Friends of the Turnbull Library — Committee


Officers and Committee 2020–21

Kate Fortune

Vice President

Caroline McDonald

Membership Secretary
Gordon Rutherford

Gillian Cross

Past President
Rachel Underwood

Committee Members
Don Gilling, Eleanor Green, Derek Leask, James Mayo, Sarah Ross, Robin Skinner, Sheila Williams


Contact the Friends
Communications should be addressed to:

The Secretary
The Friends of the Turnbull Library
PO Box 12-186
Wellington, New Zealand
Phone (+64 4) 479-5580
email: Membership Secretary at

The Committee

Kate Fortune was elected President in 2018. She had accompanied her late husband Graham Fortune on diplomatic postings while continuing to maintain an involvement with books and publishing. She has a BA from Otago University. After becoming administrator at the NZ Book Council (1977-80), she was Director of Booksellers NZ (1980-87) and later worked for Allen & Unwin and Bridget Williams Books, and was also a former Director of the NZ Film Archive. She was Publications Coordinator, National Library of Australia (1994-96) and was co-editor of The Pacific Islands: An Encyclopedia (2000). Kate joined the Committee in 2002, was Treasurer (2004-07) and was a former editor of Off The Record (2005-2015).

Rachel Underwood QSM joined the Friends of the Turnbull Committee in 1987 and served as President from September 1996 until July 2018. Rachel was awarded a Queen’s Service Medal in June 2019 for services to the community. A former Registered Nurse at Wellington Hospital, she married David Underwood and had a family of four. Later she completed a BA at Victoria University and a Diploma in Teaching and worked as teacher-librarian for some years. She was a founding member of the Downstage Theatre Society and a former President, and has also chaired the Board of Governors of Wellington High School.

Gillian Cross is a self-employed accountant. Prior to setting up her own firm she worked for the BNZ and Westpac in the financial accounting and investment management areas. She is involved in many not for profit organisations. Gillian’s husband Tony served on the Friends of the Turnbull Committee for several years and is a life member. Gillian joined the Friends committee in 2010 as treasurer.

Dr Donald Gilling is a consultant specialising in public finance and the economics of education. He taught for 25 years at universities in Australia, England and New Zealand, and for nine years was Professor of Accounting and Finance at the University of Waikato. For seven years he was a member of the Public Sector Accounting Committee of the Institute of Chartered Accountants in New Zealand. Don joined the Friends of the Turnbull Committee in 2000.

Eleanor (Elle) Green grew up on the Kapiti Coast. She completed her post-graduate studies in history and politics at Victoria University of Wellington in 2017. She now works as a public servant in Wellington, and has been one of the judges of the Smart Alex creative writing competition.

Derek Leask is a former public servant whose diplomatic career with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs began in 1969 and has included appointments as ambassador to the European Commission in Brussels (1994-99) and as New Zealand high commissioner in London (2008-12). He is a keen researcher of New Zealand 19th century history and especially the New Zealand Wars. He has been a regular user of the Turnbull’s records for 25 years and has substantial research experience in many offshore institutions in Australia, Britain and France. Derek joined the Friends committee in 2013.

Jim Mayo is an Auckland businessman, head of the Mayo Group which imports and distributes mounting systems for flat panel television, audio and video systems, as well as a range of radios and cables. He is an active Rotarian whose interests include motor sports and cars (he is a life member of the Bruce McLaren Trust Supporters Club). He is also a member of Heritage New Zealand (formerly NZ Historic Places Trust). He travels to Wellington frequently and has a long-standing interest in the Turnbull Library. Jim joined the Friends of the Turnbull in 1973 and joined the Committee in 2004.

Dr Caroline McDonald is Adjunct Research Fellow in the School pf History, Philosophy, Political Science and International Relations at Victoria University of Wellington. She completed a PhD in 2018 on decolonisation and free association in which she explored the relationships New Zealand has with the Cook Islands and Niue. Her career over more than 30 years with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade included appointments as head of mission in Vanuatu, India and Fiji, and various divisional director roles in Wellington. Her earliest association with Turnbull House was her marriage there in 1988. Caroline joined the Friends of Turnbull Library Committee in 2018.

Dr Sarah Ross is Associate Professor in the School of English, Film, Theatre and Media Studies at Victoria University of Wellington. She joined the Friends of Turnbull Library Committee in 2017.

Gordon Rutherford was co-opted on to the Friends of Turnbull Library Committee as Membership Secretary in August 2019, following the resignation of Angela Hill. He was re-elected in 2020.

Dr Robin Skinner is in the Faculty of Architecture and Design at Victoria University of Wellington, where he has taught courses in history, Pacific architecture and research methods alongside the third year design studio. His PhD (from Victoria) surveyed commentary on New Zealand architecture. Robin has previously taught in Design at the University of Otago, and has researched and published on aspects of New Zealand architectural history. Robin joined the Friends of Turnbull Library Committee in 2006.

Sheila Williams worked at the Turnbull Library for 28 years and then lectured in cataloguing and bibliography in the Library and Information Programme at Victoria University of Wellington. She is an honorary life member of the Library and Information Association of New Zealand (Lianza). The logo used by the Friends was designed as a book label by Sheila’s grandfather, Bishop Herbert Williams, at the invitation of his friend, Alexander Turnbull. Sheila joined the Friends of Turnbull Library Committee in 1993 and served as treasurer 2007-10.