Dictionary of New Zealand Biography: October 2019 update

Clockwise from top left, Ralph Hotere, Marie Bell, Ramai Hayward, Keith Sinclair, Selwyn Toogood and Barbara Angus, six of the 13 entries just added to the DNZB.

Most New Zealanders who lived through the 1970s and 1980s will remember the phrases ‘the money or the bag?’ and ‘an orchestrated litany of lies’. Quizmaster Selwyn Toogood and Justice Peter Mahon, who investigated the cause of the Erebus crash that occurred 40 years ago this November, are just two of the 13 new biographies added to the Dictionary of New Zealand Biography this month.

Other well-known subjects include racing car driver Bruce McLaren, whose name lives on in the McLaren motor racing team, and Ralph Hotere, one of New Zealand’s most influential and internationally-renowned artists.

Marie Bell campaigned for child-centred education, while diplomat Barbara Angus broke through the glass ceiling to become New Zealand’s first female ambassador to head a bilateral post.

Tom Ah Chee was the driving force behind Foodtown supermarkets and the iconic Georgie Pie takeaway chain. Historian Keith Sinclair helped redefine our sense of identity, while political scientist Bob Chapman pioneered the role of television election night expert in this country.

New Zealand’s emerging film industry is represented by two entries, silent film actress Witarina Harris and director Ramai Hayward, whose collaboration with her husband Rudall Hayward made an enduring contribution to New Zealand’s film history.

Mathematician Robin Williams participated in the Manhattan Project in the 1940s and went on to a distinguished public service career in New Zealand, while polio survivor June Opie overcame physical disability to lead a successful life as a writer and broadcaster.

Read all the new entries now in the Dictionary of New Zealand Biography:

Ah Chee, Thomas Henry supermarket and takeaways entrepreneur

Angus, Barbara diplomat, historian

Bell, Marie teacher, lecturer, educationalist

Chapman, Robert McDonald political scientist

Harris, Witarina Te Miriarangi Ngāti Whakaue; film actor, te ao Māori advocate

Hayward, Ramai Rongomaitara Ngāti Kahungunu, Ngāi Tahu; photographer, actor, director.

Hotere, Hone Papita Raukura (Ralph) Te Aupōuri; artist

McLaren, Bruce Leslie racing driver; racing car designer, constructor and team owner

Mahon, Peter Thomas judge, Erebus air crash commissioner

Opie, Alice June Norma polio survivor, clinical psychologist, writer, broadcaster

Sinclair, Keith historian, poet

Toogood, Selwyn Featherston broadcaster, quizmaster, actor

Williams, Robert Martin (Robin) mathematician, public servant, university administrator

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