Fronting ‘Government and Nation’

Nigel Roberts and Stephen Levine

New theme editors, Nigel Roberts and Stephen Levine

The man who brought us David Lange, Jim Bolger, Helen Clark and John Key will now help bring us the Government and Nation theme of Te Ara.

Nigel Roberts has been an election night commentator on TV One for every election since 1987. Along with his colleague Stephen Levine, he will be joint theme editor for the seventh theme of Te Ara, which will examine the activities of government and the symbols of national identity.

Nigel Roberts and Stephen Levine have both been professors of political science at Victoria University of Wellington. They have worked together on projects since 1972. Their joint output consists of one book which they authored, six books where they were co-editors, and no less than 66 articles. They have particularly specialised on elections and the electoral system; and their most recent publication was Key to Victory, a collection of articles on the 2008 election.

Although both are very knowledgeable about New Zealand politics and government, their interests are not insular. Nigel Roberts has a special interest in Scandinavian electoral systems, and spent four months as the information officer and photographer at Scott Base. His photograph of the tail of the crashed DC10 on Erebus became the visual symbol of that tragic event. He is also a distinguished mountaineer. Of the highest mountains on the seven continents, he has climbed five.

Stephen Levine has written on Pacific Islands and Southeast Asian politics, and is a leading historian of the New Zealand Jewish community. He contributed the entry on Jews for Te Ara.  He also established the internship programme for political science students at the New Zealand Parliament, served several terms as editor of Political Science, and was a member of the Board of Fulbright New Zealand.

The two theme editors are now in the midst of their first big task – drawing up the entry list for the theme before we begin commissioning contributors. Next year the first entries about how we rule ourselves and express our nationhood will be appearing on Te Ara.

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