Tama Easton

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Tama Easton
Tama Easton receiving award from Annette King.JPG
Born (1974-01-30)30 January 1974
Residence Mapua
Nationality New Zealand
Occupation Webmaster[1]
Employer Tasman District Council[1]
Known for Creator of Vorb.org.nz
Partner(s) Heather Bates
Awards personal awards
2007 Cycling Champion of the Year
Vorb website awards
NetGuide People’s Choice Awards 2007, 2008 and 2009;
Most Popular Sports - Cycling Website Hitwise Awards, 2005 and 2006

Tamatea Carl Easton (born 30 January 1974 in Christchurch), known as Tama Easton, is the creator of the New Zealand sports and recreation internet forum Vorb.[1]

Early life[edit]

Easton was born in Christchurch on 30 January 1974. Early on in his life, his family moved to Sussex, Great Britain, for long enough for him "to pick up enough of an English accent to get singled out when [he] returned to New Zealand".[2]


In 1981 his family came back to New Zealand and settled in Wellington. Easton attended Clifton Terrace Model School from 1981 to 1986, followed by Wellington High School, from which he graduated in 1991.[3] In 1992 and 1993, he studied at Victoria University towards degrees in Sociology and Education, which he did not finish.

Computer exposure[edit]

In 1981, Easton got his first computer, a ZX81 with 1 kB of RAM. As he was not able to afford the $16.95 needed to buy tapes of games for the computer, he developed his own games. This started his interest in computers and technology. Easton was online in either 1989 or even 1988 at a speed of 2.4 kbit/s long before many others had heard of the internet.[2]

In the book The Art of Videogames, which explores how philosophy of the arts theories developed to address traditional art works can also be applied to videogames, the author acknowledges Easton as an "invaluable source of gaming discussion".[4]

Mountain biking[edit]

Easton got into mountain biking in 1993 while living in Halfway Bush, Dunedin.[2] A serious hobby developed out of this, and he saw himself flatting with like-minded people. Having a "tendency to break parts of the bike", he took up employment at the Wellington mountain bike shop 'Mud Cycles', where he stayed until 1999.[2]



In July 2000, Easton set up an email list called “Vaguely Organised – Ride Bikes” to better coordinate social rides with friends.[2] In November 2000, he bought the domain name “www.vorb.org.nz” and set up a small static website hosting some stories and photos of their trips on a dozen pages.[5] It was supposed to be a private site for a circle of friends. Based on feedback and encouragement, Easton transformed the site to a public forum during 2001. In 2004, the site was a finalist in the 2004 NetGuide Web Awards and was receiving 13,000 unique browsers a month.[2]

Easton quit his day job and started working on Vorb full-time at the beginning of 2005. By June 2008, Vorb received 74,000 unique browsers a month.[2]

Vorb has been available for mobile phone browsing since August 2005.[6]

Easton announced his retirement from Vorb in August 2009.[7]


Vorb has an excellent reputation.[8][9] One commentator, criticising a commercial website built for a government agency, referred to Vorb as the prime example of how to set up an internet forum in a way the target community will embrace it.[10]

Some quotes from the Vorb forum give further insight about the website's reputation, and that the website's reputation is intrinsically interlinked with Easton's reputation:


2007 awards ceremony, with award winner Tama Easton and Transport Minister Annette King standing in front of a screen showing one of the slides; somebody else walking through the photo
Tama Easton receiving the 'Cycle Champion of the Year' awards trophy from Transport Minister Annette King at the 2007 NZ Cycling Conference

Easton's website Vorb was ranked number one in the Hitwise award in the 'Sports - Cycling' category against other New Zealand websites in 2004,[13] 2005 and 2006.[14]

Easton won the inaugural 2007 'Cycling Champion of the Year' category of the Cycle Friendly Awards organised by Cycling Advocates' Network.[15][16]

Vorb has been voted 'Best Sports And Recreation Site' at the NetGuide People’s Choice Awards 2007, 2008 and 2009.[17]

Personal life[edit]

Easton is engaged to Heather Bates. They live with their cat Sprocket in Mapua.[18]

Easton is currently employed by the Tasman District Council as webmaster.[19]


  1. ^ a b http://www.tdc.govt.nz/pdfs/Newsline-18-Dec-09-web.pdf Tasman District Council newsletter - Easton employed as webmaster, page 4; accessed 10 January 2010
  2. ^ a b c d e f g http://www.vorb.org.nz/the-history-vorb-tama-t81540.html Tama Easton's autobiography on Vorb; accessed 6 January 2010
  3. ^ "Schooling". Old friends. Retrieved 23 January 2010. 
  4. ^ Tavinor, Grant (January 2009). The Art of Videogames. Wiley. pp. Acknowledgement section (no page number). ISBN 978-1-4051-8789-3. 
  5. ^ http://www.nzsbdirectory.co.nz/NZSB_Sports_Fitness_Equipment.html New Zealand small business directory and travel guide website; accessed 6 January 2010
  6. ^ http://www.vorb.org.nz/vorb-mobile-launched-t26335.html Vorb mobile launched - article on Vorb website; accessed 9 January 2010
  7. ^ http://www.vorb.org.nz/tama-retires-from-vorb-t99482.html Tama Easton announces retirement on Vorb; accessed 6 January 2010
  8. ^ http://www.itamer.com/vorb-mobile-launched/162/ Quoted as an 'excellent site for NZ MTBers'; accessed 9 January 2010
  9. ^ http://www.mountainbike.orconhosting.net.nz/stuff.htm Vorb presented as a 'very popular NZ MTB site'; accessed 9 January 2010
  10. ^ http://www.straightstocks.com/current-market-news/the-money-pit-that-is-the-mission-on-website/ Vorb held up as a successful internet forum; accessed 6 January 2010
  11. ^ http://www.vorb.org.nz/the-history-vorb-tama-t81540-60.html#p1792397 Vorb user quote on Tama Easton; accessed 9 January 2010
  12. ^ http://www.vorb.org.nz/the-history-vorb-tama-t81540-60.html#p1792370 Vorb user quote on Tama Easton; accessed 9 January 2010
  13. ^ http://www.vorb.org.nz/official-vorb-the-number-cycling-website-t20276.html 2004 Hitwise award, accessed 9 January 2010
  14. ^ http://www.vorb.org.nz/vorb-finalist-for-netguide-awards-wins-hitwise-awards-t38039.html 2005 and 2006 Hitwise award, accessed 9 January 2010
  15. ^ http://www.transfund.govt.nz/publications/land-transport-news/issue-34.pdf Land Transport NZ newsletter, issue 34, page 2; accessed 6 January 2010
  16. ^ "SPARC Cycle-Friendly Awards Winners Announced". Scoop. 2 November 2007. Retrieved 22 January 2010. 
  17. ^ http://www.vorb.org.nz/which-new-zealand-city-full-homicidal-nutjobs-t100424.html#p2165608 Easton's home town; accessed 10 January 2010
  18. ^ http://www.tdc.govt.nz/pdfs/Newsline-18-Dec-09-web.pdf; accessed 10 January 2010