PitWR (NZ) is a registered charity with five trustees: Ruth Arnison, Chris Arnison, Kay McKenzie Cooke, Barry Arnison and Sheryl McCammon.
Ruth was born in Oamaru, and brought up in Riverton, Timaru and Stirling. She travelled/ worked in Europe for three years before marrying Barry and settling in Windermere (UK). In 1986 they came to Dunedin for a year. Three children and 29 years later, they’re still there!
Ruth’s poems have appeared in journals, anthologies and ezines in New Zealand, Australia, the UK and USA. She won The Robbie Burns Poetry Contest in 2006 and 2009. In 2008 she was awarded a NZSA mentorship with Cilla McQueen. In 2010 her poems came First and Second in the Timaru Festival of Roses poetry competition. In 2013, 2014, and 2015 her poems were selected for the NCEA Practice English exam papers.
She is a part-time administrator at Knox College Residential Hall in Dunedin. Ruth is the editor of Poems in the Waiting Room (NZ).
At the age of 18 Chris filmed, co produced, and edited, How about it? – a NZ mountain bike dvd, now selling around the world. Chris has a First Class Honours Degree in Religious Studies from Otago University. Chris is our IT guru, a job he assured me he can continue to carry out anywhere in the world. He has just returned to Dunedin after spending 18 months in Melbourne.
Kay, a Dunedin writer, joined the team in July 2012. She is married to Robert and they are proud grandparents to six grandchidren (and counting!) Kay has lived in Dunedin for thirty years. She was born in Southland and her writing is often influenced by the strong ties she still has with her home-province. She attended Dunedin Teacher’s College in the 1970’s and spent many years teaching in the Early Childhood sector. The balancing act between her working life and writing, finally came to an end in 2014 when she happily settled on life as a full-time writer. At present she is writing a novel that is set in Southland. She has three publications of poetry, all published by Otago University Press. The latest one, ‘Born To A Red-Headed Woman’ was published in 2014.
Barry was born and educated in South London. He worked as a bike mechanic in London for many years. After returning from a working holiday in NZ, Barry picked up a job as a receptionist at London’s Holland House Youth Hostel. A year later Ruth turned up at Holland House inquiring about hostelling in Ireland. The boss offered her a job as a receptionist, so she canned her Irish plans and joined the staff the following day. ( A decision she’s never regretted!)
Barry worked for several years as a bike mechanic in Dunedin before taking on the role of house husband. Once the boys were more independent Barry worked at Kings High School with the Special Needs Unit for 10 years. He’s now retired.
Barry has been quietly working away in the background for PitWR for some years. He’s been the main enveloper sticker downer and a marvellous support on the home front prior to and during our four exhibitions. Barry is our 2014 addition to the team.
Sheryl is a Dunedin artist who has contributed to all 4 PitWR exhibitions with her stunning artwork and catering skills. Sheryl painted our first Lilliput Library. When she offered to paint another one I said to her, you should be a trustee Sheryl, you play a large part in PitWR already, will you join us? And to our delight she said, yes.
Her first trustee outing was delivering leaflets, around our neighbourhood, about our street’s Lilliput Library. Half way round we were surprised by rain – ‘drenched’ is a mild term for the state we were in when we arrived back at our place!
Rosalind Horsman taught in North Otago for many years. She came across our poetry cards at her local doctors, and sent an email offering to distribute the cards around Oamaru. Her enthusiasm for PitWR meant I quickly snapped her up as a trustee. Rosalind died on August 31 2014. A treasured friend and trustee – she is very much missed.