Tribute to Harry Orsman

  • Judith Tizard
Arts, Culture and Heritage

Associate Arts, Culture and Heritage Minister Judith Tizard today paid tribute to pre-eminent lexicographer Harry Orsman, editor of the Oxford Dictionary of New Zealand English, who died in Wellington on Monday.

“Harry Orsman was an outstanding lexicographer who devoted a lifetime to words and contributed to many dictionary projects,” said Judith Tizard.

“He built up a huge database of New Zealand English, and made a marvellous contribution to New Zealand culture with The New Zealand Dictionary, the first dictionary fully dedicated to the variety of English used in New Zealand.

“His research into New Zealand English culminated with the Oxford Dictionary of New Zealand English, a significant body of research with extensive information on New Zealand lexical terms.”

Harry Orsman was a lecturer and reader in English at Victoria University of Wellington, a national committee member of PEN (NZ), a member of the Komiti Arohi of the Ngata English-Mâori Dictionary, and contributed to and published many popular books.

“Harry Orsman leaves a legacy of words and expressions that we can call our own thanks to his lifetime of work in identifying New Zealand slang and idiosyncratic expressions.

“Harry was a father, husband and scholar and we extend our warmest sympathy to his family, friends and colleagues.”