Bloggers

Jock Phillips

Jock Phillips

Jock Phillips was General Editor of Te Ara. A good keen man, Jock is also the author of A man’s country? and other published works in New Zealand history. He took up the gauntlet to create the world’s first born-digital national encyclopedia after many years as a historian teaching at Victoria University of Wellington (where he founded the Stout Research Centre) and serving as chief historian for the Ministry for Culture and Heritage.

Basil Keane

Basil Keane

Basil Keane (a good Keane man) is the Ministry for Culture and Heritage’s Director, Māori Digital Projects. With degrees in law and Māori studies, Basil makes a major contribution to morning teatime controversies, as well as overseeing all Te Ara content from a Māori perspective, and writing on many subjects. Basil took his glasses off for the photo so he wouldn’t look quite so brainy.

Vivacious, heck.

Vivacious, heck

Designer Julia Vodanovich brightens our days at Te Ara with a joie de vivre that verges on the pathological, and an irresistible smile. She can even see a funny side in insect life-cycle diagrams, and her brutal honesty about the vicissitudes of a modern gal’s life has us all clutching our sides (or our heads). Julia has an immense fund of quirky knowledge and is a keen quizmistress. She keeps us on our intellectual toes most mornings with the newspaper’s daily brain-teaser.

Helen on her days off

Helen on her days off

Helen Rickerby was a production editor at Te Ara.

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Caren in the tropics

Caren in the tropics

Caren Wilton is a production editor at Te Ara when she’s not journeying to obscure parts of provincial New Zealand or sweltering among the exotic delights of Bangkok and its fragrant klongs. She’s a writer and oral historian as well, and now a fledgling filmmaker.

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Marguerite in action

Marguerite in action

Marguerite Hill was a resource researcher at Te Ara, until leaving us for southern climes and the museum world. Marguerite came to Te Ara from Te Papa and knows where the bodies are buried. As well as telling us weird stuff about weird stuff at that institution, she can frighten the unsuspecting with her enormous knowledge of film, TV and popular culcha, much of this based on a disturbingly large DVD collection. She gained the admiration of her colleagues for being Te Ara’s most organised researcher (who said that’s not saying much?). And she kept us chirpy with her cheerful attitude in adversity and grace under pressure.

Mark Derby was a writer for Te Ara, and keeps himself pretty busy as a writer and historian, among other things. One of his recent books is Kiwi Compañeros: New Zealand and the Spanish Civil War.

Matthew Oliver is the manager of the Web Team at Manatū Taonga – the Ministry for Culture and Heritage.

Mel at her desk

Mel at her desk

Melanie Lovell-Smith, Te Ara’s Senior Resource Researcher, knows where the bodies are buried. She wears the mantle of her illustrious relatives lightly, and has successfully run the gauntlet of working with historians (amongst whose number she sometimes counts herself). This of course makes Te Ara’s crew of misfits a doddle to deal with. She now wrangles librarians, museum curators, animal-disease perverts and long-distance swimmers in her mission to secure the best possible images and other media for Te Ara.

Andy Palmer was a part-time copyright administrator for Te Ara. He also works as a photographer.

Nancy Swarbrick is Te Ara’s senior editor, who keeps the project, and other Te Ara staff, on track and on time. She’s also a keen rose grower.

Nice tie, Ben

Nice tie, Ben

‘Gentle’ Ben Schrader was one of Te Ara’s writers, and was theme editor (along with Malcolm McKinnon) for Te Ara’s Economy and the City theme. His qualifications for this role included some years examining and participating in café society in Melbourne. He may also be the only person in the world who considers Naenae to be up there with Brasília as one of the wonders of the civilised world and a triumph of urban design. His intimate and detailed knowledge of state housing has put him on the literary map, and he has an up close and personal familiarity with the multiple hazards of urban living, particularly regarding the frangibility of plate glass and the brutality of children’s playgrounds.

Kerryn Pollock

Kerryn Pollock

Despite her rural upbringing, writer Kerryn Pollock joined the Te Ara team too late to contribute to The Settled Landscape theme. Instead she’s written about the city and the economy, and prepared the regional coverage of Hawke’s Bay._
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Peter on his first day at work

Peter on his first day at work

Peter Clayworth was a writer for Te Ara. He is a freelance historian, and sometimes in summer he can be found cruising the oceans, entertaining the shell-suits with tales of historical derring-do and Pat Hickey.

