The journey continues

The team of five who will be continuing to work on Te Ara – from left, Kerryn Pollock, Caren Wilton, Nancy Swarbrick, Emily Tutaki and Melanie Lovell-Smith

The team of five who will be continuing to work on Te Ara – from left, Kerryn Pollock, Caren Wilton, Nancy Swarbrick, Emily Tutaki and Melanie Lovell-Smith

The last two weeks have been bittersweet for those of us working on Te Ara. On the sweetness side of the ledger, we have had the great satisfaction of launching our final theme – Creative and Intellectual Life – which explores the many facets of New Zealand creativity. This dazzling occasion brought to a close the work on the ‘first build’ of Te Ara, the world’s first born-digital encyclopedia. The Te Ara project was conceived and driven by Dr Jock Phillips, who much to our delight was two weeks ago honoured for this and his other ground-breaking intellectual work by the 2014 Prime Minister’s Award for Literary Achievement for non-fiction.

While celebrating these triumphs, we have had the sadness of saying goodbye to colleagues. Jock retired last week, and received a fitting send-off. In addition Janine Faulknor, Ross Somerville, Helen Rickerby, Andy Palmer, Philothea Flynn and Angela Mitchell came to the end of their contracts and were farewelled with tears, laughter and song – as well as a drink or two. Back in September, too, we bid adieu to Marguerite Hill, who took up the role of curator human history at Canterbury Museum. Thank you all for sharing your amazing skills, your commitment and your friendship over the past years – your work for Te Ara will live on.

Many people throughout and beyond New Zealand have contributed to the making of Te Ara, and many more have found it a helpful starter for research, a rich source of useful facts and information, and a place to explore fascinating and illuminating images, interactives, sound and film clips. The good news is that Te Ara will continue to flourish and grow! A small team of us who have worked on building the site are staying on to ensure that the content is maintained and kept up to date (as much as is possible with such a huge website). We also plan to develop it with new entries and resources that will reflect the changing face of New Zealand.

The new team members are:

  • Myself – Nancy Swarbrick. I joined Te Ara as managing editor in 2002, and was tasked with organising and keeping track of schedules and workflow, but I’ve also had the pleasure of writing some of the entries.
  • Kerryn Pollock, a brilliant researcher and writer (and latterly, also a resource researcher) who joined Te Ara in 2008.
  • Melanie Lovell-Smith, who has been the doyenne of resource (image, video etc) research since 2003, bringing her creativity to every theme, and who is also renowned for her technical expertise.
  • Emily Tutaki, who has been with us since 2007, and whose knowledge of things Māori has enriched the many entries she has resourced.
  • Caren Wilton, a production editor since 2006, who is known for her eagle eye for detail and her wonderful way with words.

Basil Keane, director of Māori digital projects here at Manatū Taonga, will watch over the Māori content on Te Ara, and we will be supported by our highly skilled colleagues in the Web Team, led by Matthew Oliver. They include designers Kristy Mayes, Julia Vodanovich and Dean Johnston, who have created many of our lovely maps, graphs and interactives down the years.

We look forward to travelling with you further along te ara – the pathway to knowledge about all aspects of New Zealand life.

2 comments have been added so far

  1. Comment made by Johanna Knox || November 6th, 2014

    All the best to you guys! That’s quite some job you’re tasked with – but the place is in great hands. x

  2. Comment made by Ross Somerville || November 11th, 2014

    Don’t want to rain on the parade, but an editor never sleeps. I’m afraid Te Ara can ‘only’ claim to be ‘the world’s first born-digital national encyclopedia! This is still an amazing achievement,and all power to the tean to maintain its place as not only the first but the best!

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