RIP Paul Reynolds

24 May 2010

Paul Reynolds was one of the most well known and respected commentators and thinkers on the topics of information access and technological change in New Zealand.

Paul spent many years enlightening listeners of Radio New Zealand to the wonders and potential of technology, and never failed to make the most complex things sound simple.

He was involved in a huge range of organisations and initiatives, designed to make New Zealand a more informed society. He was a member of the National Digital Forum, an adjunct director (digital library) to the National Library of New Zealand and a member of the former Government’s Digital Strategy Advisory group. Paul also served previously on the board of the Auckland War Memorial Museum and as a Library and Information Advisory Commissioner.

His sudden death on Sunday 23 May 2010 came as a shock to everyone who knew him, and has robbed New Zealand of one of its most innovative and visionary thinkers, and is an inconsolable loss for his family and friends.

If you would like to pass on your condolences to Helen and daughter Melanie, please feel free to leave a comment below, and InternetNZ will forward them onto his family.

Posted by David Farrar, InternetNZ member



Thank you for sharing your

Thank you for sharing your memories of PAUL my wee brother.It was such a JOY to know he was so much loved and respected.Thank you to all of you.


You were "our" Paul

You were "our" Paul Reynolds...
It was my pleasure to engage with Paul as a co-member of the Digital Strategy Advisory Group. I will never forget the way he inspired us all with his passion for everything digital. He understood the potential of the internet required people from all communities to be educated and made aware of what was possible. He recognised people needed access to easy-to-use tools to express themselves and develop their own virtual communities. He supported those communities, whether culturally based or communities-of-interest to create something special.
Paul has touched so many of us, however his legacy will live on in the many examples of community development that used internet solutions as a catalyst - the Tohue National site one of the best. When Paul's namesake arrived in NZ to lead Telecom (also with a Scottish accent) there were a number of humourous moments which he took it in his stride.
Paul, please realise, that your friends and colleagues identified you as "our" Paul Reynolds...! RIP

I feel extremely privileged

I feel extremely privileged to have worked along-side Paul, even if for a short time.
I am grateful to both Paul and Helen for their generosity in allowing me to occupy some of their precious workspace, and for all the support they gave me with the Living Heritage project.

Paul has continued to provide inspiration at a distance. I will miss the rare opportunities I had to meet him again at library events, and feel honoured to have known him. His smile, kind words, and cheeky quips with always be with me.

Farewell to Paul

Farewell to Paul Reynolds

Tautokohia nga korero i korerohia e tatau

E te rangatira Paul, takoto

Takoto mai i runga I te atamira a o koutou tupuna

Takoto i runga i to takotoranga hei takotohia

No reira takoto takoto takoto

Haere ki a kui ma kia koro ma kei tua o te arai

Haere ki te putahitanga o Rehua

Haere whakangarongaro atu ki te po

Haere haere whakaoti atu

Kia koutou te whanau pani i waihotia nei

Tenei he mihi aroha i te wa o te kapua pouri, te kahui taratara

Ko te tumanako, kia kaha, kia maia, kia manawanui

On behalf of the LIANZA Council, regional committees ,staff and members we support all thoughts in this time of sorrow, Paul was a great supporter and advocate for libraries and his contribution to our profession has always been thought provoking. He will be sorely missed. Our sincere condolences to Helen and family. So journey on Paul to the house of your ancestors where your blood tunes are being summoned to the resting place of your clan.

Ma te atua e manaaki e tiaki i nga wa katoa.

Dear Helen and Melanie I

Dear Helen and Melanie

I heard of Paul's death as I was listening to the National Program in the car late yesterday. I started crying. Tried to assure myself that it must be the other Paul REynolds (Telecom), but it became obvious from the comments that it was dear old Paul (not really that old though).

Helen, I feel honoured to have been able to work with you and Paul at McGoverns. Paul always pushed us to go 1 more step (or sometimes 2 or 3) in our thinking re solutions for a client. Bloody frustrating sometimes...but you knew he was right to do it.

Melanie, he talked fondly of you and his grandchild (there maybe more by now). He was like a 'kid in a candy shop' when he knew he was about to Skype you. He loved being able to have that contact. It meant sooooo much to him given the tragic death of his own child.

I'll miss his lovely accent and his amazing insight on my favourite Radio program, but more than anything, I'll miss him.

