Commissioning Content From Cool People
Over the years I've been lucky enough to commission content from a huge variety of different people. As well as the hundreds of guidebook contracts and clever bods working on Trade & Reference titles, there have been...
- Gandalf, writing on the perils of sandflies while filming the Lord of the Rings in New Zealand
- The deputy prime minister of Tuvalu, writing on global warming
- Rockgod Jimmy Barnes on holidaying in the Whitsundays
- Booker-prize winning novelist Keri Hulme wrote for me about one of her favourite spots in NZ, including a poem! (which I couldn't use!!) I also commissioned Keri to write a sizeable piece on a trip to the ancient Hawaiki of the Maori people, for the travel anthology Better than Fiction.
- My boyhood hero Sam Hunt also contributed a poem, and thank god I was able to use that one
- Pulitzer-winner Tony Horwitz wrote a piece for me on another hero of mine: Captain James Cook, and his travels in NZ and the Pacific
- Two of my favourite historians have written stuff for me: Prof James Belich on NZ History, and Michael Cathcart on Australian history. I also commissioned Tim Flannery to write an Environment chapter for our Australian guidebooks.
- I commissioned ABC journo Clement Paligaru to write us a special section on Indo-Fijian culture, a little bit of background to the conflict, but also positives and how travellers could 'connect' with Indo-Fijian culture. As far as I know this was the first time anyone in the tourism industry published such a thing.
- Other strange, cool and interesting people I commissioned have included
cartoonist Murray Ball;
stuntwoman Zoe Bell, burlesque dancer Moira Finucane and circus performer Rockie Stone;
adventurer Peter Hillary and Amazing Race presenter Phil Keoghan;
Rastafarian NZ Greens MP Nandor Tanczos and Australian Greens MP Bob Brown;
comedian Rhys Darby;
foodies Jill Dupleix and Peter Gordon;
musicians Anika Moa and Hayley Westenra;
runner Cathy Freeman, cricketer Sir Richard Hadlee, surfer Layne Beachley, rugby players Josh Kronfeld,Farah Palmer and Tana Umaga;
and film-maker Jane Campion.
Some of these were really challenging and required dicking with 'the rules' a bit. Many required tricky image sourcing and/or permissions hunting. And some of them just plain couldn't write worth a damn. There are some interesting stories involved in lots of these that I wouldn't put to paper: ask me about them some time.