Dr Renee Liang

Consultant Paediatrician, Poet, Short Story Writer, Blogger and Playwright

Dr Renee Liang, a second generation Chinese New Zealander, is a consultant paediatrician whose research looks at human development trajectories from early life to adolescence.

Renee is also a widely published poet, short story writer, blogger and playwright – her plays Lantern, The First Asian AB and The Bone Feeder have played to sold-out audiences at festivals nationwide and been critically lauded. Renee’s multidisciplinary background allows her to meet a wide range of people and support positive community development.

Renee leads the Asian Advisory Group for Growing Up in New Zealand – a longitudinal study designed to gather information to improve the lives of New Zealand children.  The internationally recognised project, now in its fifth year, is intended to provide important information to a wide range of groups on the health, social and educational needs of our children and to feed directly into policy. Renee also works in Australia and New Zealand as a consultant locum paediatrician, serving both metropolitan and rural areas.

Renee is a multidisciplinary artist, having written in many genres including short and long fiction, poetry, theatre, non fiction, blogging and arts journalism.  She has also collaborated on visual arts works, film and music, produced and directed theatre works, worked as a dramaturge, taught creative writing and organized community-based arts initiatives. Her poetry and short stories have appeared in a number of anthologies and journals and, along with her plays, is taught at secondary and tertiary level.

Renee believes strongly that linking across communities strengthens society as a whole.  For the past three years she has collaborated with Auckland Council to bring New Kiwi Women Write Their Stories, a writing programme for migrant women, to various communities in Auckland, resulting in the publication of three thought-provoking anthologies to date (New Beginnings).

She is a driving force of initiatives such as Metonymy- which aims to spark creative collaborations by ‘blind dating’ artists from different disciplines; Funky Oriental Beats- propelling Kiwi Asians into the burgeoning arts scene in Auckland; and the Guerilla Poets, who demystify literature by literally bringing poetry onto the streets. She’s known as both a performer and organiser of poetry events.  As an Asian New Zealander she often uses her writing to provide cultural commentary and spark discussion.  Through her blog on The Big Idea, Renee profiles emerging artists and community initiatives.

Renee’s ability to bring people together was reflected in her selection in 2010 for the Emerging Pacific Leaders’ Dialogue – an initiative to strengthen the capacity of the Pacific region’s future leaders to manage challenges collaboratively, positively and creatively.  Renee visited Samoa, Fiji and Tonga to share information and forge networks.  She now works with fellow alumni to find ways to benefit the region.

As well as her medical degrees and specialist qualification as a Fellow of the Royal Australasian College of Physicians, Renee also holds a Master of Creative Writing from the University of Auckland, and has recently graduated with a Postgraduate Diploma in Drama Studies.  She was recognised as a Sir Peter Blake Emerging Leader in 2010, and won the prestigious Royal Society Manhire Prize for Creative Science Writing in 2012. She was also the recipient of the NZ Chinese Society (Auckland Branch) Senior Achievement award in 2012. She sits on the University of Auckland Society Executive and is a member of Westpac’s External Stakeholder Sustainability Panel.