My sincere condolences

I feel lucky to have enjoyed

I feel lucky to have enjoyed the company, insight and wisdom that Paul shared so generously. His work with museums As well as the wider cultural sector has been inspiring and his challenge to us to embrace the future will live on.
Condolences to Helen and all who will miss Paul.
Phillipa Tocker
Museums Aotearoa

I first met Paul in the

I first met Paul in the 1990's when I was with TVNZ and Interactive New Zealand. He was always inspirational in his story-telling, sage commentary, visionary thinking. Rich to listen to on radio, and a genuinely nice guy. Maybe you're up there Paul figuring out how to get the spirit world online... You will be surely missed in this one.

I am penning this very sad

I am penning this very sad eulogy very late as this news has just reached me - I am just back from 4 days away from contact with people.

Paul Reynolds and I have schemed and dreamed about NZ's digital content since 1997. At that time he was commenting very directly on government websites in his regular column in the then Dominion. He very accurately described one I had responsibility for as " a dog" - and he was right. It was clearly time to listen to him. He and Helen then helped us sort it out, and that site still uses some of their content principles.

For 13 years, he has challenged, assisted, cajoled, teased and mentored me. Only last week I attended his address to the NZ Computer Society in Wellington where he reminded us, very delicately, that the current open data movement, is not a new idea. He took us back to his youth in his beloved Scotland and then on a journey to NZ in 2010.

And now he has gone. He leaves us his legacy of wisdom through, for example, his advocacy on LIAC, as an Imagineer, his blogs, commentaries and via numerous other roles and consultancies. And regular advice to me in my role at the State Services Commission. A key advocacy of his was at the June 2008 OECD meeting in Seoul on the Future of the Internet, where he skilfully prodded a Digital Content session back on track. And there are so many more....

My sincerest condolences to Helen, his family and all at McGovern

Keitha Booth

Today, I delivered a memorial

Today, I delivered a memorial presentation at our All-Staff meeting at Auckland Museum to mourn the loss of Paul and to share with staff his enormous importance to New Zealand. He was in the middle of creating our digital strategy, amongst many other projects, and he will be sorely missed by so many of us. Beyond being a former Board member here, Paul was a true champion of our work to make this a true, leading-edge 21st Century museum. Everything we do in this area from here on in will bear his imprint, even if he is still not with us. We miss you so much already Paul.

Russell Briggs and the staff of the Auckland War Memorial Museum

So sad and such a shock and

So sad and such a shock and loss to his beloved family

Shocked and saddened at this

Shocked and saddened at this terribly sad news. Love and comfort to Helen and Melanie.

Paul and I where friends when

Paul and I where friends when he lived in London in the 1980's and am very saddened by his death. He had a delicious and wicked sense of humour but with a deep understanding of human frailties. He was a good friend and I wish I had been a better one to him. I caught up with him a few times on his trips back to the U.K. and he had obviously made a successful and happy life in New Zealand, which he deserved.

My thoughts are for his family.

Liz Devine

I'm shocked and saddened by

I'm shocked and saddened by Paul's sudden and untimely passing. It's too soon. I've known Paul for many years and worked with him closely on the Digital Strategy Advisory Group. Paul shared my passion for people and for the power and potential of the internet and I shall truly miss his deep thinking and incisive comments. It is truly a great loss, not just for Helen and Paul's family but for all of us.

Paul's been a link back to NZ for me since I've been in London and I'm even more pleased that I got to catch up with him last time he was here. Grateful for the time I had with him, saddened that it is too soon over... Paul, you'll be missed.


I was shocked and saddened to

I was shocked and saddened to hear of Paul's sudden death. A loss to everybody but mostly of course to you, Helen and Paul's daughter. My condolences to all he held close. He will be remembered.

I will miss Mr Reynolds

I will miss Mr Reynolds contributions to the national discourse, he turned me on to a lot of things that are now second nature rather than unfathomable.
He's been in my ears for years and I would love to have known him personally.
My thought are with his family, kia kaha and oodles of aroha.
Conor Jeory

I remember when he first

I remember when he first started telling NZ about the internet on Kim Hill when she did the Monday to Friday morning show. Who was this manic scotsman with a Billy Connolly chuckle and a way of looking at things that made you think "that's obvious, why has no-one else pointed that out". I wanted to meet him and get to know him way back then. In the last six years I have been able to work with him - plotting to get the MySociety ethos into New Zealad, discussing our digital heritage, and enjoying conversations looking over the horizon together. Its a massive hole that he leaves behind - we need to work together to keep his enquiring spirit alive in our daily work to change the world.

Kia Kaha to his family and friends.

