Vale: Karina May Taylor (1979 – 2013)

karina_josepha_PRAPhoto: Karina in the ANU’s Pacific Research Archive with Ms Josepha Joseph-Kapa (Head of Archives and the New Guinea Collection at the Michael Somare Library, University of Papua New Guinea).

Karina Taylor, the former Archivist at the Pacific Research Archives of The Australian National University, sadly passed away unexpectedly at Wellington Hospital (New Zealand) on 24 May 2013.  She had worked as the Pacific Research Archivist at ANU since its inception in February 2007 and only recently returned home to work in Arrangement and Description at the Alexander Turnbull Library in Wellington.  As the archivist at the Pacific Manuscripts Bureau, also based at the ANU, I worked closely with Karina, and together with other colleagues, we continued the strong tradition of Pacific collecting at the ANU.

Karina had the perfect disposition for an archivist working with Pacific Island people and materials.  She was extremely thorough, accurate and steady in her work.  Over the past six years Karina 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 Solomon Islands 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 also developed the PRA collection policy, web site, finding aids to collections and marketing materials.  She pursued and obtained many donations of significant Pacific material of former administrators and researchers.  Karina presented seminars to graduate and undergraduate students and assisted in the development of three exhibitions (CSR in Fiji; Pacific Health Programs, and For the People: Pacific Resources).  The results of much of her work can be seen online at and in the substantial PRA listings in the new online index to the ANU’s Archive.

In 2009 Karina travelled to PNG to assist staff in the New Guinea Collection, University of Papua New Guinea Library through an attachment with the Pacific Research Archives at the ANU.  Karina delivered training and later, staff from the UPNG library came to Australia to learn from her again.  She was a regular at the Pacific Branch of the International Council of Archives (PARBICA) conferences, attending and often giving presentations in 2003, 2005, 2007 and 2009.

Karina was always willing to help out, learn and try new things, and share her knowledge with others.  It was Karina’s gentle nature and manner that made her a beautiful person.  Her passion for preserving the history of the Pacific is an inspiration to many.  Karina will always be a part of the ANU and of Pacific Studies.  Our thoughts and sympathies are with all of your family, but especially your husband Brent and young son Micah.

Rest in peace Karina.
Kylie Moloney, Executive Officer, Pacific Manuscripts Bureau.

[You may read more tributes to Karina Taylor and more about Karina’s work with the PRA in a post to Outrigger earlier this year.]

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