I have an unusual degree: a BA/BSc, majors Biology and French, from the University of Auckland. So I have a background in New Zealand ecology and conservation and I speak French!Having a background in science is particularly invaluable, as it’s great to have an understanding of how the natural world works, and humans’ relationship to it.A few years after completing my degree, and living and teaching in France, I re-trained in documentary directing and production at South Seas Film and Television School. Over the years, I worked in film and television research and production.My first role in the industry was PA for the feature film 30 Days of Night, and later I worked for the BBC for one of their ongoing television series filmed in NZ; I co-produced a documentary about a young woman returning to her birth country, Iran (Iran in Transit), worked on the publicity side of the award-winning documentary There Once was an Island: Te Henua e Nnoho; and did some archivist and translation work for the film Brother Number One. I have also had many other roles in television and film, but it’s a very difficult industry to find ongoing work in – and that challenge in itself teaches you many great skills – and so I eventually turned to the public sector.Currently, I work in community development for charities.
– Anne-Elise Smithson, The Green Party of Aotearoa