About Me

I’m the Curator of Natural History at Whanganui Regional Museum (@WhMus), a 19th century regional museum with important biological, historical, and taonga Māori collections. I mostly work on the 1930s Makirikiri moa bone collection, giant native landsnails, and beetle diversity of local forest remnants. My research background is in the evolution of body size in giant flightless birds. I’ve also worked as a graphic designer and design teacher in the past, particularly in the display of scientific data.

I have a particular interest in the use of Open Access data and photography in the gallery/museum world, and do a reasonable amount on editing and training on Wikipedia as User:Giantflightlessbirds, including the Critter of the Week project with DOC and Radio NZ. I also write regularly for magazines and newspapers, give public talks, and lead field trips on natural history topics.

Education

  • BSc Hons (first class) in Zoology and Philosophy • Victoria University of Wellington, NZ (1998)
  • PhD in Zoology • Dissertation: The Allometry of Giant Flightless Birds • Duke University, Durham, NC, USA (2007)

Employment

  • 1990–94: Assistant Curator, Interpretation • National Museum of New Zealand • Wellington, NZ
  • 1995–99: Graphic design/publishing teacher • Outlook Resources, Karori Learning Centre, Whitireia Polytechnic • Wellington, NZ
  • 2001–06: IT trainer • Office of Information Technology, Duke University • NC, USA
  • 2007–08: Information designer • EOS Ecology • Christchurch, NZ
  • 2008–12: Learning advisor • Learning Skills Centre, University of Canterbury • Christchurch, NZ
  • 2013– : Curator of Natural History • Whanganui Regional Museum • Whanganui, NZ

Conference Presentations and Workshops

  • Feb 2013: “Making Better Information Graphics” • Science Communicators Association of NZ, Christchurch
  • July 2014: Facilitator for sessions on science communication and Wikipedia in the GLAM sector • NetHui, Auckland
  • Sep 2014: “How Do We Narrate the Pacific Extinction?” • ICOM NZ, Auckland Museum, Auckland
  • Oct 2014: “Infographics that Don’t Suck” • Technical Communicators Association of NZ, Christchurch
  • Nov 2014: “Wikipedia and the GLAMs” all-day presentations and workshop • National Digital Forum, Te Papa, Wellington • Link
  • Nov 2014: “The Moa Collection at Whanganui Regional Museum” • Curatorial Hui, Dowse, Lower Hutt
  • July 2015: Wikipedia talk and hands-on workshop • NDF Barcamp, Palmerston North
  • Nov 2015: River Week Edit-a-thon • All-day Wikipedia-editing event • Alexander Library, Whanganui • Link
  • Nov 2015: “Natural History in Regional Collections” • Curators’ Hui, WRM, Whanganui
  • Nov 2015: Wikipedia panel discussion • NDF, Te Papa, Wellington • Video
  • May 2016: #NZSpecies Wikipedia Edit-a-thon • A Wikipedia-editing event organised by me and hosted by Te Papa, Wellington • Link
  • Sep 2016: “How Curators Can Work With Wikipedia” • Curatorial Hui, MTG, Napier
  • Oct 2106: “Eight Important Wikifacts” • NDF Barcamp, Whanganui
  • Nov 2016: “What I Learned about Enormous Branded Projects from Editing Wikipedia” • NDF, Te Papa, Wellington • Video
  • April 2017: “Reviving Entomology at the Whanganui Regional Museum” • Entomological Society of New Zealand, Wellington
  • May 2017: “Why Saving Species and Resurrecting Species are the Same, and Why It Matters” • New Zealand’s Biological Heritage “Crazy and Ambitious” conference, Wellington • Video
  • Aug 2017: Women in Science Wikipedia workshop • Hosted by the Royal Society Te Apārangi, Wellington • Link
  • Sep 2017: New Zealand Insect Cards Wikipedia edit-a-thon • Hosted by the University of Auckland, Tamaki campus • LinkRadio interview

