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Dame Christine Cole Catley's Family Statement

Death of Dame Christine Cole Catley - statement from her family.

The journalist, publisher and author, Dame Christine Cole Catley has died. She died peacefully at home in Devonport with her family, after a brief battle with lung cancer, on Sunday 21 August 2011.

Chris will be remembered for her enthusiasm for life, her belief in people, her mentoring of new talent, her liberalism and her sense of fun. To her family, Chris was a true Renaissance woman, loving mother, grandmother and literary godmother to the many journalists and writers she taught and encouraged. Witty, wry, both playful and deeply thoughtful about the needs of her friends and for the country she loved, she was a great raconteur who loved a good story above all else.

A life-long journalist, Dame Christine Cole Catley D.C.N.Z.M, QSM (88) ran New Zealand's first fulltime journalism course from the 1960s. She insisted that half the students were female, a stand that substantially accelerated the employment of women throughout the media, where many of her former students now hold key positions. A foreign correspondent herself at a time when few women were in that field, she established the ABC's office in Indonesia having previously been Radio New Zealand International's social affairs commentator for nearly a decade.

Her work as Wellington's first TV critic (on The Dominion) led to her appointment to the Broadcasting Council.

She is well known for many decades of running writers' workshops, and established her publishing company, Cape Catley, in 1973, work she has continued as has her involvement with Parents Centre New Zealand which brought about the presence of fathers at births. She co-founded this in 1952 and is today a patron.

The author of several books, including Bright Star, the biography of New Zealand's leading woman astronomer, Beatrice Hill Tinsley, and editor or co-editor of more, in 1982 after the death of the author Frank Sargeson she established the Sargeson Trust which she still chairs, and was an initiator and early trustee of the Michael King Writers' Centre.

Last year she was awarded a CLL award to write her autobiography and it is anticipated this will be published in the next year.

Christine is survived by her three children, Sarah Beck, Melbourne, Nicola Scott, Santa Monica, and Martin Cole, Auckland, and six grand-children.

Statement issued by her family. (21/8/2011)

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