New Zealand's first travelling Wikimedian Mike Dickison is leading a team of volunteers to build a community of Wikipedia editors in New Zealand.

Mike says there will be free workshop and training for new editors in Palmerston North on a date to be advised.

He has been an advocate for Wikipedia ever since his time at the University of Canterbury and has a passion for getting more New Zealand content on to Wikipedia.

Mike spends time working with museums, research organisations, archives and institutions across the country to encourage them to donate collections and photos for articles.


He explained the nature and role of editors and cleared the mist surrounding the quality of articles on Wikipedia.

"Editors are volunteers and there is no obligation to reveal your name, nationality, or gender.

"There is no qualification for editors, anyone can edit on Wikipedia, which makes people worry, and it's difficult for people to understand how unqualified volunteers can write an entire encyclopaedia.

"I just tell them that Wikipedia doesn't work in theory, but it works in practice," he said.

"But I will say that it is easier to check the quality of references on Wikipedia articles than it is to books and other channels, because there are over 50 volunteers working on specific aspects of an article published on Wikipedia."

According to Mike, resources used in Wikipedia articles are referenced and photos donated are released under a Creative Commons licence that lets everyone use them.

In his recent workshop in Auckland, sponsored by New Zealand Geographic magazine, Mike worked with editors and trainees to create an article on the kauri dieback organism.

Mike is currently working with institutions in the South Island where he will spend time at the Dodd-Walls Centre for Photonic and Quantum Technologies at Otago University.