New Dictionary of New Zealand Biography Entries

Ten people involved in the conservation and transformation of New Zealand’s land, mountains, plants, rivers and wildlife, for good or ill, have been added to Ngā Tāngata Taumata Rau Dictionary of New Zealand Biography (DNZB). This round was guest-edited by Manatū Taonga historian Sarah Burgess.

  • Journalist and magazine editor Rebekah White wrote about the pioneering female mountaineer, field ecologist and international authority on sika deer, Mavis Davidson.
  • Manatū Taonga historian and gardening history specialist Kate Jordan wrote about Tony Druce, New Zealand’s pre-eminent twentieth-century field botanist.
  • Guest editor Sarah Burgess wrote about Roly Earp, a pioneer kiwifruit orchardist of the 1960s and 1970s and an influential advocate for grower control of the industry.
  • Historian Margaret McClure, who has examined the history of tourism in New Zealand, wrote about Les Hutchins, who pioneered tourism in Fiordland in the 1950s, before the full potential of New Zealand’s tourist industry was recognised.
  • DNZB general editor Tim Shoebridge wrote about Bing Lucas, a senior public servant who was responsible for developing New Zealand’s modern national park system and walking tracks near urban centres.
  • Zoologist, wildlife filmmaker, writer and radio producer Alison Ballance wrote about Don Merton, ‘the man who saved the black robin’, whose pioneering conservation efforts brought three threatened New Zealand bird species back from the brink of extinction.
  • Historical geographer Michael Roche wrote about Lindsay Poole, a forester and senior public servant who headed the New Zealand Forest Service during the middle decades of the twentieth century.
  • Environmental journalist Charlie Mitchell wrote about environmental vandal Stewart Smith, who illegally released into New Zealand waterways exotic fish which prospered as pests and permanently damaged native ecosystems.

Two further entries, on Ngāti Awa and Ngāi Te Rangi environmental campaigner Hohepa (Joseph) Harawira and mycologist Joan Dingley, will be published soon.

More information on the what’s new at Te Ara – The Encyclopedia of New Zealand can be found here.