Friends of the Turnbull Library — Committee

Officers and Committee 2023–24

President (Acting)
Prof Emerita Barbara Brookes

Gillian Cross

Past President
Katherine Baxter

Membership Secretary
Robin Anderson

Committee Members
Steve Cosgrove, Kate Fortune, Dr Don Gilling, Derek Leask, James Mayo, Dr Daniel Morrow, Dr Anne Phillips, Dr Robin Skinner, Rachel Underwood QSM, 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

Professor Barbara Brookes, Professor Emerita, University of Otago, is now a Wellington resident and joined the committee in July 2023. Barbara is a well-known historian, author of the prize-winning A History of Women in New Zealand (Bridget Williams Books, 2016). Her most recent book, co-authored with James Dunk, is Knowledge Making: Historians, Archives and Bureaucracy (Routledge, 2020).

Katherine Baxter has a BA and a Master of Public Administration – both from Victoria University – and a long history in the public sector including (in 2009) becoming Policy Manager and Deputy Chief Executive at Manatū Taonga (MCH) on policy spanning the visual and performing arts, heritage buildings and collections, documenting New Zealand’s history, and the screen and media sectors. In 2015, she moved to the Beehive in various Ministerial support roles. In 2019, it was time for a break and she now enjoys the (slightly) slower pace of family life and community roles. Katherine is currently on the Board of Toi Whakaari: NZ Drama School and a Trustee of the Archibald Baxter Memorial Trust. Katherine joined the Friends’ committee as President at the AGM in July 2021.

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.

Robin Anderson has been a member of the Friends since he was 18. He was Law Librarian, Wellington, for the Law Society from 1990 to 2023, at first for the Wellington District Law Society and later also the New Zealand Law Society. Before that he was a librarian at the Dept of Justice and previously a research librarian at the Parliamentary Library. His interests include history, classical music, architecture, railways, town planning and maps, as well as good food and wine. He joined the FoTL committee in 2002, and was editor of Off the Record from 2016 to 2020.

Steve Cosgrove, a former IT teacher at Whitireia, joined the committee in July 2022.

Kate Fortune 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 a former editor of Off the Record (2005-2015). She was President from 2018 to 2021.

Dr Donald Gilling is a consultant specialising in public finance and the economics of education. In 2020 he received the high recognition of a CPA President’s Award for Excellence. Don 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.

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 Daniel Morrow has been Principal Historian at the Waitangi Tribunal Unit, Ministry of Justice, since 2018. Dan is a history graduate from the University of Auckland and the University of Melbourne who taught at RMIT University in Melbourne (2009-2012) and at the University of Otago (2011-2013). He was Curator, Social History at Waikato Museum from 2013 to 2018. He joined the FoTL committee as a coopted member in Dec 2023.

Dr Anne Phillips has a background in law and art history. Her iwi affiliations are Ngaruahine (Taranaki) and Ngapuhi (North Auckland). She joined the Friends’ committee at the AGM in July 2021.

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. The annual New Zealand Institute of Architects President’s Awards in 2020 included recognition for Robin, for ‘exemplary and inspirational’ professional services to architecture, noting that ‘the profession owes Robin a debt of gratitude for advancing the cause of architecture in Aotearoa New Zealand’. Robin’s 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.

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.

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.