Gordon Ogilvie

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For the Archdeacon of Nottingham, see Gordon Ogilvie (priest).
Gordon Ogilvie
Born (1934-05-08) 8 May 1934 (age 82)
Christchurch, New Zealand
Nationality  New Zealand
Occupation historian, teacher

Gordon Bryant Ogilvie, ONZM (born 8 May 1934) is a New Zealand historian and biographer who has written over 20 books, mainly about the people, places and institutions of the Canterbury region. He played a considerable role in uncovering the exploits of pioneer aviator Richard Pearse and popularising these for the first time through his 1973 work The Riddle of Richard Pearse. His other major biography, Denis Glover : His Life (1999), is the first full account of this significant figure in New Zealand literature.

Born in Christchurch, Ogilvie grew up at Horotane Valley where his father was an orchardist. He was educated at St Andrew's College, Canterbury University and Victoria University. After completing a diploma in post-primary teaching he eventually returned to St Andrew's College as head of English, a position he held for 24 years.[1] He retired from teaching in 1993 to take up writing full-time. His late wife Elisabeth (1934–2011) was the author of another Canterbury regional history, Purau (1970).

His output includes three biographies, a range of regional, church, club, school, family and business histories, contributions to the Dictionary of New Zealand Biography and Historic Buildings of New Zealand : South Island (1983), innumerable feature articles and reviews as well as two guide books. The Port Hills of Christchurch (1978) and Banks Peninsula: Cradle of Canterbury (1990) both won the J. M. Sherrard Award for New Zealand Regional History and have been republished in revised editions. The Riddle of Richard Pearse (1973) and Denis Glover : His Life (1999) were New Zealand Book of the Year finalists.


Ogilvie was appointed an Officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit in the 2008 New Year Honours for services to historical research.[2] In 2000 he was awarded a Doctor of Letters by Canterbury University for his contribution to the region's literature. He received an Arts Excellence Award from the Canterbury Community Trust in 1998.


  • St Mary's Church, Heathcote (1960)
  • Moonshine Country : The Story of Waitohi, South Canterbury (1971)
  • The Riddle of Richard Pearse (1973)
  • The Port Hills of Christchurch (1978)
  • Introducing Denis Glover (1983)
  • Banks Peninsula : Cradle of Canterbury (1990)
  • Picturing the Peninsula : Early days on Banks Peninsula (1992)
  • High Flies the Cross : The 75th Jubilee History of St Andrew’s College, Christchurch, New Zealand, 1917-1992 (1992)
  • Little Feet in a Big Room : Frances Ogilvie of China (1994)
  • Pioneers of the Plains : The Deans of Canterbury (1996)
  • From Gigs to Rigs : Steel Brothers and 120 Years of Road Transport in New Zealand (1997)
  • Denis Glover : His Life (1999)
  • Enjoying the Port Hills, Christchurch (2000)
  • Picts and Porridge : An Ogilvie Family History (2002)
  • The Christchurch Writers' Trail (2002)
  • Ballantynes : The Story of Dunstable House, 1854-2004 (2004)
  • The Shagroons' Palace : A History of the Christchurch Club, 1856-2006 (2006)
  • High Flies the Cross: The 90th Anniversary History of St Andrew’s College 1917-2007 (2007)
  • The Highland Piping Society of Canterbury : Jubilee History 1960-2010 (2010) (co-written with Alex Thomson)


  1. ^ Picts and Porridge : an Ogilvie family history, Gibbs Publishing, 2002.
  2. ^ "New Year honours list 2008". Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet. 31 December 2007. Retrieved 12 September 2014. 

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