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Kristy with her other project

Kristy with her other project

Kristy Mayes is the lead designer for Te Ara and other MCH web projects.
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He’s so negative

He’s so negative

Ross Somerville was Te Ara’s production manager.
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Shy and retiring

Heath Sadlier is a former Te Ara lead designer. The flame-haired but self-effacing innovator and team social secretary feeds his febrile imagination while gazing at a gigantic HDTV and lovingly fondling his latest gadget. He used to venture forth from his remote and shadowy cubicle in the Te Ara design ghetto into the rarified atmosphere of the tearoom to hold forth on subjects as erudite and various as fast cars, trans-sexual fashion designers, Whanganui, and, again, Whanganui (evidently the scene of some deep psychological wounding). Energetically creative, he masterminded some of the Te Ara site’s innovative interactive features and never wavered in his quest for pixel-perfect presentation, and his loathing of the nauseating coral colour swatch.

Google image search result

Google image search result

The mercurial Malcolm McKinnon, editor of publishing success the Bateman New Zealand historical atlas (1997) and author of a number of other books, was Te Ara’s theme editor for Places, and was also joint editor (with Ben Schrader) of our Economy and the City theme. The elusive polymath would grace Te Ara with his presence when not lecturing at Vic or gallivanting around the third world in search of material for his next book. Hardy like his Scottish antecedents, Malcolm could also frequently be found in the water at Oriental Bay – possibly training for an aquatic getaway from the rest of clan McKinnon after characterising them as ‘Vichy collaborators’ in a national newspaper. _

Rosemary

Rosemary Du Plessis

Rosemary Du Plessis was theme editor for Social Connections. She teaches and researches in sociology at the University of Canterbury.

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Jennifer Garlick was an editor at Te Ara. She particularly assisted with editing our entries in te reo, where her background in Māori publishing was invaluable.

Emma striding out

Emma striding out

Emma Dewson was the ‘rump’ of the Dictionary of New Zealand Biography, where she worked on new entries and fielded enquiries about the old. A lateral thinker and free spirit, Emma, though distinctly brunette, could always be relied on to up the conversational ante with a wilful misinterpretation of an innocent remark or a faux-innocent double-entendre. She is also the teller of the best rollocking tales of youthful indiscretion in WhangaVegas (what is it about that town?).

Carl Walrond

Carl Walrond

Carl Walrond was Te Ara’s self-styled blood-sports expert. His middle name is probably Mannerheim (or possibly Moomintroll) and he has a doctorate in something to do with fish. A man of many parts, Carl may be seen in a few places in Te Ara, including up a ladder. Carl adds: ‘My colleague Maggy reckons I am the old man of the encyclopedia. I’m not sure what this makes her. Formerly a booze hound, I now wallow like a pig in the muck of domestic bliss.’ He’s either a very honest man or he has no shame. (Evidence is tending to favour the latter.)

The editorial eye/s

The editorial eye/s

Fiona Oliver was Te Ara’s longest-serving editor and production supremo, until her departure for new challenges. As well as intervening tactically in punctuation disputes (these can get nasty – ever had a comma stuck in your eye?), she could also nimbly turn a sow’s purse of a bibliographical reference into a suave pig’s ear [Shurely shome mishtake? Ed.]. The sloughs of XML held no terrors for her after a doctorate in the depravities of Scottish literature. She is also rumoured to understand what Georges Bataille was on about. This is an unassailable position, as who would ever dare ask?

Nigel Roberts

Nigel Roberts

Nigel Roberts was, along with his Victoria University colleague Stephen Levine, joint theme editor for the seventh theme of Te Ara, which examines the activities of government and the symbols of national identity. Nigel Roberts has been an election-night commentator on TV One for every election since 1987.
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Simon Nathan stalking a rock

Simon Nathan stalking a rock

Simon Nathan was Te Ara’s resident rockhound, and Theme Editor for Earth, Sea and Sky and The Bush. He’s also the man responsible for the multiple occurrences of Harold Wellman’s name and biography in Te Ara (and author of a book on the same subject), but he hastens to point out, with appropriate scientific rigour, that Wellman is NOT the most biographised person in the Encyclopedia. Who is? That’s for us to know and you to find out.
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Maggy gets high on tea

Maggy gets high on tea

Maggy Wassilieff, who was Te Ara’s leading controversialist, attempts to hide her Celtic origins behind a Slavic moniker, but there is no mistaking that red hair and the sound of a MacDonald in full battle cry. Maggy was also our expert on the sexual configurations of various primitive or slimy life forms, and while we couldn’t say she was obsessed, she certainly delights in the detail. She’s the one proclaiming ‘geologists know nothing about biology’ in the tearoom.

Deb Sidelinger was seconded from Te Puni Kōkiri (Ministry of Māori Development) as Te Ara’s Community Researcher. She helped us with strategies to engage more with our community through the internet, including Flickr and this blog.

Parting is such sweet sorrow

Parting is such sweet sorrow

Shirley Williams was Te Ara’s resources team leader from the project’s beginnings until Christmas 2007. Then she abandoned us.