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Spada Executive

The Spada Executive is comprised of leading New Zealand screen industry practitioners who volunteer their time to work on behalf of the members, and the wider New Zealand screen production industry.

Members of the eight-strong Executive, including the President, are nominated by the Spada membership and ratified at the annual Spada AGM (the number of seats up for election depends on the cycle of the Executive’s two-year terms).

At Spada’s AGM held on 1 November 2023, we welcomed returning Executive members Irene Gardiner (Spada President), Mick Sinclair, Dan Buckingham, and Andrew Szusterman. We also welcomed newly elected Executive member, Nicole Horan (Ngāti Maniapoto), CEO/Producer, Hi Mama Productions of Auckland. 

The newly elected Executive members join Karin Williams (Deputy President), Thomas Coppell,  and Paul Yates who have one year left to run on their two-year terms. Further details below:


Irene Gardiner copy Irene Gardiner (Spada President) - Executive Producer, Auckland

Irene is a long-time television producer and executive producer, with particular expertise in factual programming and documentaries. She is a former TVNZ Head of Commissioning and was the founding Content Director for the NZ On Screen website.

As well as being the current President of Spada, Irene is also a board member of RNZ, Able, Chamber Music NZ, and sits on the Greenlit NZ steering committee.

Irene is also a frequent commentator on media and screen issues on radio and television.


Karin headshot01 Karin Williams (Deputy President) - Producer: Multinesia Productions, Auckland

Karin began her career as a reporter at the Cook Islands News in Rarotonga, before going on to work for broadcast networks in New Zealand and the USA, including NBC and PBS.

Karin founded Multinesia Productions in 2004 to support and promote global indigenous storytelling. Since returning to Aotearoa in 2012, Karin has served as a Development Executive at the NZ Film Commission and works with Pasifika storytellers to bring authentic projects to the stage and screen.


Dan Profile Pic Thumb 1 Dan Buckingham - CEO: Able, Auckland

With a history in production, Dan's current focus is as CEO of Able, Aotearoa’s leading provider of media access services for TV, film, film festivals, and government, including captioning, subtitling, and audio description. Dan is also currently a board member for Drug-Free Sport New Zealand and Chair of the Disability Media Collective


Mick Sinclair Mick Sinclair - LLB Auckland LLM (London School of Economics): Sinclair Black, Auckland

With over 30 years in the entertainment industry, Mick is one of New Zealand’s most experienced entertainment law specialists. As the original founder of Sinclair Black in 1989, he has unrivalled experience in negotiating and drafting agreements in the entertainment, media, and sports industries; and in providing legal advice and opinions on the commercial and intellectual property issues that are unique to these fields.

Prior to founding Sinclair Black, Mick worked primarily in civil litigation and has continued in specialist areas of litigation such as intellectual property, defamation, and privacy. 


Andrew Szusterman edited Andrew Szusterman - Managing Director: South Pacific Pictures, Auckland

Before joining South Pacific as Managing Director in 2020, Andrew had a vast Broadcast career, starting as a Radio Announcer and Music Programmer for the ZM brand, prior to a 2-year stint as Head of Music for MTV UK and Ireland in the early 2000s.

Andrew's return to NZ saw him spending 18 years with MediaWorks, originally as a Programme Director for radio before taking his talent for curating content for young audiences and establishing the network’s free-to-air music channel, C4. In 2008, Andrew became Associate Director of Programming for then-sister Network Three, playing an integral role in introducing locally produced formats.

Andrew was Chief Content Officer at MediaWorks from 2014 until 2019, responsible for programming content across MediaWorks TV, radio, and digital platforms.


Thomas Coppell Thomas Coppell - Producer: Tomorrow, Rain, Wellington

Thomas Coppell (they/them) is a film and TV producer & storyteller passionate about empowering & amplifying the voices of under-represented humans, in and behind screen work. They have over a decade’s experience producing factual & scripted content for screens of all shapes and sizes, substantially for young people and the young at heart, and the rainbow community. Their producing credits include two NZIFF NZ’s Best Short finalists, most recently, teen drama Gate Crash (MIFF, 2023).

Thomas has also produced four NZOA-funded series; factual comedy ConspiraSeries (2022) for RNZ, and scripted series Happy Playland (2017), Tragicomic (2018), and Little Apocalypse (2023), which Thomas also co-wrote and co-created. Little Apocalypse was made for TVNZ+ and TVNZ2 and is New Zealand’s first children's drama by, for, and about rainbow young people.

Alongside their producing mahi Thomas is also a founding trustee of Proud Voices on Screen, and the Wellington Regional Manager for the 48Hours Film Competition.


Paul Yates 4 Head Paul Yates - Producer: New Zealand Documentary Board / Kitchen Table Productions, Wellington

Paul has over 30 years of experience in local television production as a writer, actor, and director, and has primarily focused as a producer in recent years. In addition to 4 seasons of hit local comedy 'Wellington Paranormal' created alongside Jemaine Clement and Taika Waititi, Paul has recently started production on the third season of the popular comedy-drama 'Under The Vines' for Acorn TV and TVNZ, as well as being EP for a couple of smaller online shows funded by NZ On Air this year, and a script consultant on the soon-to-be produced comedy/drama 'Miles From Nowhere' for Gibson Group.

Paul has been an active partner in four production companies over the years and is currently managing director of the New Zealand Documentary Board which produces 'Wellington Paranormal'.  He has recently formed The Kitchen Table Productions with Nick Ward and Michelle Turner which has projects in development in Aotearoa and abroad.

Nicole Horan Nicole Horan (Ngāti Maniapoto), CEO/Producer, Hi Mama Productions, Auckland

Nicole is the founder and managing director of Hi Mama Productions who leads the companies Development, Production and Post Production in conjunction with the wider team. Nicole is committed to capacity building the Māori production industry and has been at the forefront of Māori programming for over a decade, she is an advocate for diversity, New Zealand stories, and Te Reo Māori me ngā tikanga for all audiences. Responsible for Te Reo Māori inclusion in some of New Zealandʼs most watched shows, including ratings hit, Celebrity Treasure Island S1 (TVNZ2), All or Nothing: The New Zealand All Blacks (Amazon Prime), The Walkers (TVNZ2).

Highly experienced in observational documentary and Entertainment, Nicole has shifted her focus to scripted drama, over the past year her credits include, 
The Panthers (TVNZ1), Black Sea Golden Ladder: The Visual Album (Digital Release), and Far North (Discovery).