I come from a family where as far back as I can remember there has always been a high importance placed on being creative. Crafts and hobbies, painting and writing were all things that were not only encouraged but indeed there was always a role model to follow.

When I first started playing with photography, I found that seeing a picture and capturing that image in the camera were not as easy as first thought – so I sought learning. The more I learned, the more I explored – I joined local camera clubs and the Photographic Society of New Zealand (PSNZ) and haven’t looked back.

Since that time I served on the committee of Hutt Camera Club for several years, hosted two successful Central Regional Conventions for PSNZ (2009, 2014) and a successful PSNZ National Convention (HUTT2019).  I also served as a Councillor for the Photographic Society of New Zealand (PSNZ) from April 2015 to April 2019. I returned to PSNZ Council in 2021 and served as Vice-President and Councillor for events until 2023.  I am an accredited PSNZ Judge/Assessor for both Open and Nature images and have recently served a three year term on the selection committee for the NZ Camera book from 2020 to 2022. I have also served as the webmaster for the PSNZ website since 2015 and will be stepping down from this role in December 2023.

One of the early highlights of my journey with photography was being the principal photographer for the National Association of Women in Construction (NAWIC) Exhibition which opened in Wellington in 2012, traveled to Christchurch and Auckland before returning to be exhibited at Bowen House in Parliament Buildings in 2013. More recent highlights have been achieving  my AFIAP distinction in 2021 and my Fellowship (FPSNZ) distinction with the Photographic Society of New Zealand (PSNZ) in 2022.

I believe that to get the most out of something, be it a hobby or a passion, you have to give back as well. I do this in many ways as can be seen in the paragraph above, but along with that I enjoy helping others grow with their photography also.  I am always willing to share my passion for bird photography with anyone who will listen – I have run a PSNZ workshop as well as ‘in person’ and zoom presentations on bird photography for several photographic clubs both in New Zealand and overseas. My judging calendar is also full this year with both local, national and international events.

I still have many photographic goals ahead of me and am always learning new ways to achieve the images I want. Photography is more than a hobby for me now, it’s a passion, and I like to think that passion is transferred into my images.

Toya Heatley APSNZ
NAWIC Exhibition in Parliament Buildings - photo by Colin McDiarmid

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