I loved him. All my love to

I loved him. All my love to you Helen, and I promise I will keep those rowdy kids under control. The best Calvenist Santa, and a very special man. I am so very sorry,

I only met Paul briefly some

I only met Paul briefly some time ago but that one meeting and subsequent discussion I remember well. Paul was a real visionary and had an inspiring passion for the web.
Condolences to his family, friends and colleagues.

Every time I met up with Paul

Every time I met up with Paul he reinforced my view that he was someone with 'clue'.

Always asking the good question but with a twinkle in his eye.

We all lost something yesterday but for his family and close friends the loss is huge. My condolences to them.


What I loved about Paul

What I loved about Paul Reynolds was the way he brought texture and richness to the digital world. He had a unique way of connecting the beautiful, tactile, physical, and even musty nature of art galleries, museums, and libraries with the expression of knowledge in digital environments. He seemed to understand the innately human aspects of both, and bridge them in a way no one else could.

He understood the relationship between content, people, and place in the physical world, and effortlessly applied that understanding to technology, the web, and social media. He did so in a way that was wry, amusing, and both pragmatic and visionary. He explained new things in ways that were easy to understand, often simultaneously with the excitement of a 7 year old boy, and the wisdom of a 70 year old man.

My tribute at:

Helen, We are all shocked to


We are all shocked to hear of Paul's sudden death. Just a quick note to let you know from all of us at the gallery, that our thoughts and condolences are with you at this terribly sad time.
We will be in touch.

Lots of love,
Gary, John, Gail, Anna and Georgina.

Paul will be sadly missed

Paul will be sadly missed indeed.

He was a person of strong views who was never that shy about expressing them. I fondly recall Paul's radio spots in the late 1990s and early noughties as one of the highlights of the nine to noon programming schedule - and we of course particularly welcomed any mention of ourselves (and there were a few). More recently I have enjoyed his company at the last two foo camps where is contributions always led to a lively debate.

I last ran into Paul a couple of weeks ago in Lambton Quay and had a brief conversation. It is really very shocking that he has left us so suddenly.

Another thing which hasn't yet been mentioned that Paul did was convene the judging panel for the Qantas Media awards when they first widened to include the online media. Notably the award recipients were a great deal more credible during those awards - I think 2007 - than they have been since.

My deepest sumpathies to Paul's family.

I was just rereading a recent

I was just rereading a recent email exchange with Paul and recalling a conversation we had very early in the morning at the airport a few weeks ago. It's hard to believe there will not be more emails and conversations. I wish we had done more together.

I only met Paul last week at

I only met Paul last week at the NZCS presentations. Such a good talk...... engrossing. Very sad.

I met Paul during a

I met Paul during a conference where I was presenting on IPv6. The technology was new to him, but after a few "What?" and "Why?" questions he quickly moved on to asking "How?" and brainstorming ideas to drive adoption. He was clearly a great thinker with an eye to the future. His absence will be felt for sometime to come.

Paul was such "alive" guy I'm

Paul was such "alive" guy I'm finding it hard to believe; in fact unsettling. I'll remember his animated hands emphasising points at the cafe when we occasionally met. Condolences to you Helen; take care

Paul was such "alive" guy I'm

Paul was such "alive" guy I'm finding it hard to believe; in fact unsettling. I'll remember his animated hands emphasising points at the cafe when we occasionally met. Condolences to you Helen and daughter; take care

I well remember Paul telling

I well remember Paul telling me from Auckland that he was going to come to Wellington to "look for the remote". When I met him again in Wellington and reminded him of this, he acknowledged that he might have found it in his work with the National Library.

In his last email to me, Paul told me to "keep the faith". I will, Paul.

Sad news indeed; so well

Sad news indeed; so well known by so many, as such a consummate communicator, Paul networked far and wide with traditional face-to-face contact as well his avid demonstration of the electronic art. I much appreciated his willingness to discuss and share ideas, and to respond to phone calls at odd times; I had a list of many questions yet to ask him.

I'll particularly remember

I'll particularly remember Paul's magical and at times mischievous Scottish lilt as he waxed lyrical about the social ramifications of "this internet thing" and the "semantic web", Foocamp 2009. Condolences to all those who were lucky enough to know him better than I and of course to his family.

I am so sad to hear of Paul's

I am so sad to hear of Paul's death. He was such a vibrant, energetic and amazing person to know. It's been a long time since i knew someone with such a vision and passion for what he does coupled with the strength to speak out about his opinions.

I did not know him personally, only through our interactions at the Auckland Art Gallery where i work, however our brief meetings made a huge impact on me. He was a brilliant man. One of a kind.

Sending kind thoughts, hugs and love to all his family and friends.

Sarah Eades
Website manager
Auckland Art Gallery