Public Talks and Field Trips

  • May 2010: “What, if Anything, is Big Bird?” • PechaKucha Night, Christchurch • This is the world’s most-watched PechaKucha talk
  • Nov 2012: “Why, Exactly, The Birds are So Angry” • PechaKucha Night, Devonport
  • April 2014: Night-time fish spotting field trip, Karaka Wetland, Whanganui
  • Nov 2014: Sci ’n’ Zines workshop, on making zines to communicate science • National Library, Wellington • Link
  • Jan 2015: Night-time insect spotlighting field trip to Bushy Park, Whanganui Summer Programme
  • Mar 2015: “Historic Moa Excavations in the Makirikiri Valley” • Museum lecture series, Whanganui
  • Nov 2015: Night-time fish spotting trip for River Week, Karaka Wetland, Whanganui
  • Feb 2016: Fossil-hunting field trip with Kiwi Conservation Club, Ototoka Beach, Whanganui
  • Feb 2016: Bushy Park BioBlitz (24-hour species count involving scientists and the public) • Bushy Park, Whanganui • Newspaper coverage link
  • Feb 2016: “Can We Bring Back Moa?” • lecture for Whanganui Science Forum series
  • April 2016: Night-time fish spotting field trip, Karaka Wetland, Whanganui
  • July 2016: “Can We Bring Back Moa?” • public lectures for Forest & Bird Manawatu, Palmerston North, and Forest & Bird Rangitikei, Marton
  • Nov 2016: “Fossils of Whanganui” • talk to University of the Third Age, Whanganui
  • Dec 2016: “Feathers and Fuzz: Reconstructing Dinosaurs” • lecture to accompany Te Manawa, Palmerston North, dinosaur exhibition
  • Jan 2017: “Vanished Birds of New Zealand (and how they got that way)” • lecture for Whanganui Summer Programme
  • Jan 2017: Summer Programme public field trips to Kapiti Island, Bushy Park, Waiinu Beach, Paengaroa Scenic Reserve, and Sutherlands Mangahoe Reserve
  • Mar 2017: “What is a Native Bird?” • lecture for Museum Lecture Series
  • Apr 2017: Field trip for Kiwi Conservation Club, McPherson’s Bush, Rangitikei
  • Aug 2017: “What is a Native Bird?” • lecture for Forest & Bird Manawatu, Palmerston North

Writing

  • 2008: Kiwi Ukulele: the New Zealand ukulele companion • AUT Media • wrote, illustrated, and designed NZ’s best-selling ukulele tutorial
  • May 2014: “Te Papa find gives kiwi wings” • Wanganui Chronicle, 31 May
  • July 2014: “Reviving the moa” • Wanganui Chronicle, 19 July
  • Aug 2014: “Collections reveal much of past” (I don’t get to write these headlines by the way; that’s why they’re sometimes lame)Wanganui Chronicle, 4 Aug • Link
  • Aug 2014: “Fossils a time machine into the past” • Wanganui Chronicle, 16 Aug
  • Oct 2014: “Stories emerge from bird bones” • Wanganui Chronicle, 18 Oct
  • Feb 2015: “Latin shows birds sing same tune” • Wanganui Chronicle, 14 Feb • Blogged: link
  • Mar 2015: “Amazing life cycle of monarchs” • Wanganui Chronicle, 21 Mar
  • Apr 2015: “Saving species huge challenge” • Wanganui Chronicle, 13 Apr • Link
  • Apr 2015: “Discovering new life” • Wanganui Chronicle, 25 Apr
  • May 2015: “Rare native falcon is victim of own success” • Wanganui Chronicle, 30 May
  • Aug 2015: “Natural history enthusiasts have their own ‘Facebook'” • Wanganui Chronicle, 8 Aug
  • Aug 2015: “Saddling land with problems” • Wanganui Chronicle, 10 Aug
  • Sept 2015: “Bird kicked men over” • Wanganui Chronicle, 12 Sept
  • Oct 2015: “Museums going digital” • Wanganui Chronicle, 17 Oct
  • Nov 2015: “Bug trapping for science” • Wanganui Chronicle, 7 Nov
  • Nov 2015: “Possum cull questioned” • Wanganui Chronicle, 24 Nov • Link
  • Dec 2015: “NZ is land of the lizards” • Wanganui Chronicle, 5 Dec
  • Jan 2016: “Nature alive at night” • Wanganui Chronicle, 9 Jan
  • Feb 2016: “Traps set for BioBlitz at Bushy Park • Wanganui Chronicle, 13 Feb
  • Apr 2016: “Birds of a feather create distinctive cloaks” • Wanganui Chronicle, 23 April
  • May 2016: “The not-so-cuddly department: rescuing a giant prickly weta” • Wanganui Chronicle, 16 May • Blogged: link
  • June 2016: “A Wikipedia strategy for your org” • Museums Aotearoa Quarterly, June 2016, pp 20–21
  • July 2016: “Hint giant native snails once in district” • Wanganui Chronicle, 2 July
  • July 2016: “Bioblitz Moth Controversy” • Forest & Bird, Winter 2016, p 50 • Link
  • July 2016: “Free market to rescue eels?” • Wanganui Chronicle, 25 July • Link
  • July 2016: “Gigantic sunfish pride of the museum” • Wanganui Chronicle, 30 July
  • Sept 2016: “Make it count – take some time to survey our native pigeons” • Wanganui Chronicle, 10 Sept
  • Oct 2016: “Native status a flight of fancy due to Oz arrivals” • Wanganui Chronicle, 22 Oct
  • Dec 2016: “Shining cuckoos deserve refuge despite ‘offensive’ habits” • Wanganui Chronicle, 3 Dec
  • Jan 2017: “NZ’s longest beetle a curious find” • Wanganui Chronicle, 28 Jan
  • Feb 2017: “The mystery of the missing banded kokopu” • Wanganui Chronicle, 19 Feb • Link
  • Mar 2017: “Seashore critters fascinating find on dry, windswept beaches” • Wanganui Chronicle, 4 Mar
  • Apr 2017: “Cheeky kea victim of Man’s intolerance of its destructive ways” • Wanganui Chronicle, 8 April
  • Apr 2017: “Cicada-killing fungus a health benefit” • Wanganui Chronicle, 29 April • Link
  • May 2017: “Scientists deal insect cards to help save NZ species” • Wanganui Chronicle, 27 May
  • June 2017: “Take part in the Garden Bird Survey” • Wanganui Chronicle, 24 June
  • June 2017: “Conservation Comment: Wasps are a serious pest” • Wanganui Chronicle, 26 June • Link
  • July 2017: “Finding moa bones on the beach” • Wanganui Chronicle, 22 July
  • Aug 2017: “Conservation Comment: Stream protection a murky reality” • Wanganui Chronicle, 21 Aug • Link
  • Sep 2017: “Āwheto or vegetable caterpillars used by Maori in tattooing” • Wanganui Chronicle, 2 Sep • Link

