The Phoenix Astronomical Society Council Members
Richard Hall (President) - For the past 30 years, Richard Hall has been a dedicated promoter of astronomy in New Zealand serving on committees and as President of several astronomical societies. He was the founding President of the Phoenix Astronomical Society (TPAS).
Formed in December 1997, during his term TPAS grew to be the second largest astronomical society in New Zealand. This phenomenal growth in membership in such a short time is a tribute to Richard and other dedicated members of the Society in the promotion and education of astronomy, by making it readily accessible to the wider public community. Richard has been the motivating driving force behind the Society, building a first rate recreational observatory and clubrooms in the Wairarapa, the publication of the New Zealand Almanac (11th edition pending). He has co-authored Work of the Gods: a book on Maori astronomy; How to Gaze at the Southern Stars; Stonehenge Aotearoa, the complete Guide and an Alpha series publication on Stonehenge Aotearoa.
He has established a reputation as an enthusiastic inspirational speaker not only informing but also making astronomy exciting to all levels of the general public. His innovative contributions to science include the development of astronomical courses specifically aimed at the general public, the production of a New Zealand Almanac, the staging of annual public astronomical events, the establishment of a first-rate astronomical facility, and co-research into and dissemination of Maori astronomy.
Ian Cooper (Vice-President) - Ian lives at Glen Oroua on the Manawatu plains between Palmerston North and the coast. He has been an active amateur astronomer for 37 years.
Ian has been a member of TPAS and a Council member for ten years, as well as being the President of the Palmerston North Astronomical Society, and a founding member and past president of the Foxton Beach Astronomical Society, of which he is currently vice-president. He has been the North Island Coordinator of the Aurora & Solar Section of the R.A.S.N.Z. since 1993. Ian is the co-author of the “Night Sky Observer’s Guide, Vol III, The Southern Section.”
Andrew Larken (Secretary)
Kay Leather (Treasurer) - Kay's
links are to Atainga a Mahaki iwi and Mangatu Marae, near Gisborne through her
paternal grandfather. Her Maori family name is Te Puru.
Kay has taught in the primary and secondary system for nearly 20 years. She has also built up and run her an orchard and nursery in the Far North of New Zealand and worked in a variety of administrative positions. She was an expert consultant in setting up the Holt Hawkes Bay Planetarium in Napier. She was employed by Carter Observatory in Wellington first as an astronomy educator and later as a Public Programmes Officer assisting Richard Hall in developing and producing a variety of shows including planetarium shows.
She was the site team leader or foreperson of the Stonehenge Aotearoa Henge in the Southern Wairarapa. She is assisting in the running of Stonehenge Aotearoa.
In the same period of time, Kay and Richard have co-authored “Work of the Gods” (an important and beautifully illustrated book of Maori Astronomy) and Stonehenge Aotearoa: the complete Guide, an Alpha booklet: Stonehenge Aotearoa.
Since being in the Wairarapa, Kay has undertaken a range of jobs to make make ends meet including picking grapes in Martinborough, relief teaching and working at a Resthome.
Edwin Rodley - Edwin has always had a strong interest in Space and Astronomy, he enjoys following NASA missions and science news. He has been an active member of the Phoenix Astronomical Society for over 10 years and enjoys talking about astronomy to anyone.
Edwin keeps the webpage updated, contributes photos and articles to the newsletter, is involved in observing nights and meetings, and helps out on working bees at the observatory.