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Prestigious award made to prominent historian and editor of New Zealand’s online encyclopaedia, Dr Jock Phillips

One man’s more than 30 years service to the study and advancement of New Zealand history has been recognised with a prestigious award from the Royal Society of New Zealand.

The 2011 Pou Aronui Award for service to the humanities-aronui has been awarded to historian Dr Jock Phillips, general editor of Te Ara online encyclopedia of New Zealand.

The annual award is bestowed on a person who has provided distinguished service to the humanities-aronui over a sustained period.

In announcing the award Dr Garth Carnaby, President of the Royal Society of New Zealand, said Dr Jock Phillips was a very fitting recipient.

“Through his combination of leadership and research he has made an outstanding scholarly contribution to New Zealand life.”

He said Dr Phillips had played an important role in establishing or renewing research environments in which other humanities scholars have thrived.  Dr Phillips was the founder and Director of the Stout Research Centre for New Zealand Studies at Victoria University in Wellington.

Subsequently, he was Chief Historian within the Department of Internal Affairs and Ministry for Culture and Heritage; and then Concept Leader in History at Te Papa Tongarewa. He is now general editor of Te Ara, the Encyclopedia of New Zealand.

“In each role Dr Phillips has proved himself an innovator and a champion of new approaches to the study and promotion of the humanities,” said Dr Carnaby

He has brought scientists and social scientists together with humanities scholars; he has provided opportunities for Māori scholars to flourish; and he has been an important sponsor of oral history and of public history in New Zealand.

Recently Dr Phillips has actively promoted digital history and other innovative forms of knowledge presentation to appeal to a new audience of users and learners. 

“His intellectual contribution to New Zealand has been thoughtful, provocative and inclusive. As a consequence he has immensely enriched the development of our cultural landscape.”

Updated on 23rd July 2015