Johnson has a strong background in the Creative and Digital Industries and is recognised as a leading expert on both Māori and contemporary New Zealand design. In the 15 years prior to his work at IDIA Johnson worked across the creative sector working as an artist, designer and academic. At a higher level Johnson has also acted as a panel advisor for NZQA on the development of a number of creative degrees and design programmes in Aotearoa.

Johnson’s involvement in the games industry began in 2015 when he partnered with Gamefroot to develop “Adeventures in Māori-land”, a provocative game that explores the history of settlement in Aotearoa through two playable characters; a Pacific warrior and a missionary. Since then Johnson has continued to be involved with the NZGDA, actively supporting the development of cultural guidelines as well as presenting at a number of the NZGDC.

Lucas Haley

Lucas has been in the media and game industries since the late 90s, wearing a bunch of different hats from traditional animation to game programming. He is deeply interested in exploring the ethics of gameplay, the manners in which youth engage with game, and representation in game and related media.

For the last ten years or so he has dedicating his time and energy to helping to educate the next generation of game developers, both in the US and in Wellington at Massey University. He is passionate about supporting the development of new and existing talent, fostering a world-class game dev ecosystem here in New Zealand, and making sure our industry is both externally promoted and represented, and internally diverse, respectful, and supportive.

Mead Robertson

“Mead is a QA Tester for Pikpok, who studied 3D animation and game development at Massey and Weltec. She has been involved in the New Zealand games community for five years. She is a big supporter of helping students get into the industry, and has assisted with game dev workshops at both Victoria and Massey Universities, as well as provided high school outreach. She has also been a volunteer and an MC at the NZ Games Festival, and a participant in the 2019 Wellington cohort of the Working Lunch mentorship program.

As a current member of the board, Mead has used her position to help promote independent studios and developers. She has organised and run booths for NZ game developers to showcase their work at the 2019 and 2020 Armageddon Expos in Wellington, Christchurch, Tauranga, and Auckland. Mead also ran the Indie Showcase at NZGDC 2019. She is keen to continue this work in 2021, and to get more involved with mentorship programs that can help indie developers in New Zealand.”