The Ministry for Culture and Heritage congratulates senior staff member Jock Phillips on his award from the Royal Society of New Zealand.
Dr Phillips is this year’s recipient of the prestigious Pou Aronui Award, announced this week, which recognises distinguished services to humanities.
Ministry for Culture and Heritage chief executive Lewis Holden says Dr Phillips’ award was much-deserved recognition for his outstanding work as a historian, researcher and author of New Zealand history.
“This award recognises Dr Phillips’ significant contribution to New Zealand history as well as his dedication and enthusiasm about communicating the importance of that history to all New Zealanders,” Mr Holden said.
Dr Phillips, a former chief historian at the ministry, is now senior editor of Te Ara, the online encyclopedia of New Zealand (www.teara.govt.nz.) He founded the Stout Research Centre for New Zealand studies at Victoria University before becoming concept leader in history at Te Papa Tongarewa. His specialised areas of interest include social and cultural history, family history, immigration, memorials and royal tours. He has published several books on those topics of which the best known is A Man’s Country.
In his role at Te Ara Dr Phillips has actively promoted digital history and other innovative ways of communicating knowledge to appeal to a new audience.
As an example, this year he compiled Roadside Stories, an audio tour of New Zealand comprising 100 downloadable stories following major road trips across the country. Timed for use by tourists during the Rugby World Cup, it will also be an invaluable resource for Kiwi tourists.
Dr Phillips also wrote a popular blog during the RWC as he embarked on his own road trip, taking in the festivities linked to the tournament in towns and cities around the country.
“Dr Phillips has an extraordinary ability to communicate the importance of New Zealand history in a uniquely engaging way. That talent is reinforced by years of important scholarly research,” Mr Holden said.