Karina Taylor and the ANU’s Pacific Research Archives

by Assoc. Prof. Chris Ballard, Pacific History, ANU.

Karina Taylor, the archivist for the ANU’s Pacific Research Archives (PRA) since its inception in February 2007, is leaving us for an exciting position at the Alexander Turnbull Library in Wellington, New Zealand.  The Pacific Research Archives is housed within the ANU Archives at the Menzies Library, and has already assembled a substantial collection of research materials on the Pacific, in addition to the major foundation collections of Burns Philp and CSR Ltd. The University Archivist, Maggie Shapley, has already indicated that the Pacific Research Archivist position will be retained and filled as quickly as possible.

During the past six years Karina has collected, arranged and described the papers of some 40 ANU Pacific scholars (including those of geographer Gerard Ward, linguist Stephen Wurm, anthropologist Marie Reay, and historian Brij Lal); significant collections from a further 15 individuals (including early British Solomons administrator C.M. Woodford, and dietitian Nancy Hitchcock); and the archives of about 10 different ANU departments and centres (including Pacific and Asian History, Linguistics, and Human Geography).

Karina has developed an impressive array of public interfaces for the archive, establishing a web-presence for the PRA (pacificarchives.anu.edu.au), producing brochures, delivering seminars and tutorials to graduate and undergraduate students, and mounting three exhibitions (CSR in Fiji; Pacific Health Programs, and For the People: Pacific Resources). She has also provided archival training to colleagues at the University of Papua New Guinea (pictured left with staff from UPNG’s Library), and presented aspects of her archival work and the collection at a string of major international conferences.

The full extent of Karina’s legacy will be evident in mid-2013, when lists of the collections of the Pacific Research Archives will be available on the new ANU Archives online database. Pacific scholars at the ANU and beyond are indebted to Karina for her achievements, and to the ANU Archives for its continued support for Pacific studies at the ANU. We wish Karina, Brent and Micah all the best for their move and their re-establishment as Kiwis, and we fully expect to maintain our ties with them in the future.

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