Jock Phillips

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John Oliver Crompton (Jock) Phillips (born 1947) is a New Zealand historian, author and encyclopedist. He is the general editor of Te Ara: The Encyclopedia of New Zealand, the official encyclopedia of New Zealand.


Born and raised in Christchurch,[1] Phillips did a BA at Victoria University of Wellington, followed by a MA and PhD at Harvard in 1978.[2] Returning to Wellington was a Lecturer, Senior Lecturer and Reader in History at Victoria. He was founding director of the Stout Research Centre (established by the will of the grandson of Robert Stout).

Moving to the Department of Internal Affairs in 1989, Phillips was Chief Historian (1989-1997 and 2000-2002) and General Manager, Heritage (Acting) (1997-2000). He was Conceptual Leader (history) for Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa 1994-1998, in the lead-up to its radical transformation, accompanying its move to new waterfront premises. He is general editor of Te Ara: The Encyclopedia of New Zealand.

Phillips was mentioned in cables released by Wikileaks as an expert on New Zealanders' attitude to war:

Academic Jock Phillips added that Kiwis like to be seen as contributing to global military efforts, especially in peacekeeping roles, because, at times, this makes them feel morally superior.[3]


Beginning in the late 1960s, many Kiwis became uncomfortable with being U.S. allies. According to NZ Historian Jock Phillips, while Americans took away military/political lessons from the Vietnam War, New Zealand came away with a new sense of national identity. Opposition to the war was couched in nationalistic terms, because like many Commonwealth countries at that time, New Zealanders were carving out a post-colonial role. Because of the Vietnam war and Britain's declining influence here, what arguably should have been a rebellion against the UK was instead directed against the United States.[4]

Published works[edit]

Awards and posts[edit]


  1. ^ "LATE at the Museum | Season Two - LATE 03 Panellist & Artist Profiles". 2011. Retrieved 30 October 2011. 
  2. ^ "Jock Phillips PhD '78 |". 2011. Retrieved 30 October 2011. 
  3. ^ "Cable reference id: #06WELLINGTON157". 2011. Retrieved 30 October 2011. 
  4. ^ "Cable reference id: #06WELLINGTON260". 2011. Retrieved 30 October 2011. 
  5. ^ "Council Members Profiles". 2011. Retrieved 30 October 2011. 
  6. ^ "Prestigious award made to prominent historian and editor of New Zealand’s online encyclopaedia, Dr Jock Phillips". 2011. Retrieved 30 October 2011.