Media Coverage

  • July 2014: “Expert supports Moa revival idea” • Southland Times interview • Link
  • Aug 2014: “Call to lift our online image” (formation of Whanganui Wiki Wednesday) • Wanganui ChronicleLink
  • Nov 2014: “Moa bones, the moa trade, and 3D scanning” • Interview with Kim Hill, RNZ • Audio
  • Jan 2015: “Moa bone sale dispute” • Taranaki Daily NewsLink
  • Jan 2015: “Wanganui expert fights to ban moa trade” • Wanganui ChronicleLink
  • Mar 2015: “Volunteering at the Whanganui Regional Museum’s Moa Collection” • Blog post by technical writer Emily Cotlier about documenting moa bones • Link
  • Apr 2015: “‘Charismatic’ conservation” • Interview with Jesse Mulligan, RNZ • Audio
  • Aug 2015: “More moa bones found” • Otago Daily Times • Coverage of Utiku excavation • Link
  • Sep 2015: “Masterpieces – Te Papa’s Upland Moa skeleton” • Interview with Jesse Mulligan, RNZ • Audio
  • Jan 2016: “Wikipedia’s 15th birthday” • Interview with Kim Hill, RNZ • Audio
  • Jan 2016: “Distinct diets of extinct moa” • Science Media Centre NZ • Commentary on recent research • Link
  • Feb 2016: “Wikinerds Explained” • Interview with Jesse Mulligan, RNZ • Audio
  • Apr 2016: “Collect beetles for museum study” • Wanganui MidweekLink
  • March 2016: “Moa Bone Trade” • Forest & Bird Magazine, Autumn 2016 • Link
  • Jun 2016: “Editing in the gaps” (coverage of NZ Species edit-a-thon) • Cook Strait News, 2 June, p 12 • Link
  • July 2016: “Critter of the Week – the lichen tuft moth” • With Jesse Mulligan, RNZ • Audio
  • Mar 2017: “What is a Native Bird?” • Interview with Jesse Mulligan, RNZ • Audio
  • May 2017: “Threatened Species Strategy” • Interview with Jesse Mulligan, RNZ • Audio
  • Aug 2017: “Windscreen bug splat decline a worrying sign” • Interview with Jesse Mulligan, RNZ • Audio

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