Story: Te Ara – a history

Olivia Walley, group administrator (2nd of 2)

Olivia Walley, group administrator

Olivia Walley worked as the group administrator for Te Ara from 2007 to 2009. She left the team to begin work at Wellington Zoo as the first step towards becoming a veterinary nurse – so the cakes for her farewell function featured various animals, such as this wētā on a pavlova.

What\'s you story?

Contributed by Olivia Walley

You remember it, that scene in American Beauty where Mena Suvari's character is lying on a floor filled with rose petals whilst more fall upon her. It's an image of perfection, of euphoria. And it's pretty much the feeling I remember, working at Te Ara.

I joined the team as Group Administrator in November 2007. They were finishing The Bush theme, but The Settled Landscape and Earth, Sea and Sky were in mid-flow. And as one who loves experts on anything I was in heaven; a room filled with geeks!!! 

Malcolm McKinnon doing maps, Simon Nathan doing geology, Basil Keane on Māori tradition, Maggy Wassilieff on market gardens, Carl Walrond on buildings and construction. And all the other wonderful historians, and image finders, and editors, and you name it. 

Te Ara is the single most stimulating experience I ever had, from just the day-to-day work to the morning tradition of the 5-minute quiz. You embraced my bird-nerd-ness; I still treasure my bird calls clock, and the stone collection that Simon Nathan gave me when he had finished.

All under the leadership of Dr Jock Phillips, I know it was a very special time and would like to thank you for allowing me to be a small part of that.

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How to cite this page:

the Te Ara team, 'Te Ara – a history - Planning the encyclopedia: process, look and feel', Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, (accessed 17 May 2022)

Story by the Te Ara team